The Value of Good Photography – Chris White Photography

Published: November 2015

What value does photography add to a website? 

Websites are often peppered with images, all chosen with care but hardly ever adding intrinsic value to the site itself. Images are most widely used to convey and encapsulate the corporate message. With media saturation providing a bombardment of images, it is time to make your business stand out among competitors with the right choice of photography.

Once your corporate colours, logo and design have been chosen, the next step is to increase audience attention through photography. The images must remain consistent with the corporate design endorsed. However I believe there is some margin in image choice that will ensure that your key audience stops, looks and listens.

Stock or bespoke?

Stock images1

Image created for client Mindful Therapies vs 1st result of ‘Mindful’ search on iStock

The value of each photograph on your website is directly proportional to the time spent in choosing it and the investment made. Stock photography allows for countless images to be downloaded onto websites at a relatively low cost. However bespoke photography enables your website to receive higher SEO as Google employs rating techniques to boost pages that use original photographs. Avoiding stock photography also ensures that the images you have chosen do not appear on competitors’ websites or as endorsements for products you disapprove of.

Saying the above, sometimes it makes sense to use a stock image of an innocuous picture such as a sliced lemon or a green apple. Even so, it is worthwhile making sure you choose a stock image that is consistent in style and matches your brand. Also try to find images that have not been used very often. Many libraries will show the number of downloads, and actually usually list them accordance with popularity. This is great from a supplier’s point of view as they gain more royalties, however it does mean that the same image has been used a lot of times already, opening the possibility to some of the aforementioned negative consequences.

Strengthen the story with a picture

Austin Family, proprietors of Lanchester Dairies

Austin Family, proprietors of Lanchester Dairies

People buy from people, cliché or not. Many businesses have a natural narrative that can often be overlooked. Some family businesses don’t wish to look like a ‘cottage industry’ and therefore consciously avoid any mention of it let alone show pictures. However customers will buy into a demonstration of longevity and the sense of expertise being passed down the generations. Photographs of authentic members of staff behind the company allow potential customers to become emotionally invested. Not all businesses have an obvious story but finding a visual way to demonstrate whatever service you provide, and in effect the journey you take your clients on is valid. Injecting individuality into a brand by way of photographs connects website visitors to the product.

Image Style

Board of Directors, Newcastle division, Balfour Beatty1

Board of Directors, Newcastle division, Balfour Beatty

As mentioned earlier, the style of images should match your brand. Whether you are using stock, bespoke or even a combination of the two, you want your message to be consistent. Careful consideration of the content, number of images and also a colour treatment that matches the rest of your branding is key to optimizing the use of photography as a brand reinforcer.

Balfour Beatty is an internationally recognised construction company, and when I was commissioned to photograph the Newcastle Board of Directors I matched the company’s cool reassuring brand tone to keep the bespoke photos in line with the industry image. However the Austin family bespoke photograph (above), taken in warm tones, is a visual reflection of the company’s message.

Keeping an eye on what trends are popular to your target market can also be handy. I think it’s no coincidence that many fashion labels photography seem to be inspired by retro style Instagram filters. These brands target the selfie generation, and the best way to do it is by being ‘part of the gang’.

Except where specified all images © Chris White Photography 2015

Chris White is an award winning commercial photographer who takes commissions throughout the UK, why not have a look at his website?

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