Do I have to have professional headshots and photos?
The short answer is no. It’s not a rule. Especially if it doesn’t fall in line with your other forms of marketing and business branding.
Great photographs on an awful-designed website aren’t going to close deals. It may actually confuse your potential customers.
What options do I have beyond a professional photographer?
Smartphones can produce high-quality photographs. You can produce quality photographs on a budget. It is more a matter of getting the right lighting and set up for your photographs.
The photographs can come across as more natural and be a better fit with the rest of your branding. Pick a place outside or well lit and go for volume. You’ll have more images to choose from and can find images that you like.
My recommendation is to have someone that you trust and are comfortable with. I joke with my lady when someone else takes a picture and she says that she doesn’t like it. My response is “that’s because they don’t love you the way that I do.”
The people who see the best in you also bring the best out of you. A genuine smile. Your genuine personality. They have the ability to capture the you that you might not even see with a selfie.
It can turn out to be a better option than someone you don’t know telling you how to pose and to smile. Removing some of the awkwardness of the moment and creating something more genuine.
What about product images & photos for the website?
There are kits that allow you to frame the product in a way that has a professional feel without the price. The key is to get something that matches the rest of your content.
You’re telling a story with the images that you select. Stories that skip around and don’t align with the previous page and chapter interrupt the flow. Those critical eyes are going to question your priorities. Aesthetics is a nicety. Consistency is better.
Stop combing through the internet looking for stock images that suit your needs. You can avoid this and the financial burden. By taking pictures of things that help you tell your story. If it resonates with your chances, are it will resonate with your audience.
Granted if you’re a legal firm or something where you have high ticketed items. You can’t go to Avant-Garde but you can speak to your audience by putting more of a focus on quality over polish. Images that convey the message along with content that is on-brand will suffice.
I recently shared an article on the beginner’s guide to product photography. The article shares tips on equipment, best practices for consistency. Also covering how to capture the moment. Useful for the DIYers that are on a budget. Invest in yourself knowing that you’ll be able to gather as many images as you need for your business.
Conclusion to the debate over the necessity of professional photos for brand development
Stay in your lane and allow your shared imagery to evolve with your brand. What you don’t want to do is have people question your priorities. Great images with poor service are not the best look for a brand. Balance things out in a way that allows for consistency.
Have you ever ordered something that looked great online? But what you received was the inferior version of what you purchased? I have and it has left me feeling taken advantage of and I never dealt with the company again.
Overselling your product and or brand with photos that don’t align with what’s received. Can be counterproductive. You’re setting expectations that can lead to questions on the back end. Questions of a bait and switch.