What If The Quality Of Your Images Reflected the Quality Of Your Business?

Less Stress Design blog post by Angela Meredith, What If The Quality Of Your Images Reflected The Quality Of Your Business?

Is poor image quality hurting your business?

What if the quality of your images on your website and social media were a direct reflection of the quality of your business, the quality of your product or the perceived quality of how you perform your service? Yikes. Would your business pass the quality control test? It’ s food for thought, huh?

Hello fellow entrepreneur and business friend! How ya’ doing today? I hope well. I hope your business is rockin’ and rollin’ (in the dollars) and bringing you so much joy! Let me ask you a question if I may. How secure do you feel about the images/pictures you’re using to build your business and your brand? Do you absolutely love the pictures on your website and that you use across every part of your business? Think about your website, your social media, your business cards, your product pictures, your email funnel if you use one…is every picture intentional? Is every image crystal clear, cropped effectively and on brand? Or, are you a little squeamish at the thought, suspecting that you may have a little website or Insta shame happening?

Believe me, I get it. As business owners, we’re busy. As human beings we’re busy! There is #somuchtodo. And the last thought on my mind is judging you or adding to your angst about your business. Quite the opposite, I’m here to help! This is less stress design after all, and I’m all about helping my business friends look amazing online.

Poor picture quality happens for a number of reasons:

  • Because of the camera used. (Did you know there’s two cameras in your phone?)

  • Because you’re rushed, and you have to get it done! So you settle for what you have, because done is better than perfect. (t is sometimes. Are you sure this is the time?)

  • Because the cost of doing business keeps accelerating and you think this is one area you can save some money by doing it yourself. (What if the DIY route is costing you $$?)

  • Because you have a knowledge gap somewhere, such as the best tips and tricks to use the camera for a product shoot or About page photo, or how to edit the image, or the image size requirement for where you are posting the picture.

consider the risk and cost to your business of poor image quality

Still not convinced that your blurry About page photo of yourself or your dark product pictures are losing you business or hurting your sales? What if you considered the hidden risk and cost of those less than stellar photos? This is one of those times when what you don’t know can hurt you, or at least hurt your bottom business line.

Importantly, people don’t usually buy without seeing something first. And they want a good look! They want to see it , hold it, try it out and hear about it from others who bought it (Hmm, sounds like a blog post I should write about putting testimonials/reviews on your website and social media posts, don’t ya’ think? I’ll get on that!) Online, we can’t actually do all that, but we buy with our eyes mostly anyway, so let’s please the eye!!!

  • Post multiple views of each product.

  • Show the product being used by a person (people love the human face).

  • Each picture should have great focus and lighting.

  • The picture should be relevant to the item for sale.

  • For overall cohesiveness, have the pictures in a gallery, grid or grouping all the same orientation (portrait or landscape, portrait is vertical and landscape is horizontal).

  • In a gallery, grid or grouping, have all the pictures the same size, unless you’re purposefully going for an asymmetrical look.

These tips are true even if you’re offering a service. For having pictures portraying your service is just as important as having images portraying the product. For instance, I offer website design services and branding. My portfolio slide show is how I portray the pictures of my services…plus my website itself has professionally branded photos and branding continuity. (Hmmm, just had an idea for a blog post on how I branded my own business. I’ll get on that too! I want to share all the info I can to help your business look amazing online too!)

good quality images help create raging fans and loyal customers

You not only want to please the eye of your ideal client/customer, but also connect to to them emotionally. There’s a lot of other businesses who offer close to or exactly the same thing your business does. Why buy from you? Why should someone buy your product over another?

Great pictures can tell a story (along with great copy/content! Definitely don’t ignore the power of your words!). Connecting eye catching imagery with emotional text that tells a story, weaving a narrative of how your customer can improve their lives, how it benefits them in a real and tangible way and makes them feel better, prettier, confident, or less stressed, etc., and you have a winner!

For instance, a strategically built website with eye catching imagery will convert more website visitors into purchasing than a poorly done website. It’s proven that great imagery draws people in and keeps visitors on the site longer. The longer someone lingers, the better chance you have of getting them to want to know more. Wanting more is a good thing! I know this is true of myself. I have favorite brands who I love to follow, their websites are engaging and I go back time and again to see if they have anything new to offer. That’s what you want! Red hot loyal fans who can’t help themselves about bragging and sharing over how awesome your business is! Creating the best customer experience in every way possible starts with your imagery!

poor quality images can cost you six figure revenue!

And if your images aren’t on point? Blurry. Pixelated. Dark. Too small or non-relevant? You probably have no idea how much money you’re missing out on missed sales. You can find out the number of bounces off your website…but consider this…if every bounce was a dollar amount, a missed sale, a missed repeat sale from loyal fans of what you offer, the missed referrals because they aren’t in love with your brand, the missed opportunity of referrals becoming loyal fans who also refer to you…it could very realistically be six figures or more of missed revenue over time, all because you published poor quality images online. Yikes. So there is a huge financial risk you’re taking, by saving money (?) by not paying a professional photographer or learning and investing in the correct technique and equipment to do it yourself.

good quality images help create trust

Truthfully, most website visitors visit a website more than once before actually purchasing. Ever experience the pair of shoes you looked at following you around in advertisements as you surf around online? It’s big business. Those advertisers know it takes more than one visit to establish trust. Trust in who you are and what you offer is paramount. Yes, you need a picture of who you on your website. And that picture needs to look good. If for any reason a website visitor gets an icky feeling that you aren’t legit, that you’re not experienced or have poor quality…poof they’re gone!

let’s fix it!

The good news is, it’s totally fixable!

It will take a bit of time, a bit of effort, a bit of money and the mind set that it’s worth it because you’re in business, and that’s worth investing in. Right?

The DIY Route

Rule No. 1: Please, no more selfies. Not. On. Your. Website. (We all take them. Save them for your personal social platforms. Your family and friends will like and share them. Me too, we’re friends!)

There are two cameras in your smart phone. One camera takes forward photos and the other is a backwards camera for taking selfies. That backward camera has far less resolution, and too few pixels to look anything but blurry when blown up and viewed on a desk top monitor, and there’s no “fixing” poor focus.

If you must DIY your About page photo, have someone else take it with the forward facing camera. Or better yet, use a real camera that takes digital photos. Our smart phones can take amazing pictures! We have a matted and framed picture over our fireplace that my husband took in Shem Creek in Charleston, SC of the shrimp boats at sunset. We had a professional printer enlarge it for us and then took it to a frame shop for finishing. It’s beautiful. It’s possible to get a great photo from a phone. But not website worthy from a selfie, sorry folks. I’m gonna’ tell you the truth on this one, because I’ve promised to help you look amazing online.

Need to DIY your product images?

  • Invest in a lightbox and a flat lay area. You can find these on Amazon and have it in your hot little hands in 2 days if you have Amazon Prime. It’s very difficult to get good photos of any product (that fits in a lightbox) without the use of one.

  • Pay attention to what’s around whatever you are photographing, especially yourself as the subject. Make sure there’s not some background object “growing out of your head”, or an overflowing trash can like what happened to one of my clients. Her husband took a gorgeous brand photo of her on the streets of Charleston, SC during a get away weekend and she asked me to put it on her website. Right next to a big city trash can overflowing with grungy old food and empty drink cups. Ugh. We spent forever trying to Photoshop that out of there! Taking the picture a couple feet over or redirecting the angle of the shot would have saved us so much time. Be aware, and look around before the shots are taken. I also had a brand photo taken of me by a professional photographer, and right outside the window by my desk was a big bird poop splat. Double ugh! Good news, we saw it in the proofs and she’s a little miracle worker and completely removed it like it was never there! So glad I went pro with her services, let me tell ya’!

  • Pay attention to whether the photo being taken is a portrait or a landscape orientation. Discuss with your website designer which orientation they have designed for your site and take the photo intentionally.

  • Really check the photos after they’re taken but before you exit the shoot. Find out if the shot needs to be taken again before you’re back in your sweatpants and have moved onto doing yard work.

it’s worth it to hire a professional photographer

I’m not gonna’ judge you if you start out with stock photos or DIY. Truth, I did too. But I realized really quick that I better uplevel my efforts and I replaced them as soon as I could. I do design websites with stock photos quite often, because this is the budget of the client hiring me. And I find great stock photos! There are so many quality sites now for finding quality stock photos (see my blog post on How To Write A Blog Post, I give a list of links to stock photo sites). And depending on your business, this can be a viable option. But sometimes, a stock photo can’t be found for a specific thing, and it can’t be stock if it’s of you or your product.

A professional photographer is the best option for getting the best quality images. It’s their business! It’s what they do bestthe business of making you look awesome! A photographer has these benefits over DIY:

  • The right equipment. (Their cameras are better than your phone).

  • They know how to set up a shot. (My photographer knew the best time of day for the shoot so not to get harsh sun shadows on my face, and avoid me profusely sweating at noon, when I woriginally intended to do the shoot, because, well…August in the South! Thank you Mia for insisting on early morning.)

  • They know how to angle your face, body, where to put your hands, and how to make you look your best. (I found I’m more comfortable with a prop in my hands).

  • They know lighting and shadows and how to use both. They often bring lighting with them…and lighting is everything.

  • They can edit your photos for optimal effect. (Like removing bird poop!)

  • They can give you world class advice. They know a lot you probably don’t about photography and knowledge is worth paying for.

The cost of a professional photographer varies widely on location and what you’re hiring them to do. A couple great head shots is a small investment. Asking them to travel to locations and wait while you change your clothes is time consuming and will cost you more. Consider what you actually need and what you optimally desire, versus what your budget is, and make your choice from there. You don’t have to start Kardashian style with an entourage everywhere you go. Start with booking an hour or two, and then update periodically as you can afford.

Ask for referrals for photographers in your area. Get in a local Facebook group and ask the group. You’ll likely get a lot of responses! Ask other local businesses who have great website images who they used as a photographer. Their website may not have a local designer because location for a website designer doesn’t matter in our online world…but their photographer had to be local to them, and if the business is local to you so is their photographer.

It’s important to your business to be seen

Maybe you’re like me, and not totally comfortable being in the spotlight. I know for me, being behind the scenes feels more my jam. I feel more aligned with the written word than I am being in front of the camera. So I had put off actually hiring a photographer for business photos because I felt like, who am I to hire a photographer to focus on me? Do my website visitors actually need to see pictures of me? And when I truly considered the answer to that question, I knew they did.

You need to see me doing what I do. You need to see me smiling back at you, because I truly am both a friendly helpful soul, and I’m talented in website design. That’s more than me tooting my own horn, that’s me showing up in a relational way for you. You can see that I’m a real person, you can trust that I am who I say I am, and I’m consistently designing websites for small businesses and entrepreneurs. This is my full time gig and what I love to do! I love digging deep into my client’s business and helping them show up online in an amazing and strategic way.

You may have heard the quote that people buy from who they know, like and trust. It’s true, because people want to be around other people they know, like and trust in business or otherwise. Life is relational, and so is business. When Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan in the movie You Got Mail, “it’s not personal, its business”, well, it wasn’t good advice at all, though I love that movie! Everything’s relational, even business.

My website is where my business lives, in an online world it’s my business home. And I’d never invite you into my home and then not be there for you, not show up. That’s just rude…and you’d probably feel really creepy wandering all around my home without me there. I show up now everywhere my business shows up, and so my friend should you. For you deserve to look amazing online!

 
Angela Meredith, Squarespace expert and website designer of Less Stress Design, blogs about how poor image quality hurts your business and how using great images for your brand can redsult in connecting emotionally with your ideal audience and creating raging fans.

NO MORE BIRD POOP STEALING THE SHOW IN MY BRAND PHOTO!

And for that I’m very grateful to the professional photographer I hired!