Photography Adds Authenticity to Your Digital Solution
THE IMPORTANCE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Photography is an important part of each digital project we create. It helps to enhance the message and further expand on our clients work in a way that text can’t. We prefer to have our clients work with a professional photographer to capture personalized photos to use on the website or app, but there are certain cases when stock photography makes more sense.
It’s one thing to write about a client in the construction industry working on site, but it’s much more attention grabbing when it’s visual, as is the case with Central Stone Company. The bold images of construction equipment used throughout the site really paints a picture of what the company does for the website visitor. The photography shows their team in action and gives a more personalized feel to the website. And there doesn’t have to be giant construction equipment involved for great action shots. Fitness Coach Neal Turner added movement and authenticity to his website with his professional photography.
Stock photography still adds the necessary visuals to a digital product, but lacks the authenticity that personalized photography provides. We use Adobe Stock whenever a project requires stock photography, which provides endless options for high resolution assets. And there are certainly a few pros to using stock photography. It saves time: the photos already exist and are edited for use on a website or app. And even with licensing and royalty fees, they can be a cheaper option than hiring a professional photographer.
CHOOSING A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Choosing the right professional photographer is extremely important. There are a few things to consider before making a selection.
It’s important to look through the portfolio of each photographer you are considering to make sure they have the correct style and skill set. Review their website, previous clients and project portfolio to make sure they have a strong collection. The photographer should also have examples of each type of photo you are looking for, including headshots, office building shots (internal and external), product photography, candid team photos and on-the-job shots. If a photographer isn’t able to provide examples of the types of photos you are looking for then move on to your next prospective photographer.
Ask the prospective photographer to see a photography resume or list of previous clients that are similar to your needs. If they don’t have a photography resume, ask what they are able to provide to show their credibility as a photographer.
You’ll want to hire a photographer who is detail oriented and can stick to a schedule to make the most of the scheduled shoot time. Ask if they provide the schedule and have a shot list written ahead of time to make sure nothing is missed. And make sure to reiterate that this is for a digital product, so you will need lots of high resolution images with a good mix of horizontal and vertical shots so there are plenty of options for each area of the website or app.
When taking images for a website or app, it’s incredibly helpful for all parties involved to be on the same page. Ask about the possibility of the photographer having a quick meeting or email exchange with your agency about the types of images needed for the website and to share wireframe designs, inspiration sites and photography examples. This will help determine the images needed for each page and ensure all necessary photos are captured at the shoot.
Ask what kind of equipment they use for their shoots, if they have multiple cameras, the different types of lenses they use and their editing software. The biggest takeaway you’ll want to confirm is that they have a professional grade camera and won’t be using a smartphone or low quality camera.
DELIVERING PHOTOS TO THE AGENCY
There are a few things you can do before sending photography to an agency that will help speed up the process of adding photos to the website or app. Make sure the files you are sending are viewable to your agency, i.e. if they are password protected be sure to include the password in the message.
TYPES OF FILES
There are a few different types of image files, described below.
JPEG: JPEG stands for ‘join photographic experts group,’ the original name of the committee that wrote the standard. This file type is the most common format for photo storage as they can be compressed to decrease file size.
PNG: PNG stands for ‘portable graphic network’ and like JPEGs, are very common online. A PNG can also be compressed without reducing the quality, but PNG files often have a lower resolution to begin with. One pro of a PNG is that it can support transparent backgrounds while JPEGs cannot.
PSD: PSD stands for Photoshop Document. These files are original design files that can be edited in Photoshop and exported to JPEG or PNG files.
Make sure you know what type of file the agency needs to successfully add to your digital product. Our Lead Designer Stephanie prefers to work with high resolution JPEG files so she can crop and resize images as needed when placing them on the website or app.
If you would like certain images placed in specific areas on the website, let your agency know. This will cut down image placement time right from the beginning, and will help cut down on back-and-forth changes.
And especially when working with product photography, it can be tempting to include every single photo you have. But most visitors to your website or app won’t take the time to look through 200 pictures of your product being made. Instead, pick a small selection that shows highlights of the process.
Before sending image files to your agency, make sure each file is clearly labeled. Going through 200+ images with generic labels like CX012943.JPEG takes a lot of extra time and resources. Listed below are some easy naming conventions to follow:
- Headshot – HS_Lastname
- Building – BLDG_Room
- Product – PR_Name
It can seem like a lot trying to add in professional photography on an already busy digital project. But ultimately, your customers want to see your company and coworkers in action instead of generic stock photography. It will add a level of authenticity and trust to your site that customers will appreciate.