There are three major sources for photographs for your website: Your own digital camera, stock photography websites, and getting photos taken by a professional photographer.
Your Own Digital Camera: I’ve seen far too many small business owners get purchase a digital camera and immediately decide that they can take their own photographs for their website. I understand that this is a tempting solution – after all, you’ve got the camera, and it’s just point-and-shoot, right? But, too often, this leaves you with photographs that leave something to be desired.
The most common mistakes that I see with taking your own photos:
Starting with a good photo is the best way to avoid all of this work and the additional charges that come with it. Make sure that your photo has adequate lighting and that you look as professional as possible – it’s a lot of work to Photoshop out a stray bra strap, wrinkles in your clothes, or distracting things in the background. And, it’s nearly impossible to fix textured items – like a hole in a patterned shirt or a bad hair day.
If you must take your own product shots, make sure that you use a plain background – a nice, ironed tablecloth in white or some other light color is best. And, take the photo outside in indirect sunlight – it’s much more flattering than harsh, direct light or indoor light.
If you are going to take your own head shots, look at both the background and the foreground. And, make sure that the surroundings that you take your headshot in are professional enough to match your brand. That flower garden you love may be a lovely spot, but it might not be professional-looking enough for your consulting head shots.
Run a test photo by a designer so that they can see if your photo will work well when professionally printed. And, be sure to save your original photo file – once the photo is resized for web use, you will have lost valuable data that you can’t get back.