Beyond Stock Images: 3 Strategies to Get Quality Photography for Your Website

by Emily Retherford

3 min read

Photography helps to make your company website engaging. High-quality photos are also must-have ingredients in successful social media campaigns. Consumers are far more likely to remember your visual content than they remember details in marketing materials. As a small business using lean marketing to get your product to market as soon as possible, working with professional photographers to build strong visuals might not be in your budget. There are many stock photography sites where you can purchase photos for your website and marketing materials. However, when you rely solely on stock photos, you run the risk of using the same photos that another company is using in their marketing materials, and you might have trouble finding the perfect photos to pair with your content. You can take your own photos, but to establish your brand, you need photos that stand out in the digital ocean of images on social media sites. There are other ways to find great, original photo assets for your marketing materials.

Barter for Pictures

If you have a friend or associate with a good camera and decent photography skills, you might be in luck. Even if you don’t have the money to pay your friend, you could set up an agreement where you offer your company’s products in return for photos. If your friend is a new photographer, they might welcome some assignments to build their portfolio or a credit on your website. Having a photographer friend to collaborate with gives you the opportunity to get unique images that you won’t find in even in the best photography websites, such as team photo shoots and shots of your company workspace from an insider’s point of view. You don’t want your friend to feel taken advantage of, so make your arrangement clear, even if it is informal. Let your friend know exactly what types of photos you’re looking for; if necessary, set up appointments for photo shoots.

Partnering and Cross Promotion

Another good way to get high-quality original images for free is by partnering with professional photographers. This is going a few steps past informal agreements with friends. Reach out to local photography or digital marketing businesses, and propose a mutually beneficial partnership. For example, you might agree to promote each other on your respective websites and on social media accounts. You might also agree to refer your customers to the photography business or to sell a discounted joint product offering. The photographer gets free marketing from your company, and you get professional photographs for free. Keep your partnership agreements short-term so that both parties can track results and decide whether continue the arrangement.

Do-It-Yourself Photography Tips

You might not think of yourself as a professional photographer, but if you have a steady hand and a library of personal pictures, you already have more photography skills than you think. It’s not hard to find a deal on a good DSLR camera these days, but you need some technical know-how to get the best results out of it. On the bright side, you can also take high-quality photos with your smartphone. Follow these tips to make your do-it-yourself company photos look like they were taken by a pro.

  • Good lighting is important. If you try to improvise with ordinary daylight in your work area, you run the risk of producing low-resolution photos that aren’t suitable for professional marketing materials. You can affordably set up a small studio space with materials from your local hardware store. You will need a whiteboard background and at least two lamps with cool-colored bulbs for best results.
  • Edit your photos. Much of the process for creating a stellar photo begins after you download it from your camera. Use Adobe Photoshop or a free alternative like Pixlr to adjust brightness and contrast, crop, and straighten your photos. You can also use photo editors to add text, borders, and overlays to your images.
  • Use filters. Some of your photos might not look particularly interesting at first, but you can use one of Instagram’s many filters to transform your photos. For example, Instagram filters can sharpen or soften contrast, or they can make your photo look like a professional graphic design piece.

Stock photo sites are convenient, but they shouldn’t be your only source for images. Look at stock photos for inspiration, and use those ideas to create your own original, eye-catching photos that set your brand apart.

References & Resources

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