Is Professional Photography Actually Important for My Business?
Imagine this: You’re holding job interviews for an open position. You’re expecting two qualified interviewees to show up any minute when you hear a knock on the door. Both walk in, smiling, with resumes in hand. One is clean and prepared in a polished a business suit, the other is wearing gym clothes.
Wait, gym clothes, really?!
BEFORE you open the resumes and BEFORE either one says a word, you’ve already formed a big first impression. It’s clear that only ONE applicant is taking this seriously. You think to yourself "Gym clothes? to a JOB interview!?" It’s unprofessional, impolite, and indicates that he or she is not really invested in landing this opportunity. Even if this gym guru has more experience and better recommendations, it’s going to be impossible to overcome the immediate first impression they have given off. Especially compared to their competition who showed up prepared and who is doing everything they're not. But how does showing up to an interview in gym clothes relate to your images on your website?
Think of it this way: You’re extremely hungry and you decide to check out two new restaurants that just opened. To help you to decide where to eat at you visit their website to view what they have available. One of them invested in professional photography, the other did not. Which plate of food is more appealing and more likely to get your business?
Or, you would like to start off with a drink, which drink are you more likely to consider to order based on visuals alone? Let’s not kid ourselves, people make buying decisions majority of the time on visuals alone.
The choice is pretty clear.
Despite the contents of these products being very similar, the photos representing them are very different! One has been photographed with technical skill and percesion. The other was snapped by an amateur who knows little to nothing about photography and was trying to save a dollar or two by doing it themselves. To put it in other terms, one just showed up for the interview in a business suit, the other is wearing gym clothes. Regardless if the product that was photographed by the amateur actually tastes better, the perceived value of the food takes a nosedive thanks to its muddy, poorly lit, poorly composed representation.
Whether it’s on your website or social media, amateur photography makes your business look AMATEUR. Even if someone has a nice camera or "great" camera phone and can snap a decent image for your Instagram or LinkedIn account, the photography will still be identifiable as, amateur. This is because the one taking the photo is not trained as a professional. Many people can take decent photos, but this is your business on the line here, and most don't really know what they're doing when taking photos.
Technical know how, proper lighting, equipment, strategy, design elements and composition are all highly specialized skills – and unless you’re a professional photographer first and foremost, snapping your own images will hurt, NOT HELP, your brand. Amateur photography screams, unprepared, unprofessional, and unpolished, and can even make your business look cheap. It’s the epitome of bootstrapping your business – in a bad way. Taking the time and effort to invest in your brand demonstrates that you are taking your business seriously and conveys that message to others, making them more likely to act accordingly. And just like the interviewee who showed up in sweatpants; you will not be able to redo that first impression of your business.
To wrap this up, let me make it crystal clear: AMATEUR photography MAKES YOUR BUSINESS LOOK AMATEUR! When your business looks amateur, your audience will think your business is amateur. Potential clients begin to question your professionalism, competence, and commitment to quality. Viewers think that what you offer is worth less than it actually is. You're turning them away before you can even get them in the door. So do yourself a favor and invest in professional photography from the get go. Don't show up in gym clothes. And guess what? You're going to thank me later. High-quality photography is a gift that keeps on giving. The same professional photos you use throughout your website pull double duty in online marketing campaigns and triple duty running as print ads.