This is a common question from my clients, and it's an important one. How do I get the right kinds of photos for my website? What should I tell my photographer?
First off, here are 3 things to consider when hiring a photographer:
Don't expect to pay less than $800 USD for a good quality photographer.
Anything less than that is probably going to be an amateur or un-professional photographer. I've discovered this first-hand when hiring third-party photographers for my clients. It doesn't matter if you are in Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle or Dallas. Don't plan on spending less than $800 USD. Otherwise, you'll end up with photographs that you'll be disappointed with. On the other hand, paying over $2000 USD for a single one-day photoshoot also seems to be where there is no extra value-added for a photographer. A $2000 USD photography is going to be very high quality and professional. And, from my experience, a $3000 USD photographer isn't going to be much different unless there is a stylistic preference you have between the two.
Photographers tend to be booked out 2 weeks in advance, and have a 2 week turnaround.
Meaning, the whole process will take roughly 1 month between hiring & getting the actual photos. A hard-working photographer will get this turn-around to be much shorter. I've done hundreds of photoshoots for clients in the past, and it can take me less than 1day to get the photos in my clients' hands. But some Photographers want to delete all the bad photos shoot, and find the top 10 images to present to you. A good photographer will submit to you 3-5 images as a sneak-peak so you're not anxiously waiting to see the final results.
The Photographer should be pro-active about choosing a location or background for your photoshoot.
However, you should also give the photographer a few example of the style you want to go for ahead of time so they know exactly what to shoot, and then can make some recommendations in terms of location or backdrops, or at least ask you some questions about the process at least a couple weeks before the shoot actually occurs.
Here is what to tell your photographer about getting good photos for your website
I am always amazed at how few photographers actually know how to take good photos for a website. After all, websites are the most powerful and important marketing tools a business uses these days. But most photographers are stuck in the mindset of treating these pieces as a final piece of art, rather than a raw photograph that will later be used for brochures, websites or social medial.
So here are 3 things you need to tell your Photographer when doing a photoshoot for your business website:
Get 50% Horizontal and 50% Vertical images
Websites, brochures and social media photos are mostly horizontal or Square in shape. Except, on mobile devices, Pinterest images, or tri-fold brochures, they need to be vertical. Therefore, let your Photographer know that you need both horizontal and vertical orientations of shoots, as much as possible. I am amazed at how many photographers only do Horizontal or only do Vertical when shooting. You need both. So be firm about letting your photographer know this.
Lots and lots of white or blank space
This is another thing that bugs me about Photographers. Obviously, text is going to be overlayed over these images. Only on an Art website is the image a stand-alone. Virtually all websites & brochures overlay text on top of images. So make sure you ask your Photographers to allow for as much white space, or simple background, or simple compositions as possible so that these images actually look good on a website. Show your Photographer examples of ones you like so they understand. Most Photographers get this wrong.
Don't have then touch up and crop the images afterwards
Another thing some Photographers do is crop, touch-up or alter images and often spend weeks doing this. The best thing to do is ask them to send you the Raw, un-touched images first, in high resolution, then narrow them down to your final selections. Photographers have this tendency of waiting as long as possible to get you the final images, or to play around with them in Photoshop for too long. Speed up the process and ask for the raw, un-edited, un-cropped, un-filtered photos they took from the photo session. They'll need to be altered for website use anyway, so that we can figure out the right layout & orientation of these photos for your website.