In a visual world, your photos speak volumes
Everyone wants a stunning, glossy website that draws your customers in. But how many people do you know with a professional graphics library full of gorgeous images ready to take on that challenge?
More often than not, when I ask for graphics, customers start rummaging through their files, looking for photos snapped on a smart phone with poor lighting, or blurry images from the internet. But beware - the photos you use will be speaking for your company behind your back, and you may not like what they will say to your customers. If photos were like job interviews, are you sure you'd trust your photos to speak for you?
BUILDING A GRAPHICS LIBRARY
You may not have money in your budget for a full-scale professional photo shoot, but there are still some ways you can begin to build a graphics library that won't break the bank.
Can't I just use stock photos?
Stock photos are a popular go to when there are no other options. But can they really work for you? It depends on what you are promoting and how much personalization is needed. If you are selling your own products, this is obviously not an option for you. Even in a service industry, using generic shots will not draw people in the way pictures of actual customers will. At best, you can supplement your images with a few stock photos that are carefully chosen. Perhaps you can even hire a graphic designer to adjust some of the photos to make them more specialized (like the company logo I added to this glass).
If you sell products, check with your supplier
Your supplier may have professional photos you can use to help sell their products. Even if they don't have photos, they might be able to have some taken. They could have resources you don't have, or be willing to partner with you on your project.
Another option - hire an amateur
While smart phones have made us all amateur photographers, there are people who really enjoy photography and know a bit more about lighting and staging a shot than the rest of us.
Even getting a crisp picture that captures the moment with consistent lighting and a non-cluttered background will give you a jump start on some images you can use for your project. Find a friend, call the local community college for a student who needs practice, or ask a professional for some tips on doing a DIY photo shoot.
Barter your services or expertise
A time-honored tradition older than currency itself, bartering is an often overlooked tool. Take a look at what you have to offer, either through the services you provide or expertise you may have in running your business. See what might be appealing to someone else and make a trade!
A Photoshop pro can help too
After you have gathered your best options, a good graphic designer can help pull it all together and add some extra touches. Whether it is correcting the lighting, creating a focal point or cropping for emphasis, you'd be surprised how little adjustments can improve your graphics. A graphic designer can help in other ways too. For example, a cluttered background can be remedied with special affects (see example).
No matter how you accomplish great visuals, give it a try. You won't regret it. Your products and services will sell better when portrayed in a professional manner.