The Website Redesign Shot List | 4 Must Have Images

The Website Redesign Shot List | 4 Must Have Images

The day is here and it’s finally time to redesign your website.  Your website is critical for your business and it’s typically the first impression a potential client will have of you.  You’ve got your custom web developer, written out all of the content and now it’s time to consider the imagery.  Images can be a powerful type of content that will enhance the user’s experience on your website.   At the highest level, images help your visitors connect and feel comfortable on your site. Since 65% of the population describes themselves as visual learners, you have to plan for people who want to look at pictures instead of reading words when you tackle a website design project.  So, the photos you choose to run with on your site should be custom and representative of your brand.  

 

 

With that in mind, here’s the list of the 4 kinds of images you’ll need when launching or redesigning a website.

1. HERO IMAGES

Chicago-Commercial-Photographer

The hero image is the featured photo on the home page of the website that is placed front and center.  These are also typically placed on the top of each primary page of the website as a banner.   Since this is the first visual the potential customer has of your services, the photo should present the most important information and is often accompanied by text and a call to action.  

 

2. PRODUCT PHOTOS

Chicago-Commercial-Photographer

When your product is a tangible item such as a burger, bike or a backpack, what you make needs to be featured on your website constantly and consistently.  Consumers expect to know how a product looks from multiple angles before choosing to make their purchase.  If you’re selling a service, this can apply as well.  For instance, a contractor who specializes in tile work, could show before and after images of a backspace installation.  The more appealing the photo of your service or product is, the more likely someone is to work with you or put that product in their shopping cart.                                  

 

3. PORTRAITS

Chicago-Commercial-Photographer

Whether you business is a service or it’s a product that your company provides, it’s the people behind the scenes that make it all possible.  We all like to know who we’re working with and who we are buying from which is why it’s essential to include head shots of the key members of your team.  In recent studies, it’s been found that website users spend 10% more time viewing portrait photos than actually reading the biographies even though the biographies consume much more space.  

Keeping the head shots current on the About US and Contact Page current helps to put a face to the name and humanize your company because potential customers are just as interested in who you are as what you do.

 

4. SERVICES PHOTOS

Chicago-Commercial-Photographer

When the business you’re in is a service and you’re product is an intangible one, you’ll need to find creative ways to show off what you do.  If you’re a lawyer or realtor, for example, you’re product is you and your professional expertise so you’ll the photos to feature you working with your clients and your team.  If there’s a process involved, break it down, and feature that process in photos so potential clients can see behind the scenes of your services.

 

Studies show that we process visuals much faster than text and not only do we process images more quickly but we also retain much more information when it’s transferred to us visually.  The most important factor to consider when pulling together a photography shot list for a new or redesigned website is that users pay attention to information-carrying images.  So, the more professional and compelling your site’s photography is, the more business you’ll conduct over time.  

Corporate Lifestyle Photography | Integrity Payment Systems

Corporate Lifestyle Photography | Integrity Payment Systems

There is a lot of planning that goes in to a corporate lifestyle photography shoot.  When I received an inquiry from Integrity Payment Systems regarding a two-day location assignment just west of Chicago, the brainstorming began.

Claire, the Marketing Director was working closely with the design team to rollout a new website to replace the one that had been running as it heavily relied on stock photography and was becoming obsolete.  The plan was to design a more interactive and people-centric site that emphasized the role of the team behind the company, from the CEO to the customer service representatives.

By incorporating custom, corporate lifestyle photography, IPS would have the chance to show their clients not only who they are working with but how they work and the end result of their unique approach, thereby helping the company to stand out in an incredibly competitive market.

We would be concentrating on doing environmental portraits of the companies’ Principals in a variety of locations around the office as well as a few scenarios in the board room, customer service and fulfillment departments in order to paint a broad picture of the inner working of IPS.

A few things I have learned in doing assignments like this that requires us to move our lighting from one location to another is to always be prepared with external battery packs, remote controls for the lighting and always use at least two Assistants.  First, when we are working with a tight schedule, the last thing we need to be doing is hunting for power outlets or messing with extension cords.  A great remedy for this is the Paul C. Buff Vagabond Extreme which recycles the Einstein lights just as quickly as being connected to a wall outlet and they can last us through the day.  We always have 2 Extremes with us along with a Vagabond Mini to make sure the laptop has enough juice as shooting tethered to Lightroom drains the laptop battery incredibly quickly.

Chicago-Corporate-Photographers

Another gear game changer for me has been the Cybersync Commander.  Rather than directing my Assistants to adjust the lighting, I can do this all from the camera, controlling up to 16 lights and all of their functions with this powerful, little tool.  This has saved so much time especially when our lighting is positioned higher on the stands.  Rather than having to lower the stand and put it back into position, I can control that channel while behind the camera.

You might think this leaves the Assistants with so much less to do but there are so many moving parts on our corporate lifestyle shoot that the more hands you have, the better.  Typically, I have an Assistant driving the laptop, checking focus and framing while the Second Assistant monitors the lighting to make sure all is working as it should.  Just another bit of insurance.

Over the two days on location, we managed to complete shooting scenarios in more than 12 locations and pulled off close to 20 individual, environmental portraits.  Not bad for two days of work and most importantly, our client was really pleased.

Retouching for Corporate Headshots and Environmental Portraits

Retouching for Corporate Headshots and Environmental Portraits

These days, it’s critical to have an awesome portrait that reflects confidence.  With social media sites like Twitter and Facebook as well as LinkedIn and company websites, the on-line profile essentially replaces the business card.  We have one chance in the online world to make a fantastic, first impression and having a stellar portrait is a great start.

Corporate headshots and environmental portrait photography are commercial assignments I do with regularity so it helps to have a system in place for retouching the portraits as the post-production process can be very subjective.

Typically, if time allows, my subjects have a chance to select their hero headshot immediately after their session and give me a heads-up on any specific retouching they would like me to do and the requests, as you can imagine, are always pretty consistent.  Make me younger and thinner.  Of course, I’m more than happy to oblige though I do tend to believe that we earn those grey hairs, the few extra pounds and the lines that show that we have been living our lives to the fullest.

When we have multiple portraits to do and are running low on time, I edit the images and upload between 3 to 5 of the best headshots of each person into a web gallery where the client can take their time in making their final selections.  Once I receive their picks, it’s showtime and I have a process that is incredibly effective and produces portraits that are engaging, confident and clean.

Take a look at the before and after samples below and move the slider to see the improvements that are made with retouching.  

  • Before-Blemish Removal & Tidy Hair
    After-Blemish Removal & Tidy Hair
    BeforeBlemish Removal & Tidy HairAfter
  • Before-Whiten Eyes & Remove Shine
    After-Whiten Eyes & Remove Shine
    BeforeWhiten Eyes & Remove ShineAfter
  • Before-Skin Smoothing & Teeth Whitening
    After-Skin Smoothing & Teeth Whitening
    BeforeSkin Smoothing & Teeth WhiteningAfter
  • Before-Teeth Whitening & Skin Smoothing
    After-Teeth Whitening & Skin Smoothing
    BeforeTeeth Whitening & Skin SmoothingAfter
  • Before-Skin Tone & Soften Under-Eyes
    After-Skin Tone & Soften Under-Eyes
    BeforeSkin Tone & Soften Under-EyesAfter
  • Before-Overall Retouching
    After-Overall Retouching
    BeforeOverall RetouchingAfter

As seen in the samples above, the changes simply enhance the image as opposed to completely changing it except of course in the last example where the background color was modified to match the subjects’ suit jacket.

The retouching for corporate headshots and environmental portraits that I apply are for the purpose of making each subject look their best so I do stay away from making drastic revisions that we see so much of these days.  Simple fixes make us look like our genuine and best selves.

Keep in mind also that although there are plenty of fixes that post-production can provide, there are also a few simple things you can do to look your best for your corporate headshot or environmental portrait as well.  This previous post was written with corporate portraits in mind however many of these guidelines apply to environmental portraits as well so check them out.

5 Answers You’ll Need When Hiring A Corporate Portrait Photographer

5 Answers You’ll Need When Hiring A Corporate Portrait Photographer

For many of the clients I work with, it may be the first time they have had to do the leg work of finding and hiring a corporate portrait Photographer.  Being new to the process, they may not be ready for the multitude of questions I ask that help me understand what the assignment entails and how to exceed the expectations of my clients.  Whether the project includes corporate headshots or environmental portraits, there are a few questions I consistently ask and if you’re looking to hire a commercial Photographer, you’ll want to have the answers to these questions ready.

 

1.) How Will The Photographs Be Used?

There is a huge difference in pricing between using images on a website and in internal communications as opposed to using those same images on a multi-state, billboard advertising campaign.  An environmental portrait that is done for a cover story of a magazine is also going to be priced differently than the same portrait photographed to decorate the walls of IKEA.  Although it’s the same photograph, the image itself carries different value for different uses.

2.) What Is The Schedule?

It’s critical for the Photographer to know the timeline of each project.  This includes when the estimate is needed by, the days that you’re looking to schedule the shoot itself and when the final images are due.  This gives us an idea of how much time we have to plan for the shoot, line-up our crew and process the final images so they are in your hands even before the deadline in case any modifications are needed.

3.) Corporate Headshots Or Environmental Portraits?

Of course you can do both options and it’s actually a good idea to do so if the time and budget allows.  I have seen clients use the corporate headshots for their company LinkedIn profiles and use the environmental portraits on their websites for variety.

However, if it needs to be only one of the options, you’ll need to know:

  • How many people will need portraits
  • The time that you have to accomplish all of this in
  • How many final images of each person you would like to be retouched
  • If you are doing corporate headshots, what backdrop color would you like to use
    • Keep in mind, for this set-up, it’s best to have access to an empty conference room that has plenty of space for the seamless paper and lighting set-up.
  • If the plan is to go with environmental portraits, will they be done in one location or several locations within the same office

Chicago-Corporate-Portrait-Photographer

4.) What Look Are You Going For?

In some cases, even with corporate headshots, I have clients who want to go with a very casual feel.  So, the subject is still photographed against a backdrop, however the cropping may not be the typical 3/4, there is more room for a greater variety of expressions, the images may be converted to black and white and the subject may be looking off camera.  There are so many options so make sure you have in mind the feel that needs to be conveyed and the branding that must be matched.

Chicago-Corporate-Portrait-Photographer

5.) What Is The Budget Range?

For each proposal that I work on, there are three factors I take into consideration.  The complexity of the assignment, the time it will take to complete the job from pre-production through image delivery and finally my clients’ price range.

In many cases, when I ask about this the answer has been that they are in the process of collecting bids which is totally understandable.  However, I always try to narrow this down to gain a better understanding of what the client has the budget for and then inform about what is possible within that range.  This transparency ensures that the expectations are not only met but exceeded.

Granted, not every Photographer you speak with may go into details such as this to quote a corporate portrait session however the more details and information we have before we even walk in the door, the more value we can provide.

Getting Ready for Your Corporate Portrait

Getting Ready for Your Corporate Portrait

Corporate Portraits. Social Media Pics.  Avatars. Wherever you might plan to use your business headshot, the thing to remember is that you never have a second chance to make a first impression.  But there is no need to stress because with a little preparation, you can easily optimize your photo session and produce stellar results with these simple tips.

CLOTHES

Selecting what to wear is easily the biggest challenge when prepping for your portrait.  The most important thing to remember is that you need to feel comfortable and most like yourself.

MEN

Go with the classic look.  Something timeless. Think navy blue, gray or black and with pops of color in the tie and button down shirt underneath.  Be sure to choose clothing, especially when wearing a suit, that fits well and does not bunch up when you sit down or button it.

For ties, these work well when their tone falls somewhere between the color of the suit jacket and your shirt.  For example, light shirt, dark suit and a tie that’s a shade right in between and don’t forget that pop of color.

If going more casual, the layered look works very well especially when wearing a polo button down as they tend to wrinkle easily.  But if you want to stick with the polo solo, go with a darker color as it adds to the contrast and depth of the photo.

Think simple and avoid heavy patterns, bold stripes, plaids, checks, or distracting colors as they do not photograph well digitally and take attention away from you.

WOMEN

The same classic clothing choice applies as your final portraits should be timeless.  Again, mid and deeper tones such as blue, green, purple and chocolate tend to work best and are very slimming.  Also, if you are light skinned, avoid colors that approximate flesh tones such as beige, tan, peach, pink, white, and yellow. One fail safe tip is to pick a top that accentuates your eyes.

Watch the neckline.  V-necks are great and accentuate features however don’t go too low.  It’s also best to avoid short sleeves and sleeveless tops as bare arms in a corporate portrait can be distracting, taking away attention from your face.  Also, whatever is closest to the camera is accentuated, so if wearing a sleeveless top, the arms tend to look bigger than they actually are.

As for jewelry, again, think small, think classic.  Nothing too decorative as we want to notice you, not your bling.

Examples of patterns and color combinations to avoid.

Chicago-Corporate-Photographer

 

Examples of patterns and color combinations that work.

Chicago-Corporate-Photographer

GLASSES

If you wear your glasses on a daily basis, wear them for your portrait. Don’t worry about whether or not they are reflective, there are plenty of tricks we Photographers use to make sure that’s not an issue.

MAKE-UP

I always bring a make-up kit with me to apply a bit of powder to my portrait subjects, men included,  as we all tend to glow a bit under the lights. This helps to smooth the skin tones and minimize excessive highlights created by the oils in our skin.

Also, I work with several experienced hair and make-up artists who specialize in corporate headshot sessions. Having been trained in print photography, they can work with you to polish your look for your portrait, if the budget allows.

However, if you plan on going it alone, wear what you would normally wear without going to heavy. Take it easy in applying mascara, lipstick and foundation as a close headshot will capture any mistakes you may have made. The key is to highlight your features subtly.

Worried about a little blemish? Fret not, we have the magic of Photoshop and you can check out a few retouching examples by clicking here.

HAIR

If you are planning to get a trim, do so a week or so before the shoot. A color? At least two weeks before your portrait session as newly colored hair tends to look a little overly vibrant so with a couple of weeks of shampooing, the look will be more natural.

Gentlemen, beards should be well groomed and if you’re going clean-shaven, make sure you had a decent shave that morning of your session.

JUST A FEW MORE THINGS

When shooting against a backdrop, you’ll want to get a heads-up on what color it is. The current trend is shooting against white or shades of grey. So, when putting your look together, go for the outfit that creates the greatest contrast with that backdrop and accentuates your best features. For example, if your portrait Photographer will be using a dark grey backdrop, you may want to go with a blue, chocolate or black suit as opposed to grey so that you stand out from the background.

And the last thought…..I admit, I am not a fan of having my photo taken so I totally empathize if you too, are not a fan. But there really is no need to worry as it does not need to be a painful experience. In fact, the key is to make it fun and how we approach this together is probably the most important factor in making a professional, approachable, authoritative and authentic portrait. So, just run with the tips provided and then you can relax and let us work our magic!

Location Shoot with the Employees of William Blair

Location Shoot with the Employees of William Blair

William Blair, a global banking and investment firm, was looking to create additional corporate head shots of their employees.  As they are an international company, they wanted to ensure that the portraits followed their detailed layouts and maintained the available lighting style featured in their previous shoots.  Working closely with their design team and their staff, we were able to create environmental portraits that represented their brand and was consistent with their corporate photography style.