So you’ve signed up for Birthing Your Brand and are in the process of completing the onboarding questionnaire and you realize that we ask for a lot of photos and images from you to customize your website to your business. Humans (aka your visitors) are visual creatures; we subconsciously (and consciously) create associations with beautiful imagery and make emotional connections to colors. When it comes to having a beautiful AND functional website, a big part of it means having high-quality, beautiful photography that shows off you and your brand.
The images on your website are immensely powerful. They grab your visitor’s attention and hold it, communicating what your business is about and showcasing what products and services you have to offer. The big question becomes, “How do I get high quality pictures for my website?”
Option #1 – Stock Photography
Many websites utilize stock photography. In fact, we have already added beautiful stock photography to your template to give your website a cohesive look (we even have a connection to Unsplash’s library of stock images built into your admin dashboard). These stock images are appealing to the eye, easy to find on the internet, high quality, and there are thousands upon thousands of them available for free and paid that you can find for your website.
However, there are a few major places on your website where stock photography does not work at all: pictures of you and/or your staff, pictures of your business, and pictures of your services/products. The bigger disadvantage of stock photography is that it does not facilitate a personal connection between your visitor and your business! For the doulas and birth professionals out there, your brand is often based on who you are and the unique services that you provide. Stock photographs can never replace the connection that you can create by sharing images of yourself and your work. Another problem with stock photos is that there are only so many babies and pregnant people available from these stock companies, so you tend to see some repeats among doula and birth pro websites. That devalues the uniqueness of your brand. Stock photos are also limited in the types of families they depict, as well as the races and sizes available. Your website won’t feel inviting to all if it only shows one kind of person in the photos.
You can check out these galleries for some great stock photography:
Option #2 – Hire a Professional Photographer
What’s that sound I hear? Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. Professional photography can be EXPENSIVE! Just like for your own services, photographers deserve to command a fair wage for their experience, skills, and abilities with the camera and computer (someone has to edit those photos). A professional will have the ability and tools to take the highest quality photographs and fix any blemishes, mistakes, or stray strands of hair that could ruin an otherwise perfect photograph.
For many people just starting their business, hiring a professional photographer is just not in the cards. And that’s OK! If you really want to have a professional photographer, why not get creative and consider proposing a trade. If that doesn’t work then there is option #3 and my favorite option of them all.
Option #3 – Be Your Own Photographer
Thanks to advances in modern technology we all have access to a fantastic camera… our cellphones! Your cellphone has the ability to take beautiful photographs for your website, but to get the best of the best, follow these tips and tricks to produce high quality photos that reflect the high standards of your business.
Now that you have picked out a template for your website, use its visual cues to create a consistent look, feel and style of photos that will be added to it. Our templates make a wonderful guide to the basic aesthetic behind the images you’ll use on your website.
Let’s not stop there though. Go online and check out your favorite doula and birth professional websites for image inspiration. Don’t be afraid to check out your competitors too, especially the ones with successful and converting websites!
Make a list of all of the images that your site needs so that when your shooting day (or days) arrives, you’ll get everything that you need. Here are some photos to think of:
Header Image: This is the first image that your visitors will see at the top of your home page. It is a wide (not tall) image that should reflect what your business is about. For many doulas and birth professionals the character of their business/brand is built around their own character and personality. When that is the case, a beautiful image of you is always a plus. We absolutely love the header image at malloryjacks.com! Her brand is based around her own personality and she uses an image that portrays her character but doesn’t overpower her call to action (“Work With Me”) or her brand name. Also take note the width of the image; remember to leave some space to the left, right, above, and below you. (P.S. Also check out her Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/malloryjax/ to see how she beautifully portrays her brand and herself to her social media followers).
Team Members: They say that “Teamwork makes the dream work”! Visitors love to see and meet the people that they will be working with. Consider taking multiple photographs of yourself and your teammates to get a great shot. Don’t forget to take a picture of the entire team together! Here’s a tip: take your individual photos with a solid colored background (e.g. painted wall) and you can remove the background at www.remove.bg and replace with a new color to match your website.
Physical Space: If you have an office, work out of a birthing center, or even have a nook in your home with all of your birth reading materials, supplies, and more, then take a picture and share it with your visitors.
Action Shots: You’ve invested time and energy being trained, certified, and now starting (or growing) your business, so why not show everyone how you do your business with some action shots!
Get Your Equipment Together
You don’t need a ton of expensive equipment to take amazing photos for your website. Here are some of the basics:
Camera: The best camera is the one you already have! Find the best camera that you own, whether it be a DSLR, compact point-and-shoot, or your cell phone.
Tripod: Even the slightest vibrations or movement can decrease the quality of your photos. Try an inexpensive tripod to stabilize your camera and take better photos. As a plus, this can help you take photos of yourself if you don’t have anyone else to help.
Grab a friend: It’s hard to take photos of yourself from a distance. Grab a husband, wife, child, neighbor, friend, or train your dog to take pictures.
That’s all the equipment you need for some amazing photos!
Scout Your Location
Whether you take your pictures in a professional studio, on location at your office, in your home, at the park, wherever it may be, find an available space that has the room for you and your equipment and the best lighting possible.
Lighting can make a huge difference between a great photo and a terrible photo. Avoid too much light that will wash out your images and avoid not enough light that will cause shadows and dark images. If you are shooting indoors, try to use as much natural lighting as you can. Position yourself close to a window and turn off the overhead lights. If you are shooting outdoors, try to time your photos for the “Golden Hour,” the hour just after dawn and the hour right before dusk. You can also try for an overcast day.
Take Your Photos
The time has finally arrived to take your photos for your new website! Our best advice is to have fun with it!
– Make faces, funny poses, laugh, show some teeth with your smile!
– Take way more pictures than you think you need.
– Change outfits in the middle.
– Take some photos standing further away than you think you need to be (for those wide header images!).
– Go crazy!!!
Congrats! You have completed your photoshoot. It’s time to do a happy dance! The last step is to do some minor editing of the photos, but don’t go overboard. There are tons of free apps on your phone and free apps on the internet (Canva, Fotor) for basic editing that anyone can do. Once you are happy with your photos go put them on your website!