How to Snap + Source Photos for Your Website (easy + cheap)
In today’s post and video tutorial, you’ll learn:
Why you need to suck it up and get quality photos of yourself on your website
What your options are: stock, professional shoot, selfie shoot
How to source + style stock for your brand
Where to find them
What to look for
How to make them yours
How to prep + snap your selfie shoot
Step 1: Plan + Prep
Step 2: Set + Snap
Step 3: Edit + Export
And, yes, I did create a free downloadable version of the ENTIRE web prep process. So that you can walk through the 7 steps to crafting a website that brings in clients on automatic. And you can find that checklist at craftingcreative.com/checklist.
It’s time to suck it up and get quality photos of yourself on your website. Because having good quality photos on your site can mean the difference between a potential client choosing to work with you or choosing a peer, instead.
This doesn’t mean that you have to drop hundreds or thousands in cash monies to a professional photographer. You can totally do it yourself, with a few resources (that cost less than $20).
Even if you’re camera shy, you can source stock photography that isn’t cheesy or crazy expensive.
And, when it comes to using stock photos, I’m going to teach you a few tricks for making them look like they belong to your brand instead of leaving people thinking, “now where have I seen that photo before?”.
When it comes to quality photos for your website, you have 3 options:
Hire a professional photographer (or team of them)
Plan, prep, snap, and edit your own brand photos
Source free or paid stock photos and then edit them for your brand
Or, a combination of the above (which is probably a very good strategy)
How to source + style stock photos
First, there are loads of places to find free or inexpensive stock photos online and I’m sure you already have a few go-to places yourself. But, in case you’re wondering what my favorites are, here you go (hint: maybe screenshot this to refer back to).
Where to find ‘em:
[ free stock photo sources ]
[ paid stock photo sources ]
What to look for in stock photos:
So you’ve decided you need to add some stock photos to your site but you’re not even sure what to look for. Everyone else seems to be using the stereotypically feminine snaps and unrealistic flatlays. And then there are those corporate sites that have those cheesy stock photos of people smiling and shaking hands. #ThanksButNoThanks
Does this photo align with your brand values (those tone words we defined)?
Does it fit with the overall aesthetic of your moodboard?
Does it reflect positively on your brand or your ideal client?
How to make them work for your brand:
Most likely, you’re going to use stock photos on your website as background images. And a few ways that you can edit them to make them more your own are:
- Add mockups of your opt-in offer or paid products overtop of them.
Use an overlay color or gradient (this will have the bonus effect of making your text pop).
Consider adjusting the crop of the image and the focal point.
Here’s a blog post by Haute Chocolate that goes over more ways to edit stock photos.
Regardless of the method(s) you choose, make sure your edited photos fit with your brand aesthetic (so they’re cohesive) and that you use the same method(s) on all your stock photos (so they’re consistent).
DIY Brand Photos (the selfie snap shoot)
First: Plan + Prep
Where are you going to snap your photos?
I wanted to shoot against a solid colored wall so that I could edit out the background and have flexibility in how I used the images. I live in an apartment with all white walls, so that was easy.
But you might also want to take some shots of your workspace or some flat lays of common items that you use that represent your brand. Gather those things and set them up.
When are you going to have your photoshoot?
If your key light is going to be provided by the sun, you’ll want to set up and shoot during the time when you get the best natural light (whatever time that is for you based on your location).
What equipment are you going to use?
I bought a tripod with iPhone attachment ($10 from Amazon)
A cheap bluetooth camera remote ($7 from Amazon)
And used my iPhone (a smart phone or a digital camera would also work)
How are you going to execute the photoshoot?
This means you’ll want to plan your costume changes
Consider your locations, poses, and props
Also, you’ll want a good mix of close-up, medium range, and wide angle shots
*It’s a very good idea to create a storyboard or shot list here so you don’t forget anything.
To read more about my experience (and the lessons learned) from DIYing my own photos, check out this post.
Second: Set + Snap
Get your lights, tripod, and camera set up in your space. Because I wasn’t using a lighting kit, I opened the blinds on the window (opposite of the white wall I was using). You could also get some daylight bulbs and put them in lamps that you use to light the scene.
Turn on your camera (an iPhone in my case), set it to landscape mode, place it on the tripod at about eye level, and then proceeded to snap about 100 selfies.
*Keep your shot list nearby to make sure you’re not missing any costume changes, angles, or objects.
Third: Edit + Export
Because I used my iPhone to snap the photos (and because I refuse to pay monthly for photoshop / didn’t want to spend hours editing), I used 2 iPhone apps for editing my photos: VSCO and Snapseed.
I used VSCO to bump up the exposure, contrast, and saturation a smidge (because I really didn’t have enough light when I shot).
Then I used Snapseed to edit out the light switch in the background (with one tap!) and to brighten the background until it was pure white.
Lastly, after all that hard work, you don’t want to just throw those photos on your site without optimizing them because that’ll slow your site loading speed down.
First, export them at an appropriate size for where you’ll be using them (background banners do well at about 1600px wide and 600px tall).
Then, don’t forget to run through an image optimizer like TinyJPG to keep your web pages speedy.
And today marks the last official step of the #WebPrepChecklist series:
How to prep, snap, and edit photos for your website – that's this post 😉
Don’t forget to grab your Web Prep Checklist! (PS: you’ll also get on my list where I share exclusive tips and tutorials that are easy-to-digest and implement).