At the end of last year, Stephen and I got local photography company Ruby Jack to take our photos.  I’m so pleased with the results and totally recommend getting in touch with Siobhan and Christina if you’re looking for photos in Auckland.

Here’s just one of the shots:

On my to-do list in the short term is to redesign our website (more on that later) and for that, the investment in portrait photography is extremely worthwhile.  Having worked with many businesses and individuals, I’ve found that while everyone is a photographer these days, and we are taking more than in any generation before, there is still a lack of high quality original photos of the people running the website for most projects we work on.  Despite spending a lot of time and money on other aspects of the website and business, photography often is an oversight.

I’ve also been working on some book projects lately (more on those later).  For two of those projects, getting photographs of the people behind the stories has been one of the most surprisingly hard aspects.  Firstly, there is the choice of wording: how do you clearly (and non-technically) describe the type of photo you’re looking for to get the best results sent through?  Large, high quality, full-sized, straight-off-your-non-phone-camera, not cropped?

I’ve come to observe that many people choose to send:

  • Photos taken with others, and then closely crop them out.  This ends up looking imbalanced and usually is very obvious that that is what’s happened.
  • Photos taken in poor lighting.  Flash photography usually makes people look unnatural.  Sunglasses and squinting is also a problem.
  • Small photos.  I’m not sure why people who aren’t into photography generally don’t send through the full sized camera versions (perceived to be too slow to download?).  It’s surprising, given that it means they have had to edit the photos somehow first.
  • Photos with a distracting background.  You are supposed to be the star of the shot, not the waterfall, beach or bookcase behind you.

A great photo for a business site makes a world of difference.  Here’s a perfect example: last year we designed Dianna Huff’s website Profitable Female Consultant and for that she went and got some professional portrait photos taken.  Doesn’t she look fabulous, so full of energy?  What’s more, it’s unique. No-one else can effectively use that photo.

Stock photos can work, but there’s just so many sites which are too generic looking out there.  Your own photography can work (especially if you are into photography), but professional photos take it to the next level.

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