Photos You'll Need for Your New Website and Tips on Doing Them Yourself

11 May 2017

One of the things that often delays the launch of a new website is personal photography. Sometimes this is because the client is waiting on a professional photo shoot, or is camera shy. Let me address the second obstacle first.


Shifting Camera Shyness


I too am camera shy. I've hated every photo ever taken of me -- with one exception, and that one is the selfie I use on all my websites. You can find it on my About page.


Like so much of marketing a professional practice, even your photo is not totally about you. It's about giving potential clients an experience of your warmth, and making yourself real to them so that they will feel more willing to call for an appointment.



Photos I Ask Website Clients to Provide


Personal Photo -- Because they work best for multiple purposes on websites, I always ask clients to provide at least one photo of themselves standing against a plain white background. This creates the impression that you are "floating" on the web page.  The photo in this blog shows the "floating" effect that I mean. It's best to be wearing a shirt or jacket that reflects light up onto your face, or a color that is the same as that of your website palette.

If you are camera shy, you might be glad to know that a three quarter length shot of you is NOT necessary. Head and shoulders is quite sufficient and standard. Just be sure the photo is framed that tightly and in focus when the picture is taken -- it will be the best quality that way. 


Context Photo -- Second preference is to have a friend take casual photos of you at your office. These could be posed in a variety of ways:

  • standing at the door as if greeting a client

  • seated in your usual chair

  • over the shoulder of a "fake" client with focus on you listening

  • sitting at your desk and looking up from reading

  • standing outside in front of the door to the building


And therapists -- Unless you meet with clients in the park, or your office doubles as a greenhouse, I'd suggest avoiding those nature photos we all like. In my opinion, they are too casual for professional use and can lend the impression that your boundaries between being a clinician and being a friend may be somewhat muddled.



People-Less Office Photos


Depending on the design of the website, I may ask for photos of your office building and the room your clients will be in to help create a sense of familiarity and safety for prospective clients. This can be especially useful for bodyworkers who ask clients to partially disrobe, and for metaphysical readers who might need to counter public skepticism.  


If you work in a particularly quaint building or converted house, a photo of that can make a compelling header for your website. (A header is the section at the top of every page that usually holds your business name, location and contact info) This is often a good choice for a group practice.



Taking a Professional Quality Selfie


It is completely possible to take a decent enough self-portrait and shots of your office building and interior with most recently purchased cell phones these days. What you need is:


  • lots and lots of bright light - including overhead AND floor lamps

  • a plain white wall to stand against

  • a high quality camera


Turn on all the lights you can, and take a few pictures to test where the shadows fall. Take shots from your right, your left and straight on, to find your best side.


When you've got the lighting right and you know which side is most favorable, stand with your shoulders straight, but turn your head so that your chin is pointed over your shoulder. The more "stretch" you feel in this position, the better the photo will likely be. 



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Why I've Retired

It's possible this will come as a surprise to you -- it certainly has snuck on me that I'm well past retirement age. Over the last year or so, my heart has been pulled in other directions, and while I still love the creative aspects of website design, I want to use my time making a life rather than devoting my energies to making a living. So I plan to travel, attend writers' retreats, work on learning to take good iPhone photos, and just be open to where my spirit guides take me. I have also stepped back from my esoteric work for 2020, and who knows what the future holds for that.

Please see the blog post for my two Wix designers who have earned my highest recommendations for serving my client niche.

All the Best to You!