Think for a moment about why you have a website: What are the goals of that website? To build trust with new clients? To educate prospects about your business? To differentiate yourself from the competition? Your site should be doing all of these things and more. People come to your website to learn about your business and the services you offer. This is where trust can first be established, and it is often the first impression people get of your business.
Therefore, why would you settle for only featuring stock photos of random smiling people? Or a family lying in the grass? These people have no relation to your business; they are not patients, clients, or employees.
It’s fine to launch a website with stock photography, but the goal should be over time to replace those stock photos with more relevant and original photography.
There is also a chance your website visitors have seen these photos on other websites. Pictured below is a gentleman who both has a migraine and is suffering from tinnitus. He must be experiencing a lot of discomfort!
These stock photos do nothing to help create trust or build your brand in the eyes of prospective patients and clients.
Don’t get us wrong, we understand why people choose to use stock photos: They’re easy and even free sometimes.
You work hard building your brand and relationships with patients in everything you do. From the moment a patient first calls, or when a patient comes in for their first appointment, you make sure that you are creating a unique and quality experience for that person.
So why would you take a shortcut on your website? Again, we get it: because it is so easy to slap a stock photo of “smiling couple number 2” on a home page slider and call it a day. (Side note: We’ll talk about sliders in the future, as well as why they should be removed.) The importance of unique photos that represent and build your brand cannot be overstated.
Angie Schottmuller defines a hero shot as “a credible photo or video of a solution that encompasses relevance, context, value, and emotion, to support, educate, or persuade a customer.”
Let’s take a look at some example stock photos, why they don’t make sense, and some ways you can replace them with your own custom photos that are more relatable to your practice.
Stock Photo Example #1
This page is about tinnitus and tinnitus treatment solutions. However, you could use that hero shot for a dental teeth whitening page too. If you can use a stock photo for a variety type of pages, then it truly is not supporting or adding value to the content on the page.
Stock Photo Example #2
It is great to have testimonials of patients on your website. It is even better to have a photo of that patient next to their testimonial to increase creditability. However, when you add a photo that is clearly a stock photo next to a testimonial it completely removes any credibility that testimonial had. Clearly neither of the two people below are 37 years old.
Hopefully you are beginning to get the idea of how impactful “real” photos can be for your website. Above are just a few examples of how you can replace stock photos and begin to transform your site into a proper reflection of the unique business you actually have. Everyone has access to a camera, whether it is your smartphone’s camera or a co-worker’s digital camera. If you don’t want to take your own pictures, here are two options:
- Hire a professional photographer
- Find a local college or high school photography student who might be looking to get some practice!
Once you have decided who will be taking your photos, here are some basic tips for how to get great photos and videos that will elevate your brand and your clients’ trust.
Take photos of people in action using and enjoying your product, helping a patient, or even speaking on the phone. The photo below could be great for a local ice cream shop. Wouldn’t you take your kids or grandkids there if they were going to enjoy it this much?
Don’t include photos of empty rooms or spaces. If you are showing photos of your business, make sure to have people in them. A photo of the front office with an empty chair is boring. So is the below photo of an empty patio for a landscaping company. It would be much more appealing if it was full of people eating, drinking, and enjoying a nice fire.
The next photo is much more interesting. You might be able to picture your family using a patio just like this — and you might be much more willing to invest in something like this for your family.
No blurry photos; if your photo is blurry, take another one. With digital cameras and smartphones, there is plenty of storage space to make sure you always get just the right photo.
Your photos shouldn’t look staged; make them natural. This could be a great photo for a camping stove company. Look how easy it is to use the stove; even kids can cook with it! This could be enticing for a family looking to take their kids camping.
If you’re shooting video, please make sure the audio is clear. Do a quick sound test to make sure sound comes through clearly and doesn’t sound far away. It doesn’t have to be professional audio quality, but getting rid of all background noise and having the mic close to the speaker are two simple things that will make your video more engaging.
The next time you want to add an image to your site, ask yourself how you can create your own photo as opposed to using a free stock photo of a stranger from the internet. Also ask yourself: Does the photo I am putting on my website add value, increase my brand, and help build trust with prospective patients? We know we won’t be able to get rid of all stock photography, but hopefully this will inspire you to take and use some of your own photos for your business.