Why Professional Law Firm Photos Matter
Well it’s September, and we all know what that means. Someday in the next few weeks the latest iteration of the iPhone will most likely be revealed. Among the virtually guaranteed upgrades we can expect, I’m quite confident the device will feature a camera that puts most point-and-shoot models of the past few years to shame.
But a chisel does not a sculptor make. And having a top-notch camera in your pocket doesn’t mean you’ve got what it takes to capture the kind of photos your law firm needs. Even if your firm’s founding partner is an accomplished amateur photographer, that person needs to be on the other side of the lens this time around.
Here’s why it matters:
First, can we all agree that there’s an “art” to the fine art of photography? A professional will have the knowledge and equipment to deliver quality images regardless of the environment. You, on the other hand, might not be an expert in composition, and your pocket camera may not always play nice with florescent office lighting or overcast skies.
Second, the quality and authenticity of your images makes a difference to your business. One study by VWO (Visual WebSite Optimizer) showed that website conversion can increase up to 45 percent when real images are used instead of stock photography. That’s likely because those clearly fake photos do nothing to convey the humanity, competence and gravitas your audience craves.
Third, don’t forget just how powerful images are in general. Those gigantic, full-width photos all over the web today are called “hero images” for a reason. In the race to capture the attention and emotion of website visitors, the right image can save the day. Meanwhile, another study from Neilson Norman Group documented an instance where one web user spent 10 percent more time looking at staff images compared to reading their short biographies – which took up 316 percent more space.
Finally, think selfishly. If your firm is working on a new or redesigned website, bringing in a professional photographer before or in the early stages of the design process can be a big help. It allows your designers to work with real images as they refine the look and feel of your site. It also helps you better visualize and appreciate the work they’re doing, leaving you a satisfied customer in your own right.
Preparing Your Shot List
As with any service provider, you’ll save money by not wasting their time. Photographers typically charge a full- or half-day rate and setup time is included. Knowing what shots you need to get before the clock starts ticking will save you lost time and spent money.
For a typical attorney website, try to get at least the following photos:
- Environmental Portraits – These are people in places, not just faces. Capture four of these for each attorney.
- Executive Portraits – This is the all-important attorney headshot. You’ll want two for each attorney.
- Corporate Lifestyle – Think “action shots” of you or your team working in various settings around the office. Four should suffice.
- Office/Location – These could be exterior or interior shots. If you have a sign or legible firm name somewhere, try to capture it in at least one of the two photos recommended.
- Anything Else – If your firm has a distinctive visual element or landmark that you want to profile, feel free to include it. More visual choices are generally better when building a website.
As you shop around for a photographer, have a conversation about the following issues to avoid any disappointing surprises down the line:
- Pricing – This can vary wildly so treat it like a home improvement project. Get a few bids and go with the one you trust and can afford.
- Time – Expect to set aside at least a half-day, 4-5 hours, for your shoot. It’ll be worth it.
- Finishing Services – The cost of the shoot should include basic finishing of the photos. This includes minor touch-ups and color correction. Beyond that, leave the images alone. Your web designer will decide where and when to crop.
- Usage Rights – Discuss this with your photographer before hiring them. Some only allow limited use of their images while others will easily hand over the rights to the photos as part of the package price. Both have their merits from a photographer’s perspective, but it’s important that your firm is clear on exactly who owns these images and how they may be used.
- Variables – Go ahead and ask if anything else can affect the price of your photo shoot. Travel time, assistant fees, additional image editing work and more can all add to the photographer’s workload and your costs. Ask about these things up front to get on common ground with your photographer.
Remember, securing good photos of your firm isn’t simply vanity or decoration. Quality images are an immensely valuable aspect of website design because of the emotions they can stir and because psychological factors have a clear influence on legal consumers. Spending the time (and a little bit of money) on your website’s photos will pay off for your sense of pride and your pocketbook.