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Use real photos of your actual business on your website

When prospects visit your website, they are hoping for a snapshot of who you are and how you can help them. If they like the snapshot, they’ll spend more time on the site to get the full picture. We’re speaking metaphorically, of course. But why not help prospects get an immediate and authentic picture by including photographs of the people and facilities that give your business its unique character?

We recommend this often. We recommend this strongly to service businesses because service is personal: Your prospects must know, like and trust you before they will buy. A website personalized with photos of the people who deliver the service is a powerful way to move prospects down the know-like-trust path to paying for your help.

At the business law and litigation firm Halpern & Levy, P.C., partners Mark Halpern and Robert Levy got the picture during our very first meeting to discuss a new website. We had scarcely begun our pitch about the value of authentic photos when they said yes. In answering our earlier questions about the qualities that set their firm apart from competitors, they had emphasized “personal care and individual attention to every client.” They instantly grasped the connection between saying those words and portraying them in the visuals on the website.

Mark and Rob are fully aware that look-and-feel make a deep and lasting impression. That’s why they have taken great care to maintain a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere in their building. The colors are warm and the décor chosen to create the feeling that you have entered a beautifully furnished home. Most people are anxious or troubled when they need a lawyer, especially if they are facing litigation. The partners at Halpern & Levy want those worries to start melting away as soon as the person steps off the elevator into their reception area.

With all that in mind, a photo shoot was carefully planned to show the partners and their office suite front and center in a slide show on the home page of their website. Now if someone recommends Halpern & Levy and you go to their website to check them out, you see two men who look professional, personable and accomplished: real people you can talk to, in their real offices, not models Photoshopped to perfection in a slick, made-for-iStock office set.

So why do many business decision-makers go for stock photography instead of authenticity on their company websites? Some cite the cost of professional photography, which is actually quite small compared with other advertising and promotion expenses. Others tell you that they and/or others on their team are too shy or insufficiently proud of their appearance.

When deciding whether to use authentic photos on your website:

  1. Be noble. Sacrifice your right to shyness for the good of the company. Unless you hide under your desk when clients enter your office, you are not too shy to show your face to potential clients on your website.
  2. Be realistic. You can’t stand in for George Clooney or Beyoncé; never could, never will. Accept it. Then think about the people you know, like and trust. They probably aren’t magazine-cover material either. It’s okay.
  3. Be smart. Hire a professional photographer. Our photographers, like most professionals, will understand the impression you are trying to make and will work their magic to achieve it with expert lighting and careful selection of the angles from which photos are taken.