No, I am not talking about hiring good looking painters to work for you, in the hopes of keeping customers happily distracted. I’m talking about the photos on your company website.
Have you wondered if the quality of pictures on your website matter to a customer? You bet they do. And in a big way. The pictures you put on your website are the equivalent to walking into a job interview. Do you show up clean, professional and well put together or do you show up in a stained shirt, messy hair and scuffed shoes? It’s all about first impressions.
And as painters, one of the things we are selling is pretty. The first impression your photos make on a potential customer will determine if they stick around to actually read what’s on your website.
I absolutely recommend hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of some of your feature work. If you can, hire a photographer with architectural or landscape experience. Ask an interior designer in your area if they can recommend a photographer or check with your local college. You might find a photographer looking to build their portfolio.
But if you can’t afford a photographer or you don’t have one available at the end of a job, there a number of steps you can take to make sure the photos on your website are pretty:
- Your cell phone camera won’t cut it. Invest in a decent camera. You don’t need a fully loaded SLR but head down to your local camera shop and let them help you select the best camera for your budget. And while you are there, see if they have some evening classes on how to properly use your new camera.
- Get a tripod. Shaky hands make for blurry photos and the sharpness of your shots make a difference in how they look. Since you are taking still photos, you need to keep the camera – still.
- Turn off the flash. Use natural light whenever possible. Open curtains, turn on lights and take your photos with lots of light coming from indirect sources. In other words, don’t stand facing the sun to take a picture. One trick I use is to take my before shot on a cloudy overcast day and then make sure my after picture is taken on a beautiful, blue-sky day.
- Take away the stuff. Remove items off of counters, tables and off the floor. Think like a stager and take down the personal items that will distract from the work you have done. I take a photo when I first walk in so when I take away all the nick nacks, I know where to put them back. If it is an exterior photo, roll up the garden hose, put away the kids bikes and take the cars out of the driveway.
- Take your before and after shots from the same place. It’s hard to get the full impression of a before and after paint job if you take them from different locations. But…
- Keep before and after shots off your home page. Your homepage is likely your most visited page on your site and pretty matters here the most. Keep the ugly before shots for a special section on your website so that no one mistakenly takes your before shot as an example of your work.
It takes time to build a good inventory of good photos of your work and not every job is going to be photo worthy. Resist the temptation to load your gallery or website with lots of mediocre photos. It won’t help sell your work. Learn how to use your camera, make sure you carry it with you and take lots of photos.