I work with small businesses every day to provide guidance and wave my magical pen to create their web and print assets look professional and help increase sales. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that images you use in your design can do two things: 1) enhance the user experience and educate 2) disrupt it. A photo is a key element in visual communication and all the design and marketing talent you hire to create your brand message will do no good on your customer’s purchase decision if you use the wrong photography.

Businessman in wheat field with briefcase and balloons

This guy is definitely happy, but the context of this stock photo is also a wee bit strange. (Source: Hubspot)

How many business sites have you visited that use the same humdrum photo of “business professionals” looking “happy” sitting in a “business meeting” or that generic shot of two suits “shaking hands”? Stock photography sites have come a long way, but let me warn you – these sites are still full of bad and generic concepts.

The changes being made by every major social media network – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the shift to responsive design all emphasize the power effective photography and imagery have on the performance of posts and clicks and how people read a web page. Think about the power a great photo can have on the senses, feeling, and emotion of a viewer.

  • Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
  • 46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies.
    (Source: Hubspot)

So what to do when you are a small business with a limited budget?

  • One idea is to invest in a library of photography that you can easily repurpose for various uses. Start small and build your library as your budget grows. Having a library that designers can work with will save on their production time and your wallet.
  • Use natural light photography. It can be much easier and less expensive to produce as you need less equipment. Also, the look of the natural light might work better for your brand. It also gives a photo a very personal and creative touch.
  • Work with a local photographer. Usually, local photographers are willing to help out small businesses and you do not have to pay travel expenses.
  • If you are under time constraints or a start-up with tight purse strings, the video below contains some GREAT tips for DIY Product Photography. This is when you need a basic product still shot. You can also purchase a basic lighting kit online or at your local photography store.


Written by Amie