our business website is your digital storefront, and first impressions matter more than ever. To make a lasting impact and set yourself apart from the competition, you will need to implement a holistic approach to your digital marketing. One of the biggest factors in converting your prospects, besides what's read is what's seen and that's where your images come in.
Sure, you can do it yourself on a camera you bought on the company's dime, but let's face it, there's a big difference between what you can do yourself and what a professional photographer can.
In this post, we'll explore 15 compelling reasons why your business website can benefit immensely from professional photography and I'm going to show you that using photos I took for a thai restaurant in Ambleside as an example.
A bit of context for our example
Doi Intanon is a family owned restaurant in the centre of Ambleside, Cumbria. In recent years the day to day management of the business has been passed down to family member, Kim, who has been keen to modernise the business and maintain its position as the finest Thai restaurant around.
One of the first things he decided to do was to update the restaurant's website. Kim knew he wanted it to be a signal to his customers his restaurant was staying current with the market and remained the finest thai restaurant around.
He'd already employed the services of a web design agency and they'd put together the wireframe for the finished website. This was the starting point from where we started working together.
What Kim was keen to understand was ultimately where the benefit comes from hiring a professional photographer. He knew it was the right thing to do but wasn't sure how to justify the expense. This is a good question which most people want to know.
In a world where everyone and his dog now has an Instagram account, it has become more and more important for professional photographers to demonstrate value.
And there absolutely is value to be had by hiring a professional photographer and I'm going to show you what.
See the final result of Kim's new website by visiting it here (open's a new tab)
Image types for a restaurant
When you think of a restaurant's website there are a few types of images which you'd typically expect to find.
- Photos of food - obviously,
- perhaps some showing the restaurant itself and
- possibly something to show you there's a good atmosphere.
Anything else? If you're not in the restaurant business but in another industry providing a service, your people are just as important as the product or service on sale. So, you'll probably also be keen to see portraits too.
So here are the tips... this is where the value comes in.
1. Professional photography will boost engagement, enquiries and conversions
The two priority objectives for modernising Doi Intanon's website were to increase bookings for their restaurant and increase takeaway orders. Both rely heavily on the food doing the talking. Now, I don't know about you, but I can't get excited about food by reading about it, it's got to be seen. Great photos will entice visitors, boost menu engagement, and tell a story that tantalizes their taste buds.
- Appetizing food photos drive curiosity and cravings. It's highly emotive, it brings back memories and encourages long journeys just to try what's on offer.
- High-res images emphasize dish details and ingredients without the need for words.
- Quality images communicate the restaurant's commitment to excellence.
If your website sells a product, it's the same thing. The product is the hero of the website and showing it as well as possible will give the same results.
2. Professional photography will showcase your authentic flavors
Your website is more than being just a digital location location online for your customers to identify, it has a job to do. The job in this case is to get people through the door to eat. Showcasing the flavours and authenticity of this Thai restaurant is essential.
- Showcase the freshness and authenticity of ingredients.
- Highlight the visual appeal of Thai dishes, enticing potential diners.
- Offer a sneak peek into the flavors, building anticipation.
You can apply this to other industries too. Got a product, show the resources which goes into making it, it all builds excitement and anticipation. Provide a different type of service, offer insight into how you deliver it to your clients.
3. Professional photography will enhance your customer's lived experience
When it comes to services which are based around infrastructure, like restaurants, entertainment and hospitality etc, the environment people experience is all part of the magic which makes your business unique. In the case of Doi Intanon, they have lots of unique Thai artwork and wooden carvings in their restaurant to help transport visitors to Thailand when they step through the door. Abstracting their clients from normality helps give them a meal to remember and so doing it online before people set foot in the door sets the stage for this to happen.
Looking at it another way, if you could see internal photos of the exact room you'd stay in before you book a holiday, wouldn't it be better? Exactly. So why not do it..
- Elegant decor and ambiance photos seen online create an inviting dining experience.
- Attractive interior visuals encourage patrons to visit for the real experience which is particularly beneficial businesses with a identifiable theme.
- Offering a range of internal and external images are also highly informative for website visitors. 'Ah that's the place' or 'Ooh that looks great!'.
4. Professional photography will help build relationships with your customers
Behind every successful restaurant, there's a team that adds a personal touch to your dining experience. Team portraits create a human connection, allowing visitors to meet the faces behind the magic.
Doi Intanon is a family owned business. It's what differentiates them from their nearest direct competitors - as well as having better tasting food! When their customers return to their restaurant it's for these factors: the people and the food.
Professional photography helps to capture the personalities and the expertise that goes into the business. In the case of Doi Intanon, it is those people who make the food and provide the friendly and professional service.
- Humanize the restaurant with friendly and welcoming staff photos.
- Showcase the expertise and dedication of the front and rear of house teams.
- Establish a personal connection between the restaurant and its customers.
- Use portraits to share stories of how the business was formed, why it was formed and who was instrumental in doing so.
5. Professional photography helps you tell your most important stories
Every restaurant has a unique journey and culture, and editorial-style photos are your storytelling companions. They narrate the rich history and culture of the cuisine.
- Create a visual story that conveys the heritage and inspiration of the cuisine.
- Share behind-the-scenes moments, conveying authenticity and transparency.
- Capture the essence of Thai culture and traditions through imagery.
6. Professional photography helps showcase customer satisfaction
Once traffic has landing on your website you want to keep them there and move them through your marketing funnel. You've achieved the 'Desire' phase, it's now time to convert them into customers. What better way to build trust than by displaying social proof? Sure, testimonials are a great addition to your website, but this goes hand in hand with great images of satisfied customers. Happy diners enjoying the food, the place and the service. It's a testament to your restaurant's commitment to customer satisfaction and the happiness it delivers.
- Positive customer photos establish social proof and credibility.
- Encourage online reviews by showcasing patrons enjoying their experience.
- Highlight the restaurant's commitment to customer satisfaction and happiness.
7. Professional photography helps with your website's Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Your website's visibility in search engines is crucial. Professionally captured images increase user engagement and time spent on your site, which is a boost for SEO.
- High-quality visuals reduce bounce rates, signaling quality to search engines.
- Optimized images load quickly, improving mobile performance and SEO.
- Correctly formatted photos work on all devices and are not blurry.
- Well optimized images feature highly in search results and help drive traffic.
- Use alt text and captions to further enhance image SEO and accessibility.
8. Professional photography provides timeless versatility
Unless you're asking for just one or two advertising images, you'll typically get a batch of images from the same shoot. This gives you options for how and where you can show them. You'll also, typically, have enough to fill out your website and with a few left over giving you the flexibility to use the your images elsewhere within your business without having too much repetition on your social feeds etc.
The image content is also likely to achieve more than one marketing goal too. Take the image below as an example. You could use this quite easily in the main body of a web page but equally as a hero image when combined with an on-brand coloured, low opacity overlay.
Professional images can be your marketing assets for years. They can be used across various marketing channels, saving time and costs.
- Extend the value of photos by using them in print, social media, and ads.
- Reduce the need for frequent photo shoots and save on marketing expenses.
- Maintain a consistent brand image across all marketing and advertising.
9. Professional photography helps build social media allure
Continuing on from point #8, having options is always a good thing in business. Paying for something once and being able to use it in a range of ways is just as appealing.
Your website shouldn't be the only place your photos shine. Share captivating visuals on social media for increased online presence without additional expense.
- Increase social media engagement with eye-catching photos and stories.
- Attract a wider online audience by using trending hashtags and captions.
- Build an active and dedicated social media following with stunning imagery.
- Convert social media followers into customers using engaging images to promote interest in your products or services.
10. Professional photography improves user engagement
Have you ever landed on a website which just looked terrible? I can't imagine you stayed around for too long, however, that's not the only reason a website works/doesn't work. An aesthetic design should not be the primary goal for your business website, high optimisation should be - else, what's the point having it? But, aesthetics help keep a website visitor on the page and it does this by giving the visitor's eyes entertained. Attractive things boost engaging because the brain wants to look at it - ever come across someone you fancied and couldn't take your eyes of them? It's the same thing. So by hiring a professional photographer to take attractive photos you're boosting your website engagement too.
Engaging visuals encourage visitors to explore your website, reducing bounce rates and increasing the time spent on your site.
- Keep users on the site longer with visually appealing and informative content.
- Captivating images create a seamless user journey and draw visitors in.
- Increase page views and interactions with interactive, compelling images.
11. Professional photography is a credibility enhancement
This was Kim's #1 reason for employing a photographer. He wanted to demonstrate to his website visitors he cares about how his business looks which in turn says to his customers he cares about his food and service. People want to feel important and this is the best way to do it from a distance.
Using the best services you can to enhance how your business looks gives a huge credibility boost for what you customers will think of the business too. Kim knew that great images offered a greater benefit than being nice to look at, their presence on his new website showed he was building it for them.
- Professional images convey a sense of care, trustworthiness and competence.
- Elevate your restaurant's online image, increasing its appeal to potential diners.
- Ensure a visually consistent and credible online presence for your business.
12. Professional photography will highlight special features
Your business has unique aspects that set it apart from competitors, whether you're in the restaurant business or not. Emphasize these distinctive features through captivating images.
- Emphasize special features that set your restaurant apart from competitors.
- Make an impact with creative presentation, enhancing their lived experience.
- Capture the essence of the dining experience with special ambiance photos.
- Create intrigue and curiosity by revealing distinctive, eye-catching elements.
13. Professional photography will give your business a local SEO advantage
If you've got a premises where your customers come in to make their purchases then you'll probably have a local market you want to grow. Don't underestimate the power of local SEO. Quality images of your restaurant's location can significantly enhance your local search engine rankings while showcasing higher quality imagery than you local competitors will draw more clicks than your competitors get, signalling to the search algorithms that your business satisfies their search terms better than they do. Funnily enough, the more this happens the higher your website will rank for these terms.
- Boost local SEO rankings by featuring high-quality images of your restaurant.
- Increase visibility in local search results, attracting nearby customers.
- Draw attention from potential diners looking for dining options in the area.
14. Relatable Team Presence
Your team is an integral part of your restaurant's identity. Team portraits add a personal touch, making your restaurant more relatable to visitors.
- Humanize your restaurant by introducing the team and their expertise.
- Create a sense of trust and familiarity by showing the faces behind the brand.
- Build connections with patrons through the friendly and welcoming team images.
BONUS TIP: Professional photography will promote an emotional connection
Photos evoke emotions, forging a personal connection between visitors and your brand. This connection is the key to a loyal customer base and every business wants that
- Trigger sensory and emotional reactions through captivating imagery.
- Create a bond between your restaurant and its customers through visuals.
- Convey the warmth and hospitality of the Thai dining experience through images.
In a world driven by visual content, professional photography is not just an option; it's a necessity. The case study of our Thai restaurant illustrates how these 15 reasons can revolutionize your business's online presence. Make the investment in professional photography today and watch your website become a visual masterpiece that captivates, engages, and converts visitors into loyal customers.