This article covers your image as it relates to your business.
First, I'd like to differentiate between image as a photograph of you and your "image" as it relates to public relations. I use the same word here but intend it in one of the two ways, so keep that in mind as you read.
Your image is everything in business. You can have a fantastic product or service but if it is represented by a bad image, missing image or even a sub-par image, you are short changing yourself and potentially turning away clients.
We live in a time when (PR) image is king. Yes, a great service or product will get you the word of mouth referrals, but you shoot your credibility with bad images, to a greater or lesser degree.
To me, a good image is something that freely flows into my mind with some impact - meaning it was done well enough that I admire or remember it. A good image also communicates a message, whether it's such qualities as friendliness, professionalism, wisdom, and so forth.
As a photographer I tend to critique (in my mind) other people's images, whether it is something I've seen on Facebook or a professionally done website, a magazine advertisement, at a bus stop, billboard and just about any place you see images these days.
Let's look at it in another light, imagine a good image like Feng Shui as Feng Shui relates to the placement of furniture in a home or even the home's design. You've been in a home where everything seems to be in the right place and it just flows nicely. There are no oddities or aberrations as you easily move through the house from one place to another. Your attention doesn't stick.
The same with a good image. It flows easily into you, yet it has impact. An image that flows yet has impact will have defined exactly what the subject of the photo is without any confusing messages or undone details that distract the viewer. If you're the boss or leader of a division, let's say it's as simple as the photograph being well-lit and in the correct environment, however staged, to be neat, clean and with minimal distraction while showing you in your element. Or it's simply a well-done head shot.
The point is, when someone goes to your website the first thing their eyes see is an image (or some other visual aspect such as a catchy logo). It's just the way we are. We look at the image first, then we start reading. That image is our first impression and it sort of puts us, however instantly and briefly, into that slight frame of mind about you, good or bad, professional or amateur and then we receive the words. And mentally, images are a sort of instant reality for a person.
You've heard that a "picture is worth a thousand words" ? Well you are putting forth a thousand words worth of who you are by that first impression, with your image when viewed by your public.
You go around on the internet and check out some of the high end companies and see what they all have in common. Most, probably all, have good photography in their arsenal. As a small business, it is even more crucial for you to win the public relations war with your competitors and besides having a good service or product, often your image and your company's image are the thing that instills the most confidence from a buyer's perspective.
When I buy things online I typically do two things. I look at their imagery which gives me a hint about who I am dealing with. For example, you can go onto Ebay and look at various types of clothing for sale. It's obvious some people took the photos themselves and they look like the clothes just came out of a closet, when they are being advertised as tomorrow's fashions fresh off the press (literally). On the flip side, other people have great images with hired models to model the clothing, and the photos are great. They sell the product.
Same, when I want to know about a company, I look for photo's of the Boards of Directors or CEO or other important people and look at their image. An image has a lot of power.
The second thing I do is look for word of mouth, testimonials, sometimes I hit up resellerratings.com, yelp or some of the other places and make a decision. But my mindset has already been biased by the imagery to a greater degree.
So let's recap some of the pluses of great imagery for your company and of YOU.
Ok so let's take a look at what bad images do for you.
Don't underestimate the value and role that good photography plays in your business. Whether you are in the market for product photography, advertising or images of the staff, make sure that your photographer can produce a high quality product.
You've invested many thousands of dollars and hours into making your business, don't let it be represented by poor images.