Your job photos say more about the value of hiring your business than the words on your landscaping company website. Those images don’t change how important excellent text is, but do underline your company’s quality of work with huge emphasis. You will need a lot of them, not just in a portfolio gallery, but as the main graphic interest on every page.
Pictures may say a thousand words, but yours also need to look like a million bucks. If you’re going to court clients who have $30,000 to spend on an outdoor living space, present your company’s capabilities accordingly. You need high quality images, taken without tools and debris, and hopefully after the patio furniture is in place. It’s like staging a house up for sale. Allow the customer to picture themselves enjoying that space.
Always take your landscaping photos early in the morning when the light is friendly to the subject. The closer it gets to noon, the more glare and bleaching you’ll have. A cloudy day will stop sunlight bleaching and glare all together. If it’s windy, plants in the photo will blur a lot, so pay attention to weather forecast wind speeds before scheduling your photo-op. A large, crisp image is a must for a starting point, because the the web designer or site manager has to compress the image to keep page load speeds fast. Doing that with an already lesser quality photo makes them quite blurry and pixelated.
Take a bunch of photos, several from every angle – both closeups and wide view. Always take your portfolio pictures in landscape orientation, not portrait. What does that mean? Never hold your phone or tablet straight up! Hold it sideways and stand back to allow foreground, so the focal point isn’t lost in cropping to fit the image space. Remember, computer screens are wider than they are tall, so large image view is less possible with portrait orientation than it is with landscape. And on narrow mobile screens the ability to view landscaping websites sideways makes it even more important. Something you’ve probably already witnessed as you surf the internet… wide photos give the viewer a better idea of details than those taken at a portrait angle.
Check the photos before leaving the property! You want to make sure you have several photos that aren’t blurry, your thumb isn’t in the picture, and nothing you didn’t notice earlier messed up the shots. It’s helpful to have a laptop to check them at a larger size than is possible in your phone or iPad. Many a photo that looks lovely on your mobile phone or tablet is not so great when seen on your laptop or desktop monitor, and even that is a “small” screen. Keep in mind that people will see this image on screens as large as a 60″ TV. UHD televisions have replaced computer monitors for many, and this segment will continue to grow. It’s not just gamers. Huge screens make working easier for designers, architects, investors, and more professions. And then there’s video and movie streaming.
Cheap cell phones and tablets are not good cameras for marketing photos. Either invest in a device with an excellent camera, or hire someone to photograph the finished job. It’s not necessary to hire a professional photographer, though they will produce magazine quality shots every time. Try checking out local high school or college art departments there is likely a photography teacher who can point you to students that do excellent work. You might also find there is a photography club in your area, another great source of talented, amateur photographers. All of these photographers will have a great camera.
One last word of advice, invest in a tripod. They aren’t all expensive. Best Buy has great prices on tripods for both mobile devices and digital cameras, some priced as low as $14. Even a short one, designed to sit on a table will work if you improvise on-site. A patio table, retaining wall, and even the client’s garbage can will work. And speaking or garbage cans – get them out of your shot, along with hoses, the newspaper, and even the alarm company sign. They detract from the beauty of a place.
I hope you take these tips to heart, because the day of the tiny website image is long gone. Make your landscaping company website portfolio and other pages look luxe and polished. It’s in your best interests as a brand and a professional.