How To Take Better Photos For Your Website – Part 1
One area of your website that can have a huge impact on user experience is the photos (or videos) that you have on your web pages. Interesting and engaging photos can draw customers in, enhance your image, and tell the story of your brand. We’ve got Matt Addington – photography wizard – in to talk about this. In part 1 of this two part episode, Matt shares some tips and tricks on how to take better photos for your website, to help make your pages stand out from the crowd and resonate with your customers!
- Techniques on how to take better photos with your smartphone
- Why images, photos, and video are more important than ever for your brand identity
- How to stand out with photos taken from a unique perspective
- How photos and videos can be used to tell a story and be more engaging
- Focus on a simple and tight image and remove background clutter for powerful images
- Use multiple images on your page to tell a story, instead of one all inclusive photo
- Great photos on your website should invite users to read and view more content
- Don’t show the same type of image multiple times – be unique with each photo on your website
Thanks for Listening!
Here is a preview of the transcription from Episode 20 How To Take Better Photos For An Engaging Website With Matt Addington (Part 1);
Jesse: Hey, everyone, welcome back to Local SEO Tactics. Jesse Dolan here with Bob Brennan, as usual, and today we have a special guest, Matt Addington, a photographer extraordinaire. We’re going to kind of revisit back in episode six. We talked about some of the basic tips and tricks that you need to do to set up your own webpages and kind of build a good foundation for your website. Within that, we were talking about how to take photos and do your own photography. Sometimes it makes sense to use stock photography, sometimes it’s easier and actually more beneficial to just take your own photos.
Jesse: After episode six dropped, I was actually talking with Matt on the phone; he called me. I think you were in your truck, making fun of me for talking like I knew what I was talking about for how to take your own photos. Matt was sharing some good pointers with me, and I said, “We got to get you in for an episode.” Matt and I know each other personally. We live kind of close to each other, so we thought it would be really cool for him to come on in as soon as his schedule permitted and get him in to talk about that with you guys more, to help you out just to take some better photos and some videos too for your website.
Matt: You were soliciting guests. You guys were desperate to have a guest.
Bob: That’s right.
Matt: It was like, some random dude that lives in your neighborhood just happened to stop by and-
Bob: Hey, what are you doing? What are you doing tonight?
Jesse: That’s an easy target, let’s get him in here. But no, so we just wanted to kind of have a round table, and for us, for all of you listening, you know this is our first interview, so we’re just gonna kind of roll with it, talk a little bit about Matt, why he’s an expert. Matt also did, we should say, the intro for our show and all the graphics you see and the photos of Bob and I. Matt came in and took all that for us before we started the show. Really helped us out to kind of set off a good image, so not only do I know Matt personally, but he’s done work for us, so we can definitely testify that you know what you’re talking about, aside from your pedigree and your portfolio and all that. So, maybe let’s get into that real quick. How long have you been doing photography, professionally?
Matt: Well, I’ve been paying bills with it for about 10 years, I guess. Been taking pictures since I was a kid. I’ve kind of always been fascinated with it, and as an artist, I guess, photography’s sort of been the niche that I’ve fallen into. So, about 10 years, though, professionally.
Jesse: I know you do a lot of all kinds of photography, but particularly in the outdoors space. Some of the people … Let me pull it up here. Some of the people Matt’s worked with in the past … Doing projects for names like Rapala, we’ve got Lund, Pioneer, kind of a lot of the agriculture stuff too.
Matt: Just a lot of people. I mean, outdoors, hunting, fishing, agriculture, kind of one side of my world. Partnered with a lot of just … A lot of these companies, just on projects that I was on that they were sponsors with or involved with, providing images and kind of helping to tell their story. So, I’ve been pretty lucky to go some cool places with some cool people.
Jesse: I like how you were saying that earlier too, before we started recording, about, like you said, it’s all telling stories. Doesn’t matter if it’s … Whether it be outdoor, agriculture. You do some wedding photography too. It’s all just telling stories and capturing the moments for people, which we thought you did really good for us for our show, which was still in the very infant stages, but holy crap, that looked pretty professional and …
Matt: We live in a world now where we are looking at pictures more than ever and we are taking pictures more than ever, and I think the standard for any visual consumer, whether you’re looking at a podcast, or you’re out in a fishing boat in remote Canada, or you’re on a hunting trip, or you’re taking a wedding photo, people have a new standard because everybody’s kind of an expert now, walking around with a camera in their pocket all the time. So, the game of content has stepped up like never before, which is awesome for me, being in my business, that people are trusting me to represent their company, or their brand, or them as individuals, for that matter. So, it’s an exciting time, but it’s one that you need to make sure you’re providing the people that are consuming your product or just following you on a particular social media. The game is at a new standard, for sure.
Jesse: We said what, it’d be Facebook, Instagram, whatever, I mean, you’re flipping through the stuff. Obviously, we’re not talking about websites. You’re kind of going social, but you’re only stopping if, really, there’s a photo or a movie that’s auto-playing that grabs your interest. You’re usually reading the headlines of the text. It’s all about that image, and it starts the whole story.
Matt: For sure, and as a business, as a company, as a brand, those things are as important as ever. I mean, obviously, people are going to want to share their wedding photos, or their family photos, or the things that are happening, and they want those to look good, but if you are a brand, there’s an incredible amount of money being invested in having a certain imagine, having a certain look, having a certain identity through the images and video that are being put out there, which is … Like I said, it’s a new … There’s a new standard there.
Jesse: Now, speaking of new standard, I’m kind of transitioned to newer technology. We were talking earlier, you’ve been experimenting a lot with drone videography. How did you get into it? Just buy a drone, started messing around, or …
Matt: Together. It seems like everybody’s got one now, but it’s something that I kind of just dabbled with, I guess, going on four years ago now. In my images that I’ve tried to take for people and groups and companies, I’ve always tried to tell a story from a unique perspective that we’re not always seeing. We walk around at eye level between five and six feet most of the day, and that’s what people see, and for me, I’ve been successful trying to get my camera to places that people aren’t looking all the time. So, a drone was an obvious choice to get a camera to a pretty unique place. So, yeah, it’s been fun to see the world from a different perspective and to be able to capture photos and images and video from that place, and kind of tell the story from the air, which is kind of cool.
Jesse: That you tell people through this. What Facebook is it? Facebook.com/mattaddingtonphotography?
Matt: Right on, yep. That’d be my Facebook page.
Jesse: If you guys are out there, if you’re curious, or if photography’s your thing, or you just want to see some cool stuff, go follow Matt on Facebook. Matt is lucky enough to live in a pretty cool area, and so sometimes you do Facebook Live with your drone, that I’ve seen?
Jesse: Other times, just uploading pieces that he’s put together. I mean, sometimes you’re combining drone with traditional photography, or time lapse too. Just some stellar, stellar stuff, so even if you just want to check it out, get on this Facebook page there and give it a follow, even if you want to … Obviously, you’re fine with getting followers, right?
Matt: For sure, yep.
Jesse: But just some really cool images, and I was joking with my wife a few weeks ago … I was flipping through something. I forget what it was exactly, but it wasn’t on your page or something else, but it was a photo you took. I think it was for somebody in real estate. I was like, that looks like a Matt Addington photograph right there. Sure enough, it was, but that’s a testament to the style and how you capture it, with very unique-
Matt: Yeah. I think you try … I remember early in my career, I was trying to … What is my identity? What am I trying to look like? You see other photographers and pictures that you like, and you know that there’s a style. For whatever reason, I’ve maybe kind of settled into that a little bit, and my Facebook page is kind of a catch-all of … There might be a picture of a bride and a groom, and then the next picture is going to be a time lapse, and the next one is going to be a hunting image. So, Facebook has been, like I said, a catch-all. There’s a lot of stuff there, but it’s just all of these stories that somehow are related that I get to tell around the world, which is kind of cool.
Jesse: Let’s talk about some of your outdoor stuff, because that stuff, to me, is super cool. I mean, no offense to you or any photographer, but wedding photography, senior portraits, it’s kind of the standard home, right, if you’re in photography. Not everybody gets to travel all over the place and follow people on hunting excursions and lifetime excursions. You got any of those that stand out? Any cool places you’ve been recently?
Matt: Yeah. I have been in Africa the last three years, working with a school over there. Simba Educational Ministries is the group from America, so my travels through Africa have provided just a whole new story of what life looks like on a different side of the world with people that obviously look a lot different than us, talk different than us, live in a way that’s really different than us, but the story of joy and being able to see that they have everything that we are trying to gain. What’s next, and we got to find something that’s better, and we’re spinning our wheels doing that. They don’t have any of that, but they’ve got this contentment and joy. So, my travels through Africa have provided really cool insight to that whole life there, but also just the adventure of Africa is a place that, before I ever went, I had a friend that said there’s something innately interesting about Africa, that once it’s in you, you have a hard time letting go of it.
Matt: My last trip, I spent the night on the Maasai Mara in a tent in lion country, where they said, “Keep your tent zipped up, or you’re going to have monkeys in during the night.” I was face to face with a female lion and woke up the next morning with two male cheetahs within 15 feet of me, completely wild. So, I mean, there’s some cool adventures on that front. Those were not really for a brand or a company, per se, but just the adventure of being there. Been able to do some hunting and fishing trips kind of all over North America that have been pretty fun adventures, from Alaska to the reaches of Quebec to lots of times, in the Rockies, trying to tell stories for companies and brands that trusted me to capture images and video of, so …
Jesse: How do you do that? If I’m going elk hunting or something, or whatever, and I hire you to come along, whether it be for me, personally, or as a brand, to kind of capture … Is there a lot of setup on the front side? Like, here’s some things we’re looking for, or do you just kind of free wheel, and-
Matt: So much of what I … I would tell a bride and groom the same thing. Just capture the authenticity of what’s happening on a hunt. On a fishing trip, there are times that you do need to stage things and set things up. You try to just stay one step ahead of what’s happening and know that hey, that we’re going to have a sunset coming up. I’d really like to have a fish to photograph there, or … There are times where it’s a little bit scripted, but if you’re truly telling the story, I feel like I try to not have a crazy script to it and just be able to let things happen, even though sometimes you have to steer things a little bit.
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