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 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
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
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
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,
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,
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
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
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
Jesse: That you tell people through this. What Facebook is it?
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
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,
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
Jesse: Sure, and direct it a little bit, set it up, yeah.
Matt: Yeah. But I mean, my passion, that’s real for me, and I’ve been on some of these shoots
where there’s been photographers or videographers along that you could quickly tell
this was not their deal. They might be really good photographers or videographers, but
they were not completely at home. That’s home for me, so for me to be standing waistdeep in the water,
or knee-deep in a pasture of manure, shooting-
Jesse: Face to face with a lion.
Matt: Yeah, face to face with a lion. Those are things that fuel me and are exciting to me, so I
think the images then show that. I hope they show that, that this is authentic to my life
and it’s something that I feel like I know what I’m trying to capture, I know because this
is real for me.
Jesse: Right. I mean, I think that comes through in your work. Like I said, if people haven’t
checked you out, definitely get out there on Facebook and follow Matt, and you’ll see
how some of that comes through, and I think, kind of back to the whole point of you
being on the show, is that’s the kind of stuff you want to make sure comes through for
your business, if you’re trying to present your business in the best light possible. Always
try to be natural and truthful. Don’t try to be fake and be something you’re not,
because, speaking in the business world, especially with local service business, which is
who we try to help here, the truth is going to come out. You can’t try to be something
that you’re not. You can present yourself in the best light possible, direct it a little bit,
but you really can’t take something out of nothing and try to present it.
Matt: Yeah. I look around and I think, like most people, we have a discernment for what looks
good now and what doesn’t, and you see some businesses on websites or on social,
putting things out there that it’s just like, ugh. If you’re going to do it yourself … Which is
great. I mean, obviously, people can hire somebody like me to do their images, and
you’re paying for, ultimately, a good product, but like you’re leading a lot of your
listeners into, people can do their own stuff and do pretty well with it without having to
spend a tremendous amount of money. They just need a few things. I mean, you can do
it with a cell phone, for that matter, but there’s some parts to it that pay attention to if
you’re going to put this out to represent yourself.
Jesse: Maybe like us, for our show page, for example, we wanted some really good images that
captured us together. We need an expert for that. Now, if we’re going to just show
some widget or gidget, or the day to day life of something, yeah, we can do that
ourselves, but maybe sometimes you can’t do everything yourself and you got to bring
in an expert for very specific parts, but …
Bob: But if you’re passionate about auto repair or truck repair, the passion can drive the
creativity in that you can take your phone and you can show the line of the classic car,
or you could show the grease on your hands or whatever, the things that drive the
passion for that business. A photographer can do that, but like you were just saying
earlier, Matt, when there’s other photographers on the scene, and they’re not hunters,
let’s say, or they’re not farmers, they could do the job, to some extent, but it’s you that
understands the field of corn underneath your feet and some of that tactile stuff. By
taking that passion, you can do a lot with a little and just happen to, let’s say, what Matt
knows, and really take it 90% of the way there, so to speak.
Matt: I think what you’re saying … I think people so often try to capture everything in one
image. You talk about if you’re in the … You got a car or repair business, trying … The
stuff that speaks to me is when you can take an image, even with your phone, and make
sure it’s simple. It could be the grease on the hands, and just a simple closeup of that is
going to tell a story that is going to probably be more powerful than the whole car with
all of the tools, and the guy underneath, and all of this stuff, when really, something as
simple as the grease on your hands, or just showing that these hands are worn and-
Jesse: These hands work on cars.
Matt: Exactly. So, that would be … I mean, one of the huge tips that I would give people, if
you’re going to even do it with your phone, is don’t put too much in there and don’t
allow people to be distracted by things in the background and things happening all over
the place. Keep it simple, keep it focused, keep it tight, keep things in a place that allows
the viewer to look at it and just appreciate the simplicity of what they see.
Jesse: One of the things, speaking in terms of putting a website together too … Your example
of using the one image to kind of capture everything, that’s an ad, right. That’s a poster,
that’s not a website. You have room for multiple images and multiple pages, even. So, I
kind of like where you guys were going through the example, telling that story of
showing the elements and the parts that make it up instead of trying to do the whole …
Maybe you can do the whole with all the other things together there, but definitely, I
mean, we all have multiple services, our products that we’re trying to promote on our
website and make people aware of.
Jesse: It’s just kind of getting unique on those and getting down into those details that say
what makes us, what kind of builds that, and really, if you’re flipping through the pages,
what’s a picture for each part of the story, for each page of the story? That’s definitely
an interesting way to look at it, because I know I mess up. I’m guilty of probably that
other way, or I’m trying to capture the whole thing, get everything here as one photo,
Matt: Even when we did the shots with you guys here that you guys have used, I’m a lot more
interested in looking at just your microphone flags and just the closeups of that, and
that tells part of the story of what you guys are doing. Your logo, and the microphone,
and it’s not oh my gosh, we’re going to take a picture of the whole setting and we’re
going to show computers and all of these things at one time. Just wetting people’s
appetite with just the things that define whatever it is that you do, whether it’s doing a
podcast, or fixing cars, or you’re a fisherman, or whatever it might be. Let people’s mind
help to formulate the story by just showing them something simple, and like you’re
saying with the website, do that on different pages instead of trying to show it all at one
Jesse: Right. I mean, it’s important to have a good main image on the uncertain spots, but in
general, I mean, you’re going to want multiple images on pretty much every page. That’s
good to tell your story, it’s also good for SEO. You get multiple images in there. That’s
more chances to put keywords in your file names and your alt tags and all that kind of
stuff too. So, not going to get too technical on this one today. It’s more about the
techniques and the photography, but yeah, you want multiple images, so I think this is a
good kind of way to frame all that up, no pun intended.
Matt: Some people, the pictures they’re taking are a photo gallery for their Instagram feed
that’s … Here’s my kids and here’s the family vacation, and here … It shows every
picture from every monument that you stopped at. That’s great. That’s not necessarily
the stuff that’s going to define a brand or a company or people that are trying to run a
business, but they still tell a story, it’s just like hey, you want to come over and watch
my home movies with me? And it’s like …
Jesse: Watching my post cards and stuff.
Matt: Yeah, here comes some more. Or, Yellowstone pictures. But challenging yourself with
okay, if we are going to Yellowstone, what could I … If I had to take one picture or two
pictures that defined my experience in Yellowstone, what would they be? As a
photographer, that’s where you have to be able to think creatively a little bit instead of
just saying, “Hey, here’s a slideshow of 100 pictures, and enjoy.”
Jesse: Think I’m just saying that I’m kind of … In my head, I’m thinking about, if I were to see
some pictures, say, of Yellowstone … If I had to ask you, “Tell me what’s happening
here.” You know what I mean? That’s intriguing, versus having that reaction of huh?
Next picture, please. Oh, there’s your kids again, and things like that. If it’s intriguing, it
should almost invite you to ask more, want to explore more, and framing that back to
the website. You want to read more, click more, view more, call the company, get the
service there, kind of reinforce that brand.
Matt: Think about, especially, some of the fishing clients that I work with. It’s like, how many
big fish pictures do you really want? I mean, we love … the person that was in the photo
really loves that big fish they caught, but is your website, or wherever you’re sharing this
to have 25 big fish pictures, is that really going to sell the person more than one big fish
picture that was taken really well? You probably don’t need all those-
Jesse: You’ve already communicated the big fish.
Jesse: So, what else is part of it?
Matt: So, there’s a lot more that goes to defining your business than look at all these big fish.
We can go down to the local sporting goods store and look at the bulletin board and see
everybody with their big fish, if you want.
Jesse: Which is almost the same picture for everybody too.
Matt: Yep. Exactly.
Jesse: Which, that doesn’t really resonate, and so on and so on. But let’s get into some … I
want to ask you some questions just about your best practices and the advice you can
give to people. All right, we’re going to pause it right there. Hopefully, you guys are
enjoying this. We’ve had some great stories and great tips from Matt already. Next
week, for part two of the episode, we’re going to get even deeper into some question
and answer, and Matt’s got some pretty good tips coming up for, again, how to just tell
better stories with your pictures, how to take better pictures, and really get creative
with it. So, he knows what he’s talking about. Tune in next week and check that out.
You’re really going to enjoy that. Going to get into our five-star review of the week here.
Jesse: This week, we have a great five-star review left from Olga Wharton. Olga says, “I have
accidentally stumbled on this company’s podcast and immediate saved it. Within a
week, I went back to listen to every single episode. It was informative, clear, and well
prepared. The topics discussed were right on target for my business. I like how they
were detailed and how they explained everything. They spoke on very technical topics
with a very human approach. It was easy to understand and follow them. I have ended
up implementing some of the strategies they have advised, and I’m excited to see the
results. I’m also happy that this company focuses on building relationships with its
customers. I will always recommend them and will refer everyone I know.”
Jesse: Olga, thanks for the kind words. As she’s referring to in there, we do build relationships.
We’ve actually talked with Olga offline, we’ve traded some emails and some phone calls,
and yeah, we’ve given her some tips. She reached out to us with any questions, just like
we tell everybody. You can find us at intrycks.com/show. If you need some help, if
you’re stuck with anything, if you want us to explain something even further, kind of
help you out, we’re here for you. This is what we do. We have local businesses here that
we operate, and we use these tactics on our businesses. We help our customers with
their businesses to do the same.
Jesse: So, when we say this, we really do mean it, and Olga, again, thanks for the great
five-star review, and thanks for having that come through and be transparent to share it
with everybody. We really appreciate that. So, you guys can reach us at
intrycks.com/show, and if you want to leave us a review on iTunes, we’d really
appreciate that. Like we keep saying, it helps us know we’re on the right track, lets us
know if we’re bringing value to you and if we’re doing a good job. So, if you can do that,
we’d love to see that. Intrycks.com/iTunes. You’re going to find a real quick link to
iTunes and a real quick tutorial on how to get that done. Appreciate that. Hopefully, you
guys enjoyed this episode. Again, stay tuned for next week for part two with Matt, and I
hope you enjoy. Have a great week.
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