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How to stage a photoshoot for the web

by | April 19, 2017

Recently we took a trip to the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve in Carmichael to do a photo shoot for their new website we created. We had a great experience and wanted to share some photography tips that not only help create a great website but that can be beneficial for all of your User Experience.

Not only will quality photos increase the appeal of your site but adding photos of your business helps with customer conversation. Let’s take a look at how you can use this to your advantage.

A group of children look at a snake at Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve

Staging Photos from your Website

What looks good on paper may not look as good online. Most photos on a website work best in a horizontal format unless you’re working on a photo gallery. They may like the one above be good potential for a header image but vertical photos on the other hand will have a more limited application. Even in the photo above while most of the kids are looking at the snake we still had one head that was cropped out of the picture and other people's legs in the background. So getting that perfect wide shot is challenging and often needs to be staged

Many websites have a banner or header across the top that is over 1000px wide but only 200 to 400px tall. This creates a challenge from an image standpoint since the subjects need to be spread out across the image. Many customers send us photos and once cropped people's heads are cutoff or you can’t see main subject of the photo. So knowing the size of your header before the shoot helps the photographer know how stage the photos.

For headers wide background shots also work well. These are often much easier to crop since there isn’t a single subject in the image. If your business can take photos of the office location worksite or sample work from a far it likely can be used as a header photo.

Take Photos with the Focal point of your images Off-center

Instead of images being centered on their subject photos for the web are often better when they subject is slightly to the right or the left in a photo. This provides the opportunity for text and/or content to be inserted into the unfocused space. Maybe websites “Hero shot” the image that first shows when you go to a website has text that overlays part of it. Too often on websites that text is difficult to read because it is overlaid on top of a busy image. Or there isn’t enough contrast in color between the text and the image. Or the focal point of the image is centered and there is no place to put the text.

By creating imagery where the focal point is on the left side or right side of the image that creates space to place text on a website. Also it helps to fade the part of the image the text is on so the text is easy to read and stands out.

Using Background Images to break up content sections on a website.

Some images can also be used as background images. It’s common to use images like this one as a scrollable background image occasionally applying a color filter to help it blend in. This allows for content sections to be spaced out. Often times we’ll have a quote or testimonial on top of a background image. The background image gives the website the uniqueness of each place or business but isn’t the focus point of the content for the website.

Benefits of a Photo Shoot for your User Experience

Especially if your website is older it’s very likely that it’s lacking in modern design and even quality of photography. A photo shoot is a chance to update your website with a more current representation of yourself and your company.


In the past few years the format of modern websites has become more similar and generalized. They are vertically scrollable with content that appears as you scroll interactive images background images with filters and a static navigation bar. That means your website needs something to stand out. One easy way to do this is to rather than using stock photos use original photos from your business. Since websites have many common features professional photos specifically for the web can make your site more unique and help you beat your competition.

The value a good photo shoot can bring to your website cannot be depreciated. The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words—when it comes to marketing your website it couldn’t be more true.

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