Websites and social media have made marketing more visual than ever. A strong hero image can make a small company’s simple one-page website look better than more complex corporate sites. Your professional LinkedIn page makes a more powerful impression if you have an engaging photo. Everyone looks more successful with a better picture.

This is good news for photographers, but it’s also a double-edge sword because the digital world has turned everyone into photographers.

Many firms are handling their organic social media programs with in-house images, but it’s wise to dedicate a budget for strategic photoshoots for showcase applications. And by all means, if you’re doing a print ad, plan to do a full-on photo shoot. As good as your point-and-shoot may be, you’ll be hard pressed to get the resolution and ultra-sharp focus that a professional photographer can deliver. Our photographers work as a team with our designers to make sure the shots work the applications.

There’s more to it than technical expertise and equipment. A professional photo shoot for a simple composition—see the DLM Builders ad below—can take a couple of hours, because good photographers and art directors are not easily satisfied and like to keep looking for THE perfect exposure, expression and mood. Spring for a stylist, too, if you can. Light make-up makes a huge difference.

The quoted price for photography can sound high at first, but when you watch a creative team do its job, you quickly see the value. Then there’s post production. These days we spend as much time curating and editing the hundreds of exposures as we spend on the set.

It really is a treat to get a great photo for yourself and your brand. It’s like getting the perfect haircut! And we all know how good that feels.

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Murphy Townsend is an attorney who needed a simple website to launch his new practice. We met him with photographer Jon Black on a crisp spring morning in Center City Park and got the ideal hero image to fit perfectly with the design of his home page.

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David and Leslie Millsaps, the D, L and M of DLM Builders wanted an ad to celebrate their 25th year in business. They also wanted to make an impression as friendly people who are fun to work with and have an affinity for improving the home you already have. Photographer Julie Knight was our go-to shooter for this mostly natural light shot one evening in front of the Millsaps’ historic home in College Hill.

Julie teamed up with us and also shot the featured image at the top, of Dr. Lily Kelly-Radford in the Greensboro Public Library. Lily is a psychologist and adjunct professor of leadership. Her photo became a slider image on her firm’s site, as well as a unique headshot (with a little cropping) to be used with press kits an bylined articles.