Do Better Photos Equal More Customers?
JRA’s Guide to Better Photos on Your Junk Removal Website
As a junk removal business owner, you’re used to doing a lot of heavy lifting. Shouldn’t your website lighten the load?? When it comes to converting website visitors into paying customers, great photography is crucial. By putting some time, money, and effort into getting the photos right at the beginning, you’ll be fine tuning your customer conversion engine to regularly bring you more jobs.
So how do you find the right photographer for the job? Should you hire a professional photographer or take the photos yourself? If taking them yourself, how do you make sure they’re high quality? In this article, we’ll answer those questions and more so you can start booking more junk removal jobs with the help of better photos.
Define Your Photography Needs
We’re mainly going to discuss taking photos for your website, but you could take your photoshoot to the next level by planning out photos for social media, print materials, and other places. Listing the photos you need will help you determine if this is a project you want to tackle or if you want to hire a professional photographer. Here’s a starting point that you can add to as you identify which pages and topics will be covered on your website.
Basic List Of Photos for a Junk Removal Website
3 Main Hero Image Examples
- Wide shot of a customer smiling while shaking employee’s hand
- Wide shot of an employee in uniform smiling in front of their clean junk removal truck
- Wide shot of an employee or two hauling something with smiling faces while a customer looks happy and relieved in the background.
Pro Tip: Make sure the photos have a little extra space around the subject to accommodate a browser being viewed full screen
Supporting Image Examples
- Over the shoulder of a customer looking at a smiling employee through an open door
- Employee and Customer smiling in front of a junk removal truck
- Owner with team in front of their junk removal truck
- Owner without their team in front of their junk removal truck
- Owner and employee inside cab of truck, smiling at the camera with window down
- Owner smiling in front of a house (owner should be about a third of the way into the shot from the side, leaving room for text beside them)
- Action photos of one or more employees working inside and/or outside (demolition, moving junk, etc.)
- Action photos of one or more employees loading truck
The Hero Image
The most important photo on your website is the first one people see when they land on your home page, which is called the hero image. Your hero image can help your client trust you as a professional who can solve their problem, or it can be a barrier to conversion. Think about your client and what they are looking for from a junk removal business. They want someone who is trustworthy since you’re probably entering their home. They want to feel comfortable with your ability to do a great job and respect their property. Smiling customers work well in the hero image because your customers relate to them. Your customer is the hero of their own story, and you are their guide to a clutter free home. They come to your website with a need, and a great hero image helps assure them you can solve that need. If you can do nothing else, make sure you have an excellent hero image.
Next, you’ll want to focus on the supporting images for everything under the hero image. It helps to know the topics and sections on your website so you can capture photos related to those sections. For example, if you have a section about demolition, you’ll want to have an image with a crew member performing some demolition work. We recommend taking an action shot of them performing the task and then a posed shot of them smiling with the tool for the job. Get a shot of the crew member with an authentic smile while they’re working to convey positivity to the client. Your clients don’t care to see how tough you are. That could actually end up scaring them away, so focus on conveying a positive ability to remove their junk and give them a Chick-Fil-A level experience. For a complete list of the shots, see below.
Take a look at 1-800-GOT-JUNK’s website. In their photos, the team members are professionally dressed in branding that matches the website, and they look happy to be doing what they’re doing. This is going to put your customers at ease and lead to more conversions.
Inner Page Hero Images
Once a website visitor has clicked from your home page onto an inner page, they are showing interest in what you have to offer. The home page hero image is the very first thing people see, but the inner page hero images (i.e. the photo at the top of a service areas page) are the first thing they see when they’re doing research about specifically what interests them. These images should blend the characteristics of the supporting images and the main page hero image. The image can be related to the topic of the page.
Pro Tip: Try to make the people being photographed as comfortable as possible so authenticity is conveyed in the pictures. You can ensure you get the best photos by hiring some local models who know how to make photos effortless.
Find a Photographer
Finding a photographer can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before, but have no fear! Like anything else, there are a lot of different options for you to pick from, but follow these simple steps to find a good fit for you.
Set A Budget
Set a budget for your photoshoot before you start searching. It will help to focus on the right group of photographers. The sweet spot for most junk removal businesses is between $750 and $1,500 for a basic photoshoot. If you’re going to hire models, you can expect about a $100-150 daily rate per person on the low end. You can find photographers for less than $750 if they’re just starting out, but the chances of them making a mistake are higher since they have less experience. You may save a few hundred dollars off the bill, but consider the time you and your team is investing into the shoot as well. We recommend paying towards the higher end of the sweet spot as an insurance policy against errors if you’re able to spring for it.
Google Local Photographers
You could find other local businesses with great photos on their website and ask them who they worked with as a starting point. You can also just go straight to Google. Start with a search for “commercial photographer” to find someone who has experience with businesses. They’ll likely have a bit more of an understanding of what a business needs over a wedding or family photographer. Visit their social media or portfolios to see if you like their style of photography. Look for photos similar to the ones on the basic list of photos for junk removal businesses we listed before.
Pro Tip: If you hire a photographer, your photos will look very similar to the photos in their portfolio, so make sure you like the style and look of the photos in their portfolio or social media.
Read the reviews on their Google Business Profile to see what experience other customers have had with them. The more reviews that are very close to 5 stars, the better. Take a few 1 star reviews with a grain of salt. Everyone has off days sometimes and not all clients have realistic expectations.
Select the Photographer You Want to Hire
Make a list of around 5 photographers that check your boxes and contact them about pricing and availability. When you contact them, consider their ability to communicate clearly and quickly. A photographer who responds in a timely manner and speaks clearly on the phone will likely be easier to work with. Also, consider how comfortable they make you feel in conversation. If you feel comfortable with them on the phone, they’ll probably make you and your employees feel comfortable in front of the camera. You could ask for an in person meeting with your finalists if you want to see how comfortable they make you in person, but that isn’t always necessary if you feel confident with them on the phone or over a video call.
If you want extra reassurance you’ve picked the right photographer, ask them to share a full shoot with you from a recent client similar to you. They may not have a junk removal client, but by viewing a full shoot from them, you’ll be able to see more of the types of photos they deliver since portfolios usually contain a small set of their absolute best work.
Figure Out The Details
Once you’ve found a photographer that you want to work with, make sure they have liability insurance to protect you on the day of the shoot. For example, if someone trips over their tripod or a light stand and breaks their arm, are you covered? If they have the right liability insurance, you will be. If they use a drone for their photos, make sure they are legally allowed to use their drone for commercial purposes. They should have a Part 107 license. That will allow for safe operation of the drone with reduced risk.
Contract and Photo Usage
Discuss the licensing terms for your new photographs. Some photographers will agree to let you use the photographs in any way you want, but some will charge for different usage, so make sure you’re clear on what you’re getting up front. Ask how many photographs you’ll get from the shoot. Will you get all of them? Will you be selecting a certain amount of photos? Make sure that you’ll get enough photos to cover your list from before so you don’t have to use the same photo twice on your website. The contract should at least include a timeline, the deliverables, and the price that you’ll pay so that you both agree on the expectations for the shoot.
Remember that investing in the best photographer you can find will help you generate more customers for your business. Ask the photographer how you can help make it the best photoshoot possible and block the time off your schedule. By committing to the shoot and being fully present, you’ll help create amazing photos that will serve your business for years to come. Competition for Junk Removal Companies is getting tougher. Professional photos on an SEO optimized website from Junk Removal Authority will help you build the successful business you want. A professional image is a key component to conveying trust to your customers and turning a partly full schedule into another truck and new team members.
Taking Junk Removal Photos By Yourself
Budget Friendly Website Photos
If you’re not ready to invest the money on a professional photographer just yet, you can take the photos by yourself or have a friend do it. Mobile phones have some pretty impressive specs when it comes to photography, so that’s definitely an option. You can also rent some better camera equipment for a couple hundred dollars if you’re familiar with how to operate a mirrorless camera or a dslr. Websites like www.borrowlenses.com or www.lensrentals.com have lots of options. You could also Google search for a local photography shop that rents equipment. If you go that route, they might be willing to give you a bit of a tutorial when you pick up the equipment. There is a tradeoff between the lower cost of doing it yourself and higher risk of something going wrong. A professional photographer will have everything planned out and should have backup equipment. If you take the time to block off your schedule, wash the trucks, and bring team members in for photos, you want to make sure the photos go smoothly. But if you’re not scared of a little risk taking, here are some tips on how to take excellent photos by yourself.
You can boost your professional image by making sure your trucks are clean for the shoot. Get new uniforms for the team if you need to. Make sure all of the dress code rules are followed if you have them so the team looks professional and presentable. Prepare your list of photos including where they will be shot and who will be in them and print it for the shoot. Group the photos by location and then by who is in the shot so you can save as much time as possible. On the day of the shoot, being prepared will help everyone feel at ease and reduce the amount of stress they might feel from being photographed.
Stage A Junk Removal Job
Think about your ideal customer and recreate that scenario. More than likely, they’re a middle aged to older female in a nice house with items to be removed. You’ll have more control over the shoot if you find a friend with a nice house and get someone you know to stand in as the ideal customer. The friendlier and more approachable the customer looks, the better. You want people to feel a sense of comfort from these photos, so people who smile naturally in the photos will help you get that message across.
Watch The Weather
If the weather looks like it’s going to be rainy and windy, reschedule the shoot. Cameras don’t lie and although you can help photos out by photoshopping them warmer on a cloudy day, you can’t send good vibes with a drenched employee. Light clouds can sometimes equal nice photos because clouds naturally diffuse the light from the sun, but darker cloudy days won’t convey the feeling of positivity and trust that you’re looking for.
Shoot At The Right Time Of Day
Shooting closer to sunrise or sunset will put you into the golden hour, which means less harsh shadows and more visually pleasing light on your subjects. If you have to shoot during the middle of the day, you can use a diffuser to make light more even on your subject, but that can get kind of tricky if you’re not used to it.
Here’s a comparison of an owner in front of his truck in the middle of the day versus a team captured in the morning. You can see the shadows are much harsher on the mid-day shot.
Double Check Your Photos At The Shoot
Nothing is worse than getting home after a shoot and realizing that your star employee had something in their teeth in every shot. Checking the photos twice as you go will take a little more time, but it will ensure a great product at the end of the day.
Frame Your Photos Using The Rule of Thirds
The simple way to make sure your photos look professionally composed is to use the rule of thirds when framing your shot. Put your subject in the left or right third of the image, which leaves more open space to the other third. You can put them in the center of some shots, but it’s especially important to put them a third of the way in for the hero images since they will likely have text over them.
Pro Tip: When using the rule of thirds, make sure your subject is looking into the open space of the image rather than looking away from it. A subject looking out of the frame when they’re close to the edge makes people uneasy.
Crank Up Your Camera Settings
Do a little bit of research on your specific device to find the highest resolution possible. You can always compress an image that’s captured at a higher resolution, but it’s much harder to reliably increase the resolution of your images without the help of software.
Whether you hire a professional or take the photos by yourself, investing time, money and energy into the best photos for your website will help your website convert more visitors and put more money into your pocket. If you’re a junk removal business owner looking for more ways to scale up your business, contact us today for your free business evaluation or click the button below to learn more about our digital marketing bundle.