At Black Nova Designs we work on websites for clients working across multiple industries, from florists and fitness experts to rural surveyors and riding schools. We’re proud of the way our websites help our clients’ businesses stand out in their field with a beautiful, functional and unique design. However recently a flurry of work in the equestrian sector made us realise once again how important strong, creative imagery is. We blogged back in November last year about why high-quality images are essential for your website, but what happens when you’re working in a crowded space? You need to do everything you can to stand out.
We love working on websites which have anything to do with horses – both Black Nova’s Director Danielle and our Junior Website Admin Sasha are keen equestrians, spending their spare time riding and caring for their horses. Their expertise and contacts have helped us attract work from equestrian businesses. From there we are lucky to have forged an excellent reputation in the sector for our work, which means we are attracting more leads and web design jobs from businesses related to equestrianism.
But that success has highlighted a small issue which we wanted to flag up to owners of equestrian businesses looking to grow their brand. The problem we are finding is that a lot of the images we receive are very similar in content and style. We have lost count of how many images of a horse going over a jump we have! They might be beautiful images, but they often don’t stand out enough. If everyone is using the same style of photography, we run the risk of the websites themselves having a similar look and feel, even if the designs are quite different. So, what can you do to make sure your images, and therefore your website, stand out from the crowd?
Think of photography as an extension of your brand. When you design your branding, you wouldn’t ask a graphic designer to copy your closest competitor’s logo and colour scheme. You would draw inspiration from the qualities and characteristics your brand represents, perhaps adding in colours which evoke the emotional response you desire – trustworthy, calm, exciting or energetic. So, if you’re keen for your website (and social media, leaflets, posters – anywhere else you might use those images) to be eye-catching and truly representative of your brand, why not apply the same principles to your photography?
Now it’s unlikely that you’re going to be the one taking the images, so your next job will be to find a photographer who understands everything we’ve just said. Even if they spend most of their time (when we aren’t living with a global pandemic) taking image after image of the same show jumping and cross-country fences at local competitions, chat to them about taking a totally different approach with you. Tell them about your brand, why you’ve started it and where you hope it will take you. Share your branding with them and let them ask questions too. Ideally you need them to have the creativity and imagination to embrace what you’re asking for and to come up with some fun ideas to add into the mix.
If you’re breeding show jumpers or event horses, then naturally you will want images of them jumping fences… but can you mix in interesting angles and close-ups with the wider shots? If your brand has a fun or quirky personality, can you commission images which back that up? Instead of headshots of your staff looking very corporate, what about them laughing, smiling and looking open and approachable. Perhaps one of your USPs is that you excel at teaching very nervous people to love their riding? If that’s the case, make sure you have photos showing people who are relaxed, calm and happy to be in the saddle. Building a good working relationship with your photographer where you tell them about your brand, and they can use their creativity and imagination will lend your images a truly unique feel.
Every image you choose to have on your website will play a huge role in how people perceive you and your business when they visit it. That’s why it’s important that your images are unique, representative of your brand and nice to look at. A good photographer (we highly recommend Jasmine Punter for her creativity and versatility!) will be an excellent asset and, once they know your brand, you can use them for other marketing shoots in the future too. It’s just one step towards ensuring your website helps your business grow and prosper, but it’s a really important one! If you would like to pick our brains about images and any other aspects of website design, make sure you drop us a line.