Impact of Photography
Clubessential creates several hundred new or redesigned websites every year. We've developed tools, such as our "Implementation Console," and a well organized process to create fully custom designs that match the branding of each club in a timely manner.
However, one common roadblock to a quick completion is the lack of adequate professional photography. The quality of the design of a website depends on many factors which change with time, but one unchanging requirement for a beautiful website is excellent professional photography. You may not need a redesigned website today, but today is the time to start gathering signature photos for that inevitable redesign in the future.
The best professional photo shoots don't take place on a rush basis in the middle of a website design. The weather, for one thing, may not cooperate. How do you get a shot of the clubhouse during a delightful sunset if it's January? Another problem with rushed photography is the level of cooperation from your members. You will undoubtedly want them in some of the photos, but in order to get them in the right mood and the right clothes, you will need to wait for certain signature events.
Strategic Photography Plan
The way to capture a collection of signature photos is to enter into a relationship, perhaps on retainer, with a local professional photographer to capture key photos throughout the year. Schedule them to attend key events and ask them to watch the weather to find that perfect day to make a shoot. Build a library of high resolution photos on:
Grounds, facilities, amenities. Be sure to include daytime, evening, night shots and, of course, sunsets. You should also encourage your photographer to take both interior and exterior photos of your club amenities, which will ensure that your photo collection will complement the public and the private portions of your website.
Historical items, especially those that might play a part in the club branding, such as wall paintings, plaques, trophies, door knobs, statues, embossed or embroidered items (take close up shots that may work as textures in your marketing and website designs).
Unique architectural elements, such as signage, structural/building materials, carpet, wallpaper, stone, brick, wood, and signature marble. One technical hint: websites are viewed on flat monitors, so texture shots should be captured "straight on" so they can be viewed properly on a flat screen.
Signature events. It is of course always a good idea to have someone taking casual photos of key events and then posting them on the website. But it is also a good idea to have a professional photographer capture candid lifestyle shots at several events a year. These high resolution shots can be used for years, not only for the website design, but for other kinds of marketing materials. As you grow your event photo collection throughout the calendar year, you'll then have a comprehensive library to promote your events the following year.
Staff. Don't forget to capture professional candid shots of your staff. Don't line everyone up for a mug shot – let the photographer decide when and where to shoot. The right photo will make a good impression on the membership and help them become more engaged with the club because they remember all the staff.
The Strategic Photography Plan does not need to be extensive or expensive – it just needs to be ongoing so that, over time, you develop and maintain a complete set of professional high resolution shots to use.