We’ve blogged a few times about how important really strong images are for marketing and PR – and they really are! But a recent chat with Danielle from our amazing web design and IT friends Black Nova Designs made us realise there’s another perspective to consider. Images will have a huge impact on how successful the design of your equestrian business website is…

Black Nova, just like us here at TPPR, work on a lot of equestrian projects. Both Danielle and their Junior Website Admin Sasha are keen equestrians, spending their spare time riding and caring for their horses. Their contacts and expertise means Black Nova are ideally placed to help equestrian businesses with a new website. But a very busy start to 2021 (which is just epic!) highlighted a small but important issue. Standing out from the crowd.

They found that a lot of the images they were receiving were a little similar, both in content and style. Now there wasn’t anything wrong with the images in terms of quality and resolution, they just didn’t help the brand stand out. Danielle even remarked to us –

“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.”

And that is a little problematic. If you’re operating in a crowded space, you need to stand out. If everyone is using the same style of photography, there’s a risk of the websites themselves having a similar feel, even if the designs are quite different. So, what can you do to make sure your images will help your equestrian business website stand out from the crowd? Here are some top tips from Danielle at Black Nova Designs:

Think of images as part of your branding

Think of photography as an extension of your brand. You wouldn’t dream of ask a graphic designer to copy your closest competitor’s logo and colour scheme. But 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? Are you funny, quirky, calm, reassuring? That will help steer the images you need!

Research until you find the right photographer

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. More importantly a photographer who understands everything we’ve just said about branding and style! For an equestrian business, you’re likely to turn to a photographer working in that sector. So, even if they spend most of their time 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 they will have the creativity and imagination to embrace what you’re asking for. Even better is if they can come up with some fun ideas to add into the mix too! 

Make sure your shoot captures a wide variety of images

Let’s say you’re breeding show jumpers or event horses and that’s what your equestrian business website is for. Naturally, you will want images of them jumping fences… but can you mix in interesting angles and close-ups with the wider shots? If you are a service based brand, how can you inject personality? 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 so, make sure your photos show 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. 

The time and financial investment will make a difference!

This might sound like extra work, but it will offer a return. Every image you choose to have on your website will play a huge role in how people perceive you and your businesss. That’s why it’s important that your images are unique, representative of your brand and nice to look at. An excellent photographer (we highly recommend Jasmine Punter for her creativity and versatility!) will be an amazing asset. Once they know your brand and you trust them, you can use them for other marketing shoots in the future too. It’s one small step towards ensuring your website helps your business grow and prosper, but it’s a really important one.

If you would like to chat to Black Nova Designs about website design or any other IT subjects, just click here!