Photo Dos and Don’ts

October 2023 |

Choose website imagery to better engage clients and to reflect who you really are.

Many veterinary websites assert, “We offer compassionate care.” But are you showing that compassionate care through the images you select for your website?

“Your website needs to show rather than tell pet owners that you’re the right choice,” says Eric Garcia, IT expert, digital marketer and founder of Simply Done Tech Solutions. “The images that most veterinarians are using in their marketing do not engage people. We have an opportunity to improve here.”

Here are Garcia’s tips for what types of photos to use on your practice website, and which to avoid.

Do Show:

  • The human-animal bond. Show both people and pets in the majority of your images. “Most veterinary practices have too much of one or the other,” says Garcia. “Photos of just people or just pets don’t show the human-animal bond. I want to be able to see that relationship.” Show a veterinarian, technician or receptionist smiling while interacting with a pet.
  • Team culture. Show your people cheerfully working together as a unit. “You want to depict team members working together like a family,” says Garcia. “I want to see a receptionist and a technician together, looking happy.”
  • Compassion. Show your team members interacting with animals in caring moments that don’t feel posed. “I want to see and feel that you love doing what you do,” says Garcia.
  • Dogs and Cats. Aim for a balance of 50% pictures of dogs, and 50% of cats. “Cats are one of the most neglected species when it comes to marketing,” says Garcia.

Don’t Show:

  • Stock images. Images on your site should show your own practice and actual people who work there. “Don’t use licensed stock images with pretend doctors,” says Garcia. “That creates a broken brand promise.”
  • Pictures of your equipment. It’s common, Garcia says, for practices to have a photographer take a picture of their lab equipment or their pharmacy medications. But these don’t evoke emotion or depict who you are. “Pet owners don’t see those photos and think, ‘Wow, I cannot wait to come here!’” he says.
  • Surgery/needles/sharp implements. Don’t ever show animals being injected with needles or in surgery. These photos are likely to evoke fear, discomfort or disgust in most people. “That’s not what we want by any means,” says Garcia. If your surgery page needs an illustration, opt for a shot of a team member lovingly caring for an animal after a successful surgery.

“Imagery has power,” says Garcia. “So when you think about engaging pet owners and standing out from your competitors, make sure you’re choosing the right pictures.”