We’ve seen it all before. The rock stack. The hands outstretched. Water lapping up on the shore. I’m talking about those classic stock photos you see on pretty much every therapy website.
You know the one…
And if you’re still reading this, it might be that you’re not into doing things like other therapists, counselors, or coaches. You understand that it’s possible to be a good therapist with a professional presence and to be a complete human with humor, creativity, and personality.
I’m here to tell you that you do not have to have the stock-photo-of-arrows-pointing-different-ways-symbolizing-indecision on your therapist website. We can do better!
So today, I’m talking you through how to choose photos for your therapist website. I’ll share some of my best resources for choosing and sourcing photos for your website and then how to resize and rename them to optimize your site.
Let’s get to it.
Why Do Photos Matter?
Photos are one of the most powerful ways to get a message across. The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, making it easier for your website visitors to get information about you and your practice. Using the right images on your website can help create an emotional connection with your audience, establish trust, and improve engagement.
Photos are particularly important for therapist websites because they can help create set the tone for what will become a professional relationship. Your potential clients want to feel like you’re someone who gets them before scheduling an appointment. By using appropriate images, you can create a website that reflects your therapeutic approach and values.
For example, if you specialize in trauma therapy, you might choose calming images – a foggy forest, snowcapped mountains, or a rocky coastline.
Choosing Photos for Your Therapist Website
Most modern website themes rely heavily on photos. Whether it’s full-width backgrounds or boxed headshots, you’ll definitely need a collection of photos to pull from when you DIY your therapist website.
Start by brainstorming a list of the feelings and emotions you want your website to convey. Do you want your website to feel more professional or playful? Calming or compelling? Once you have a clear idea of the emotions you want to come across, choosing your photos is a bit easier.
Your photos should align with your brand’s colors and style. If you’re a therapist who specializes in art therapy, for example, you might choose colorful and creative images that reflect your approach.
We recommend that therapists choose 10-12 photos before they sit down to make their website. It’s important to have a mix of wide shots and detail shots (more on that below)
Where to get photos for your therapist website
There are several places to get photos for your therapist website.
Plan a photoshoot. The obvious, and usually best, answer is to have a photoshoot for your website. This can be staged or candid images that capture the essence of your practice. This ensures your photos have a consistent feel across the website, and it takes a lot of time and energy out of hunting for images.
Find good stock photos. Stock photos are so much better than you think. While you might think of “family eating salad with a white background, child smiling” when you think of stock photos, sites like Unsplash and FreePik have free or low-cost images that are authentic and full of personality. Just be sure to check each image’s licensing and usage rights to ensure that you’re using them legally and ethically. To find stock photos for your therapist website, some keywords you might try are…
- Therapist, counselor, or coach
- Health, mental health, wellness, and wellbeing
- Emotion keywords like sad, happy, joyful, relaxed, uncertain
- Meditation, massage, bodywork, etc.
- Office, living room, bookshelf, candles, flowers, lamps
- Activities like hiking, yoga, friends hanging out, etc.
- City keywords like the name of your city, buildings, monuments, iconic details
You get the idea. Think not just photos of a therapist in a session, but a variety of photos that might paint a more holistic picture of what working with you is like.
What kinds of photos you need for your therapist website
So, yeah, of course it will vary based on which theme you choose. But I’ll give you a general idea of what you should plan for…
Illustrations or textures. Just because your theme has a space for a photo doesn’t necessarily mean you need to use one. You can also consider photos (of textures, abstract scenes), graphic design, or illustrations to create visual content for your website. In a pinch, you can remove the section for a photo entirely, but I’d recommend doing this sparingly.
Images of what you do. While the rest of the recommendations are for less expected details , you’ll also want to gather some images that accurately depict what it is you do. Make it very clear with a few images whether you offer therapy, coaching, bodywork, etc.
Images with lots of whitespace. Most modern websites have hero images – usually full-width and used as a background for the very first section of the page. Typically, these hero images also have text overlay. Your first challenge is to find a photo for each of your pages (for example, 4 photos for home, about, services, contact). These hero images should be horizontal with most of the action concentrated in about half or a third of the photo so it can be easily cropped. It also shouldn’t have white space or a soft background so it’s easy to read text that is overlayed.
Vibey, detail shots. These are the nondescript images that can be used beside anything. They’re more about vibe than content. Some examples would be a desk setup with a fun display on the monitor and a colorful cup of pens. A plant, a couch, and the shadow. Singing bowls and incense.
Headshots. Is it just me, or do many therapist headshots look straight out of 2002? Headshots don’t have to be professional to be decent. You can even ask a friend to take some photos of you using portrait mode on their phone. Choose a non-distracting background, wear a solid-colored shirt, and shoot in bright but indirect light. You’ll already be miles ahead by just having a few decent headshots of yourself on your website.
Resizing Your Images in Preview (for Mac)
- Open your image in Preview.
- Click on “Tools” in the top menu and select “Adjust Size.”
- In the “Width” and “Height” fields, enter the desired size for your image. You can either specify the exact pixel size or the percentage of the original size.
- Click “OK” to apply the changes.
- Save the resized image with a new name.
Renaming Images in Preview
Once you’ve chosen your photos, it’s important to rename them with your keywords. Renaming your images with relevant keywords can help improve your website’s SEO and make it easier for potential clients to find you. For example, if you’re a therapist in New York City who specializes in anxiety therapy, you might rename your image “nyc-anxiety-therapy-office.jpg.”
Photos for Your Therapy Website Checklist
- Start with branding and messaging in mind. How do you want your website to look and feel? Your photos should align with your branding and messaging and convey the emotions you want potential clients to feel when they visit your website.
- Select a mix of 10-12 images. Wide shots can give visitors a sense of your space and environment, while detail shots can showcase specific aspects of your practice, such as your tools or decorations. Also gather textures, illustrations, and at least one good headshot.
- Resize your images. Large, high-resolution images can slow down your website’s loading speed, which can be frustrating for
- Rename your photos with relevant keywords. This can help improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and make it easier for potential clients to find you online.