Profile pages are one of the most frequently visited pages on law firm’s websites. Potential clients want to know about the firm and who they will be working with. As well as having individual written content, it is crucial to have appropriate profile images to show your potential clients that you are approachable.
Tela has completed research on the top 100 law firm websites profile images to determine what is currently trending in terms of profile imagery styles.
What we did
We analysed each websites profile imagery based on the following categories:
- Colour scheme: Are they in colour or black and white?
- Image style: Have they been cut out? Do they have a depth of field (blurred background)? Have they used a backdrop/formal background?
- Positioning: Are they face on, side on or looking away from the camera?
- Expression: Are they happy, serious, concentrating or empathetic?
- Are they standardised? Do they all have the same position, background etc
To do this, we reviewed each of the UK top 100 law firms’ imagery approaches on their website’s and placed them into the correct categories. This enabled us to see if a particular style of photo was trending, or if there were any opportunities for differentiation in terms of photography style.
Why we did it
Tela believes it is important to have profile images for each lawyer to help potential clients see who they might be working with and build some trust. We have created this research to help give law firms an idea about the different ways there are when displaying profile images and give guidance by identifying trends from competitors. This will help decide whether they want to stick with recent trends or to differentiate their style of imagery.
What we found
Once all the data had been gathered and broken down into the relevant categories, we were able to pull some interesting trends and opportunities from the research.
One of the main categories we wanted to identify was whether the lawyer’s profile images are displayed in colour or black and white. Unsurprisingly, 83% of the law firm websites display their profile images in colour. Colour photography opens more opportunity for visual expressions and helps add more vibrancy to the landing pages. The remaining 16% use black and white profile images. Only 1% used a mixture of both colour and black and white images.
The graph below shows the different image styles we looked at. The results are split almost evenly between the categories, with depth of field and cut out images being most popular.
Depth of field
Depth of field is the distance between the nearest and furthest objects that are sharp in an image. It allows control over what appears in focus and what is blurred. 37% of law firm websites use a blurred background in their profile image. This puts greater focus on the person in the photograph. It allows you to take photographs in different locations at your own convenience but still create a unified overall design. You can see this in Burges Salmon’s website, as shown below.
Cut out images are photos where the person has been cut out from its original background using design software such as photoshop. 38% use cut out images, this allows the profile photos to be placed on exactly the same background. This is often used to show consistency across all profiles. It is very convenient when adding new team members, as their new profile images can fit in with the existing ones.
For example, Digby Brown has chosen to cut out their profile images and place them onto a clean white background for a consistent design.
27% of the law firm websites used professional backdrops or had their photographs taken against a plain wall, therefore they didn’t need to cut out the image and still had the same background for each photograph.
Burness Paull uses professional backdrops whilst taking their photographs, making their images look clean with no distractions.
When analysing each website, we looked at how the lawyers were positioned when they took their photographs.
As you can see from the graph above, we found that most law firm websites use profile images where the lawyers are standing side-on, but still looking at the camera to show a more flattering angle. You can see this in Keoghs’ website as shown below.
37% of the law firm websites use a mixture of people standing side on and face on, and let the lawyers position themselves to what feels more natural. For example, Allen & Overy use a mixture of face on and side on profile images.
25% of the websites use images of people looking away from the camera. RPC uses a mixture of positioning on their profile pages, with people looking straight to the camera and some looking in other directions. This approach can help show more personality.
Expression in a photo plays a huge part on the impact it has on the lawyer’s profile. On each website, there were profile images of people smiling and displaying happiness. Some websites used images of both people looking serious and concentrating as well as people smiling.
For example, Mishcon de Reya uses varied expressions throughout their profile images, with people smiling, looking happy and serious.
42% of the websites use standardised images, following the same style throughout the profiles. If all the images are cut out or all use the same background, the profiles will have a more uniform feel.
An example of a website that uses standardised images is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. All their profile images are consistent. They have been cut out and then placed onto the same light blue background.
Using profile pictures on law firm websites is a very effective way to help your firm be seen as authentic and trustworthy. Being able to see a face next to the team members’ contact details, qualifications and case history will allow a potential client to feel reassured and slightly more familiar with the firm. It adds a more human side to a page full of information and facts.
By conducting this research we have identified trends within law firm profile imagery. Colour images are most popular as it catches the viewer’s attention straight away and can help bring more personality to the image. The most popular image style is cut out images and images with a depth of field. These styles make it easy to create a harmonious design throughout a website and look very professional. First impressions are very important and can leave a lasting effect with potential clients. Images showing happy expressions and smiling faces are essential for portraying your firm as approachable, reliable and professional.