It sounds so obvious, but it's something we come across more than you'd think. Great looking photographs are crucial to a design project. Building a landing page for a new product is more often than not, a one shot deal. As soon as you start driving traffic towards your website, you need to instantly engage your prospective customers. Whatever it is you're selling, there will certainly be someone else just a click away selling the same, or a similar item. With that in mind, you need to engage them as quickly as possible before they get bored and move on to another website. An engaging photograph to build your landing page around will definitely help.
Here's an example from Apple and KRCS. They both sell the MacBook Pro's, but looking at both landing page snapshots, their approaches are quite different. Apple's take is very simple, but hugely effective, especially the engaging product picture they've used.
KRCS's landing page is less effective - and they're a big company (since 1984 in fact). Even though there's lots of information telling you how they can help, you almost get lost in the text. Don't get us wrong - text is important - but draw your audience in first with a great first impression - and then the web visitor will actively look further down the page for that information. That first impression is almost always a great looking photo.
Do I need to hire a photographer?
No. Okay, maybe - but you really shouldn't have to. If you're creative enough to build a website, then the chances are you can make use of some of the incredible technology a good proportion of us have at our fingertips. Phones, for example are on a par with some pretty great cameras that were around a few years ago. Take Atle Ronningen's photo that was shortlisted for a Mobile Phone Award for Best Photograph. Or one that my wife took on our way to Budapest. Pretty decent (don't tell her that though).
So, the moral of the story is this. Get creative. Be inspired. And most importantly, engage people as quickly as you can because you may only get one shot at converting that customer. Converting that customer however, doesn't have to cost the Earth.