How To Choose The Right Images For Your Website
When you begin building a website, one of the first things to think about is images. Different photos have different purposes: some show your services, others are purely decorative. I’m going to explain what sort of media you should look for, and point you towards a few free stock photo websites. Before that, let’s think about the type of images you should consider for your business.
The Main Attraction: Products & Services
Start taking more snaps at work. Whether you’re talking with clients, at the computer or behind a shop counter, having real images adds a layer of authenticity to the page. Take as many as you can, plus a few more for good measure. Ask customers if they’d like to be photographed interacting with you. As you’re providing a good service they might be quite chuffed to become a poster child! It doesn’t matter if the images are grainy or badly lit; pictures can be edited at a later stage.
The Profile Photo
Anyone with a passport or at sniffing distance from LinkedIn will know this. If you have any mugshots lying around, dig them up and pop them in the project folder. It seems cheesy, but your beaming visage reassures customers that there’s a real face behind the business. The kookier companies like to use cartoons or caricatures. If the tone feels right, this can be a quirky way of introducing yourselves to the public.
The Local Neighbourhood
Wherever you are based, the chances are you have a localised customer base. Take some photos of the landmarks, the rolling hills, the skyscrapers and the local events. Take them at all times of day, in different weather conditions and from every angle you can. Again, seeing familiar sights feeds into the trust factor and shows customers you’re cut from the same cloth as them.
The Abstract Snap
This is where you get your artistic hat on. Off-focus, fluffy photos can be very useful. You can use them as part of a page banner or an abstract background to parallax scrolling content. They also work as thumbnails for pages that can’t really be visualised e.g. legal notices. Look for the following:
- Close-up shots of your products: the textures and materials
- Skylines, trees, rural scenes and nondescript landscape shots
- Out of focus photographs of your office or shopfront
The Stock Photo
Love it or hate it, the stock photo has its uses. If your service seems intangible, chances are there’s an image that conveys what you do. They may cost money, but stock photos have been shot professionally and give off a polished look. A gorgeous website design sometimes needs an attractive image to complement it. Not interested in stock photos? No problem…
What to do if you can’t get hold of stock photos? There’s always Photoshop. Identify which of your photos you’d like retouched and ask a graphic designer/photographer if it’s possible to give them a makeover. You’d be surprised by what you can do with a little editing. With background removal or digital airbrushing, you can transform digital camera photos into something worthy of a showroom.
Future Use & Links
If you’ve followed this blog to the tee, you probably have far more images than feels necessary. This is good! Firstly, the designer has a range of pictures to choose from. Secondly, you’ve built up a healthy stock for the future. This means relevant photos for social media, blog thumbnails, seasonal banner designs and more! As your site grows, so too will your need to use images from a wide variety of sources. Here are a few to keep you going:
- Gratisography: The work of one photographer, Ryan McGuire. These lean towards the artistic side.
- Start Up Stock Photos: Images for the tech/start-up/business sector – meetings, offices, laptops etc.
- Pixabay: All round great website for finding commercial use stock photos.
- Open Clipart and Public Domain Clip Art: Really useful for flat icons, symbols and clipart.
- iStock: The big daddy of paid stock photographs. Worth subscribing to if you’re going to collect a bunch.