The Need For Great Images on Your Website

November 2, 2014 By wbsuper 0

Photography is often a glossed over detail when budgeting or planning for a website, which is ironic since designers are at pains to convince clients that high quality imagery is one of the most important components of a website.

Humans are pre-dominantly visual learners and collect our social and survival cues from images and colour. In a world saturated with average content, strong eye catching images can make or break a site.

Below average images on a website, reflect a lack of care and appreciation of quality. The next logical extension potential clients make is that if the images aren’t great, the site’s content will not be worth their time either. Even a site with strong content will get overlooked if the ever important first impression is not favorable.

Check out some of the photography we have create for our clients’ websites: Stills Portfolio.

No matter how small your website budget may be, we encourage clients to allocate a certain amount for

So how does one go about creating compelling high quality image for their site?

The most common choices made by website owners are:

DIY or Ask a Friend

Typically this is done using a point and shoot camera (or a phone cam—oh, the horror!).

Unless you or your friend have an established track record of creating images for publications, this approach is best avoided. 

Images need to be tack sharp, exposed correctly, have the right bit-depth, image compression, color profile, and conform to the technical needs of website design. Don’t be seduced by the false economy of a DIY job, the old saying of you get what you pay for certainly applies in this instance.

Buy Images from a Stock Photo Library

Stock image libraries gather photographs by professional image makers, and resell the right to use them in publications including websites. The daggy stigma that used to be associated with stock photography no longer holds true, provided you choose the image library carefully. With a bit of effort, finding suitable images for most post projects is eminently viable. However, some of the downsides are:

  • Competitors can have the exact same images as your website, diluting your brand value
  • Usage rights are often limited. For instance, you can use an image on your website but not on Facebook
  • If the type of image you need is very specific, it can be very frustrating trying to find the exact image you (or your web designers) have in mind. A great example is images that link local services to a community, or to show your team in their uniforms etc.

Using a Professional Photographer

Have a commercial photographer shoot your products, location, or team. By far, the most reliable and flexible approach, having your own photographer means you can craft the shoot to ensure you capture the exact images you need for your brand. If you are unsure about what you need, the web designer and photographer can collaborate to advice you on the imagery you require. You will also be able to negotiate an arrangement with your photographer to ensure you retain extended usage rights for any images that are created.

Including images of your team, clients, or community connects the end user to your brand much better than stock photos of a generic model who has no connection to your brand. Using people in images also makes your product or service seem more real and accessible.

To summarise, photos with a point-and-shoot or phone camera is not recommended if you are after quality images on your website. Stock images can be effective in some situations but can give a cookie-cutter impression. A bespoke photo session with a professional photographer gives you images that connect strongly with your clients

Finally, a few rules of thumb when planning your photo-shoot:

  • Avoid clichés such as heavily posed images
  • People relate to people, try to include people whenever possible – it helps to create an emotional connection
  • Less is more – your photographer will help you choose the best images from the shoot. A few strong images represent better quality than a large number of poor ones
  • Be merciless with the quality of images – only use an image if it’s top quality

If you’re thinking of creating images for your web-site or brand, and have questions—give us a call. We’d be happy to guide you and provide any help you might need.

Check out some of the photography we have create for our clients’ websites: Stills Portfolio.