We’ve all seen it. websites that are tastefully designed and nicely laid out, but something’s just not quite right. You get a feeling of unease and dissatisfaction when you look at the site, but try as you might, you can’t quite put your finger on it.
“What is wrong with this website?” you ask yourself. “Why does it look so good… but so wrong at the same time?”
Then you see it…
Why is that image so blurry? Why is the horizon line on an angle? Just what exactly, is up with that picture?
Even the greatest designer can’t save your website if you choose to use photographs that do not meet professional standards. Poor photography can cheapen even the most beautifully designed site and has a huge impact on how your viewers feel about your site and therefore your business.
You want visitors to be impressed when they visit your website. You want potential customers or clients to feel like they’re buying into a business that is well-established, trustworthy, and reputable. You need images that can evoke these feelings in your visitors.
We understand that you are working within a budget and we want to support you in making the most of it without sacrificing the quality of the images used on your site.
The following is a short list of available options for obtaining professional, quality photographs for your website:
1. Hire a professional photographer:
This is what we would consider to be the crème-de-la-crème of the available options. We highly recommend this route for clients who are selling a product, or for those who have other elements of their business that are unique and should be showcased, such as: location, office space, team members, etc.
Although many will shy away from this option because of the price, there are reasons why the extra cost is very much worth your while. Hiring a professional photographer will provide you with:
- A professional who can understand exactly what you want and will create images that are tailored to your tastes.
- High quality photographs that showcase your products with the aesthetic qualities that match your business, personality, and style.
- Images that provide an inside look into the culture of your business and the personalities of your team members (but make everything and everyone look highly polished and all around fabulous).
- One-of-a-kind photographs that are unique to your business and will not be found elsewhere online – or posted on your competitor’s site. A personalized experience for your viewers; people want to see what your actual products, office, staff, etc. look like. Allowing potential customers to get a sense of what they’re purchasing or who they’re working with will create a sense of satisfaction and trust in your services even before they make their first purchase.
2. Have your designer choose and purchase photos from a stock photography website:
Your designer will have a pretty clear idea of what you want on your website and who your target audience is. This understanding, along with your designer’s aesthetic sensibilities and experience, means that your designer will choose photos that work for your website and your business.
You will get:
- Professional photographs that suit your site and reflect your business and personality.
- Photographs that fit seamlessly into the design, rather than conflicting with the style of the site.
- Images that are appropriate to your business and work to create a cohesive story throughout your site.
- Photographs that evoke the emotional response you want from your visitors.
3. Choose and purchase professional stock photos online, yourself:
If you’ve reached your maximum budget and aren’t willing to pay your designer for their time to choose photographs for you, you can always go online and choose them yourself. There are numerous online sites that sell stock photography; we regularly use istockphoto.com as it is reputable, has a wide selection of photos, videos, illustrations, and audio, and is very easy to navigate.
If you choose this option, we still highly recommend asking your designer’s opinion about the photos that you select. They, ultimately, are the ones making the site cohesive and you’ve hired them because you trust their opinion.
If you choose photos yourself, you get:
- A wide selection of high quality photographs that you can peruse at your leisure.
- The chance to review the cost of the individual photos and to choose which ones best fit your budget.
- Photos that you are drawn to and reflect your personality and aesthetics.
The downside to using stock photography is that you might see the same photo on more than one site; it’s not a bad idea to look at some of your competitors’ sites to make sure you haven’t chosen the same photos they have. Although you will sometimes see the same photos being used on other people’s sites as on your own, this is still a far better option than having poor quality photos on your site.
4. Use photos that you, your friends, or family have taken:
If you have access to photos that have been taken by yourself or someone you know using a good quality camera and could easily pass as semi-professional photography, then you could decide to go this route. However, you need to be honest with yourself about the quality of the images. If you find it difficult to separate your feelings towards the photographs and the photographer and to view them objectively, ask for the opinion of your friends, colleagues, and designer. And most importantly, when you ask for these opinions, listen to the answers as openly as possible.
Bonuses to using these photos:
- They will be unique to your website; you won’t find the same photo being used commercially elsewhere on the web.
- They will be representative of your business – your physical location, actual products, etc.
- They’re budget friendly (but remember to give your friends/family something nice if they’ve contributed high quality photos to your site).
Don’t forget that any images you find online are owned by someone else. Purchase your photos from an online stock store so that you are abiding by copyright laws and supporting the professional photographers who have created these amazing images for you to use.
We hope that the above information helps you choose the option that best suits your business needs and your budget, and provides some insight into the importance of having professional imagery on your website.