I often hear people say “I don’t need professional photography for my website,” or “we don’t need to hire a professional photographer for our site. We have plenty of stock images on our site already.” To me, that is a bit of wishful thinking.
If you want to build a successful website with a large number of visitors, you need to be sure that your site is memorable. Your visitors will remember your brand and website if it attracts them with your photos and content – if you are clear about what you want to communicate in the first place and why they should care about you, then the photos will set the stage for future visits and conversations.
For example, there was a recent study which found that when people were asked to describe their buying habits using pictures (including stock imagery), they were more likely to describe themselves as “good at shopping,” but not “good at shopping online.” Moreover, when people were asked where they shopped online (in person or online), they were more likely to say they shopped online than in-person. So even if people think they can do just fine shopping in person or on the web by looking at stock photos instead of actually visiting stores themselves, it becomes clear that not only do those images not inspire them (yet), but also the places where they shop are less likely to be an inspiration either.
So I would argue that for most people who build websites, it makes sense to use stock images rather than professional photography when possible. The advantages are: 1) fewer shots are taken 2) less work is done 3) less time spent on set up 4) lower costs 5) simplicity 6) reduced chance of privacy violation 7) proper copyright attribution 8) higher quality 9) higher sales using their existing audiences 10) greater user engagement.
Crafting a Website Image Strategy
I am not a big fan of stock photos, because I think they are often overused and poorly suited to the historical context of a website. However, as a designer I do find there are some very cool images out there which will fit perfectly in any website. If you’re starting fresh with your brand new website, you might have to decide what type of imagery you would like to use. If it’s going to be product photos or company locations, then professional photography is the way to go. But if you’re just starting out and want something clean and simple so that people can actually use your website without having to worry about how it looks, try using stock photos instead.
Stock photos typically have higher resolution than most other types of images such as short videos or infographic icons—this allows them to be more easily seen on a small screen such as a tablet or mobile phone. They also tend to be full color (which is why they can be used on websites instead of black & white). You can also create an interesting effect with stock photos by overlaying text over them (or simply overlaying an image).
If using stock photo(s) is not an option for your business but you still want some nice basic imagery on your site, there are some alternatives that are much easier and cheaper than professional photography:• Free online photo galleries: lots of these online photo galleries allow users to upload their own pictures for free—you can search by category and sort by quality/size/etc., or just browse them all at once—some of them also allow you from adding captions & comments when uploading pictures. In fact, many people find these “free” illustrations quite impressive…
• Online Street Art: some street artists will sell their work in public, while others prefer selling through social media platforms like Twitter & Instagram. On these apps, artwork is quickly shared amongst friends & followers before being sold again. The art pieces are made available in multiple sizes so that they can fit into any size piece (or even multiple pieces).
• Photographers agency: This is an additional investment you should make when choosing which photography agency to go with. Experienced agencies know what they do and have the knowledge and understanding of the market to know what works best for you.
Measuring Your Website’s Success
When you are building your website, it is important to choose the right images. You should consider 2 things when looking for the best images for your website: size and composition.
Sizing the image can be tricky. The preference should always be to find large, HD images that can be scaled down if necessary. Scaled up images may appear pixelated or blurry so try to avoid this if possible. The pixel size of the image can also affect the loading times and bandwidth of your website. To have a good quality website, you would need to resize your images to 900 by 700 pixels as a standard.
The other thing is that you should have a good idea about how your photos are going to be used. Will they be used for an article in search results? Will they be used in an email newsletter? Or maybe someone needs to find an image like this one if they want to submit their photo to be used on the website?
It is important that these two factors are combined as you are choosing images for your website. If all of them are too small and awkward, then you will have a hard time getting your audience’s attention and your visitors may start thinking that this is not a site they would ever go on. And if all of them are too big, then it could take some time before people find them and look at them.
It’s an art form, just like painting or playing the piano. Many people become experts in these fields because they have passion and dedication. With photography, there is also no perfect way to make things look good without getting someone else’s opinion on the subject matter (although some people are quite specific about what kind of photos they like). However, if you don’t have time for this sort of thing yourself, then photography may not be your best option. But remember that this is just my opinion so feel free to make your own!