Images are a necessity but it always seems to be a difficult subject. Why do I need images on my site? What kind of image should I use? Why can’t I just use these ones I’ve found? We need bigger files sizes, you actually have too many images…the list can go on and on but you get the general idea.
It doesn’t matter what kind of site you are building, whether you go in the direction of real-life photos, illustrations, or graphics; imagery enhances a websites design and visual appeal. Imagery helps you tell your story. Before diving into buying photos, hiring a photographer, or searching through your own images you should come up with an appropriate game plan for what you need. Sit down with your website developer to determine where you need images, what kind of images should represent your product or services, and how to obtain the images that make sense. Once you do that, you’ll understand the direction you need to take when searching for imagery.
What not to do!
YOU CAN’T just copy and paste images from Google and say “let’s use these”. You don’t know the original source of those images therefore, you don’t know if they required purchasing. Find and use images with proper permission.
Stock images or your own?
The most popular option is stock photography. Popular sites like iStockPhoto.com, provide endless amounts of imagery to cover just about any topic you would need. It’s convenient and cost-effective (most of the time). If you find yourself needing a lot of images, it can quickly add up so it’s best to discuss your options first. Consider the supporting need behind each image you use. Although great, stock photography isn’t always the best option if you need to showcase your own products and services.
Using your own images is always a great option for multiple reasons: it’s free, you don’t have to worry about licensing issues, it’s a true representation of your service or product, and it’s a direct reflection of you or your business. Consumers are visual, they need to see the product you are offering or the quality of work you can perform for them. If you don’t have your own images to share, you leave them guessing, and therefore doubting, the accreditation of your service.
It can be (and we say that lightly) ok if you have less than optimal quality photos if you are sharing historical images, family photos, or referencing things from the past. The public can differentiate from when they expect to have a good quality image and when it’s acceptable to have a lesser quality image.
What you don’t want to do is have poorly taken images from your phone or a camera that could have been taken better. If you are sharing something of recent times you need to have a clear, crisp image. If you don’t then leave it out. Don’t hesitate to hire a professional to ensure quality imagery. Find out what images you should use for the web.
There are numerous options when it comes to imagery for your site, what’s important is you use it and use it right. Don’t “assume” what direction you should head in. Sit down, discuss the options and best routes with your developer. Take direction from the professional whose goal is to build you a site that looks great and functions properly.