Visuals have become increasingly important the last few years and with that in mind, the feel and look of websites has significantly changed. At ALINE, we are continuously tracking trends in the industry in order to create best in class websites for all of our clients.
Our Website Design Process
But no matter how beautifully we build a website, the full picture isn’t complete without, well…the picture! In this blog, we’ll tell you exactly how to obtain the right imagery for your website.
But first, why is photography important?
Why should I have photography on my website?
The answer is simple: people are more likely to remember an image vs just words. When you think of Pepsi, you probably can picture the logo in your head.
Now, you may think, “My website already has a logo!” but in order to really stick in someone’s psyche, you’ll need a little bit more than that.
Images help tell a story and they can trigger emotions. Think of the sad-puppy photos animal shelters use to find a new owner for their pups, or the laughing elderly couples often used in healthcare advertisements.
A picture can be a great introduction to a blog, website, or even your whole brand. The right picture can even function as a call to action.
I don’t want to use my own images
Now that you know the importance of images on your website, the next step is to select the right ones. You can use your own pictures, but if you don’t have the right skill set or equipment, you may opt for other options. Thankfully, there are great alternatives to snapping your own shots.
Hiring a photographer
The first option is pretty obvious. If you don’t have the skills, time or equipment to take your own website pictures, it might make sense to hire someone to do this for you. Professional photography is great to freshen up your website with relevant, clean visuals.
Make a list of each website page you want images for and what type of content you’re looking for. For example, on the “About” page, it makes sense to have a group photo of your staff. A “Meet our Team” page benefits from individual headshots and biographies. The “Contact Us” page may look nice with a picture of your office, local area or a picture of your customer service team. Whatever you come up with, share it with the photographer beforehand so that they can prepare for the photoshoot.
Hire ALINE as a photography partner
Using stock images
If hiring a photographer isn’t in your budget, but you do want professional pictures for your website, you can turn to stock images. There are great websites out there with an immense collection of photos for just about every topic or theme you can think of. A dog dressed up for Halloween? No problem. A dentist filling a cavity? You’ve got it. A child catching a butterfly? Really, the sky is the limit.
Here are some stock photography sites that we like using:
Alternatively, there are free stock photography sites available as well:
Tips on searching for great stock images:
- Try to search for a specific word or phrase relevant to your article, page or brand.
- If the exact word doesn't turn up the results you're looking for, try searching for a variety of "surrounding" words. For example, try searching for "fence" instead of "yard."
- Make sure to browse the related or suggested images most sites recommend based on your search (usually located toward the bottom of the search results).
- Whenever possible, try to select images that match the overall feel of your brand. For example, if a client primarily utilizes warmer tones (yellows, oranges, browns, etc.) you wouldn't want to use an overly dark (blue/gray/cloudy) image.
Need help? Contact us!
Use icons instead
No image? No problem!
In some cases, photography may not work out. Some brands don’t want faces associated with their products or services, or the overall look of the website may not be programmed to feature much photography. In fact, the ALINE website doesn’t have any header images (but we do use portfolio images to color our pages).
To break up your written content without using images, you may want to consider using icons and designed images instead. A great tool to help you get started is Canva, but for a more professional look it may be worth hiring a graphic designer.
Let’s talk design!
What if I want to use my own images?
For those daring to take their own images, we have researched best practices to provide you with a basis on how to get started.”
- Take photos horizontally, also known as “landscape mode.” This is often the right direction for header images on a website, but it is also helpful when ‘cutting’ images to the right size. It allows some extra space to choose the most interesting part of the image without cutting off anything important.
- When framing a photo on your phone, think about the rule of thirds. This is a fundamental rule in photography that can improve the composition of your photo. Mentally divide the photo evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Place the subject of the image at the intersection of those dividing lines. You don't always have to keep the focus of your photo in the center—you can use the rule of thirds to place the focus on another area.
- Think of composition. For instance, when taking a photo of a product, you could have someone hold the product out in front of them and use portrait mode on your phone to take a close-up of the product. You can also place it on a table next to something interesting, using the rule of thirds to keep the focus on the product.
Bonus tips to take GREAT photos:
- Additionally, most phones these days have a Portrait Mode included in the camera settings. Using this function will add some depth of field to the photo. For example, a picture of a product shot in portrait mode will draw the focus to the product and blur the background for less distraction.
- Lastly, think about perspective. Get an interesting angle. For instance, shoot from a lower angle (from the hip) and not from a standing position. A specific example: instead of just taking a photo of the back of the computer while someone is typing, try taking a photo over their shoulder, to show what they're working on.
Interested in learning more about how professional images can help build your brand?