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Choosing the right images for your website

When it comes to sourcing the right photography for your website, there a several options available. You can…

1. Take photographs yourself

The quality of the average digital camera has vastly improved in recent years. Even smart phone cameras are great at capturing good images.

If you are confident with framing and taking  photos, and can enhance your shots with photo-editing software, then there in no reason you can’t do your own website photography. Plenty companies do, and the results are great. If, however, you’re in a competitive industry where your competitor websites use professional shots, then you might have to look at stock images or a professional photographer.

Take time to consider who you are as a business, your value proposition and target market. And what your customers may be looking for – price, quality, exclusivity, expertise, reliability or variety? The images you choose for your website can help to convey these values to visitors.

If you have an eCommerce site, then good product photography is important. More often than not, the DIY option produces poor quality and badly lit images, which don’t showcase products at their best. See my top three techniques for making ordinary images look great.

2. Buy stock images online

There are a number of image libraries out there with fantastic photography. Most of them offer a fixed fee for an image, depending on use. Some even have a subscription that allows you a certain number of downloads every month. Have a look at iStock and Shutterstock.

Stock image libraries are a great choice for companies who offer a generic product or service, such as utility providers and IT companies. If, however, you are a company with a specific product and a personal offering, then chances are you won’t find your perfect image in a stock library.

3. Use a professional photographer

A professional photographer will be able to offer you a bespoke service, with tailor-made images to suit. You will be able to get advice on the style and subject matter for your web site photography. Your web design agency may be able to recommend someone, but it’s always a good idea do your own research, as photographers all have different styles and areas of expertise. Make sure you agree what sort of rights you have to use the imagery – very important if you intend to use the images in future marketing campaigns and different formats.

Formulate a clear brief of your requirements, before you engage with a photographer, and ask to see samples of similar work they have done. That way you can compare like-for-like and find the best person to take your shots.

Often web design agencies will use a combination of professional photography, stock images and photos supplied by the client in their design.

Tabasco bottles - iPhone 5S (left), professional DSLR (right).

Tabasco bottles – iPhone 5S (left), professional DSLR (right).

Whichever option(s) you choose, the imagery on your website will speak volumes about your company and what you offer – so it’s important to make sure you consider the right approach.

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