Choosing the right images for your website should be easy
Yes, in theory, but in practise? Not at all.
So, in this post, the Digital Bridge team will guide you through the process of choosing website images that:
- Reflect your brand
- Create a consistent theme
- Help you avoid legal action
- Keep your costs down, or
- Take the weight off your shoulders
1. Website images should reflect your brand
They should appeal to, and resonate with, your target customers.
It’s surprising how frequently business owners forget this vital point. That’s why it’s number one on our list. Getting it wrong can be costly in both time and money, and you won’t realise how much, until it’s too late.
Here are a few easy ways to choose website images that accurately reflect your brand:
Look for images that directly match your business and its products or services. These could be images of your own products, yourself (or team) in the process of working or, photos purchased online that demonstrate what you do or sell.
If your products are beautifully designed, simple shots, closely cropped, that let the product speak for itself work wonders. Like Apple. Enough said.
When selling lifestyle products or services, show your target audience how their lives will change, or the benefits they’ll experience by buying into your brand. Be sure your photos communicate the right feelings. For example, a spa business will imply relaxation while a car brand might communicate exhilaration. Dolomiti Electric Bikes, a client of ours, is a good example.
If a consistent theme is hard to find (or just plain dull), take a different direction. We have. At Digital Bridge, we love our locale, so it makes sense to share it with our clients. You don’t need beautiful vistas, just interesting stuff. See what we mean on the Digital Bridge website.
2. Create a consistent theme
This sounds simple. You choose a consistent theme like product shots, people in action or your locale (like us), pop them on your website and… it looks wrong.
You scroll down the page, across the menu and, it still looks wrong. SO frustrating. Unfortunately, you don’t realise how wrong until you see them together, on your website.
So, consider these points:
Look for website images that share a similar light or shade.
You might have read about applying filters, cropping and so on, to help you create a consistent theme, and that’s all doable. But, if the background is light in one photo and dark in the other, you’ll still have inconsistent images, no matter which filter you apply.
Even the same filter can still look different
Filters are often touted as the easy solution to solving your photo consistency challenges. The easiest filter to apply is black and white, sepia and the like, but even they aren’t foolproof (including for the reasons above).
If you decide to use colour, and apply the same overlay to all images, you might still have inconsistencies. So, make a note of the shade but be prepared to tweak to get it just right.
3. Avoid legal action
These days everything can be found on the Internet, including misuse of website images. Rather than delve deep into the confusing world of copyright laws let’s talk about the easy, headache-free way to find images for your website.
Buy ‘royalty free’ stock photos.
Here, your chosen photo is a once-only purchase but you can use the image multiple times. Be sure to check the license information about how and where it can be used. Some licenses differ slightly, so don’t assume they’re all the same.If you’re buying a lot, it can get costly but if you’re sensible you can save $$.
Try this: Create a gallery to view images side-by-side.
Most stock photo websites offer a lightbox facility (or similar). Scroll the images, click the like box icon (or heart) and save chosen photos to your lightbox gallery. You can add or delete until your collection is just right.
Source images with a ‘creative commons license’:
There are many sites offering amazing photos and images, free, so you won’t infringe copyright. Still, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Check the licenses on each site.
A couple of points about this:
Some sites offer more choice and better quality, so look around.
You will discover amazing images so if you decide to use them, do the right thing:
Thank the photographer with a like or similar.
Credit him (or her) on your website.
Credit the website where the image was found.
It’s the least you can do.
4. Keep your costs down
Armed with the information above you should still be able to control the cost of choosing your website images. However, don’t underestimate the amount research and time it can take to get right.
If you own a decent camera you can take your own shots. Needless to say, a creative eye helps enormously, but depending on your business, it’s possible to do a pretty decent job. Depending on your business, you can even use it to your advantage.
5. Take the weight off your shoulders
You can always hire a professional photographer.
If you’re organising this yourself remember:
Like everything in life, not every photographer is the same. Some specialise in portrait photography while others in streetscapes, architecture or pets! If you’re going to invest in amazing photography make sure you choose the right expertise for your needs. Remember, prices vary considerably as does quality.
If you’re working with a web designer:
It’s best to provide a clear brief of what you have in mind. Worded descriptions alone may not always suffice, look for visual inspiration in magazines, websites or even Pinterest, and share them with your designer. (Pinterest is a sea of mood boards and a great help if you have next to no idea where to start!) Avoid being distracted by competitor websites, it’s not good for you (or your business) and it could inhibit your website designer’s creativity.
Defining your brand’s uniqueness is what it’s all about— and that’s what your designer delivers. So, once you’ve provided the initial brief, leave the legwork to him (or her). The fun (and helpful) part is gaining an independent, creative perspective on your brand and, having website images, colours, graphics, fonts and more, working in delicious harmony.
Oh, and worth mentioning here; product images can cause a lot of headaches, but they shouldn’t. Your web designer can take care of cropping, adjusting and ‘treating’ your images to that they look consistent in tone, light, colour and so on, to ‘match’ on your website. Simply hand them over and, r-e-l-a-x.
See what we mean?
Choosing the right images for your website isn’t easy
Still, it doesn’t need to be painful either. Just be sure to invest enough time upfront to think (really think) about your needs and research your options.
Digital Bridge is a Melbourne-based web development agency that is big on ideas and low on jargon. We specialise in designing, developing, and managing websites for people like you and, businesses like yours.