"A picture is worth a thousand words." Yes, it’s a cliche — but it takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to your website. Photos are the difference between just a website and a truly engaging digital presence.
It probably comes as no surprise that we get a lot of questions about website photography. Luckily, our in-house experts have over 30 years of experience that they’re ready to put to use and get you the answers you need.
So, if you’ve ever found yourself frustrated over image formats or tiptoeing around copyright concerns, don’t worry! We’re here to help.
Why are images important on a website?
For starters, they make your website look better! But here’s what you can take to your boss to petition for your website photography:
- Branding: Photos can help establish and reinforce your brand identity. They can convey your company’s style, values and personality.
- User Experience: While website copy is equally important, no one wants to sit down and read an entire wall of text. Photos can break up the copy, increase time spent on your site and lower bounce rates.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Google loves it when you have relevant, optimized photos with alt tags on your website, helping you rank higher in search results.
- Social Sharing: Engaging images are more likely to be shared on social media platforms. This boost can help increase your website’s visibility and attract new visitors.
How do I take website photos?
The first thing you need to take photos for your website is a camera that won’t break the bank. Next up, make sure you’re getting pictures that align with your website goals. If you want to recruit new employees, get some snaps at the team-building event. If you’re launching a new product, make sure you get photos to highlight it on your website and social media. It’s also a good idea to schedule a professional photoshoot every three to six months, just to make sure you always have a good selection of photos that are current and seasonal.
Another thing to note: make sure you’re getting a variety of photo orientations. There’s a time and place for both horizontal and vertical photos, and it’s essential to have both for mobile responsiveness. When in doubt, snap pictures from as far back as possible so your website designer can crop them accordingly.
How many website photos do I need?
We recommend that our clients have an average of three to five images for each page of their site. This number is usually perfect to break up the copy and provide additional context. Just make sure that each photo you select is intentional and relevant to the other information on the page.
What kind of images do I need on my website?
This question is so important that we recorded a whole podcast about it! The answer isn’t very straightforward, though (which is why we had to record an entire podcast about it.) A restaurant’s photography needs will be vastly different from those of a trucking company, so there’s really no single answer.
At the beginning of your website photography journey, a better question may be, “How can my photos best serve my website?” Don’t worry. We’ll answer that question, too.
What happens to my headshots when I hire new employees?
You invested in new headshot photography to give your team page a boost. But what do you do when you continue growing and hiring new employees? The answer is pretty simple: just schedule more shoots! We recommend setting a reminder every six months to see if it’s time to get those new smiling faces on the website.
Pro tip: Our support team can reach out twice a year to set it up for you. One less thing on your to-do list!
When should I use photography, and when should I use videography?
This question is another one that requires a longer answer, so we recorded a One Quick Question episode on it. If you don’t have ten minutes to spare, here’s the short version.
If you have a lot of information to share, then video is probably the way to go. Video is perfect for businesses with complex products or services. It’s also a great way to show your audience who you are, what you do and how you solve your customers’ problems.
What photos should I use for the culture page?
This one is a trick question, but it has a real answer: NONE! We always recommend that our clients avoid a culture page. Why? Because every page should showcase your business’s culture. If you do it right, you don’t need a dedicated page. With the combination of words and images, you can accurately show what your business is like behind the scenes.
That said, if you have some smartphone photos from a company event or party, put those on your careers page. In that case, quality doesn’t matter as much as showing how much everyone loves working together.
How much does it cost?
It varies. We know, we know. No one likes that answer. A lot of factors go into photography pricing. Is it in our studio or at your location? Is it product photography or candids around the office? Are we shooting for an hour, or are we covering an entire 4-hour event? All of these things affect the pricing. We’re happy to put together a no-obligation quote for you.
Can I use any image on my website?
Nope. Definitely not. And you shouldn’t want to! You should carefully select photos that are the best representation of your brand. If you’re finding an image on Google Images or a free stock website, we can almost guarantee that the photo doesn’t represent everything that makes your company unique.
Branding aside, if there’s ever a question of whether you have permission to use an image, just don’t use it.
How do I cite an image from a website?
Step one is to make absolutely sure that you have permission to use that photo on your website. If you do, you’ll want to include some information in a caption and the alt text.
- Photographer’s name (if available)
- Image title (if available)
- Source website’s name
- URL of the source page
Do I have permission to use photos from our partners?
We get this question a lot, especially from resellers. Your vendor has fantastic photography of the jewelry you sell in your store. Or maybe you sell industrial equipment, and the manufacturer already has excellent photos. Why can’t you just use those on your site? You’re selling their products, after all.
Well, maybe you can. Maybe you can’t. Just check with your partner and get their permission.
Can I use Canva images on my website?
We keep saying, “Make sure you have permission,” but that’s because it really is that important. For example, don’t use a Canva Pro image if you only have the free version. Otherwise, graphics and images from Canva are free game. Again, just make sure it aligns with your brand and visual language.
Can I use free images on my website?
Sure, if you really want to. But chances are that a ton of other websites out there have that same exact free image. Do you really want the first thing someone thinks when they land on your site to be, “Didn’t I see that photo on their competitor’s website?” We didn’t think so.
Are social media photos public domain?
Definitely not. When someone posts something on social media, they retain the copyright to that image. However, if you have customers sharing photos of your products online, feel free to reach out and get explicit permission to use them! If someone is already taking the time to tell their friends about your product, chances are they’ll happily give you permission.
Are iPhone photos good enough for my website?
Sure! Smartphones have great cameras and can take pretty high-quality images. But (of course, there’s a but) you want to ensure your visual language is clearly defined before you start snapping away on your iPhone. Your visual language sets the tone of your photography. Should they be dark and moody? Bright and colorful? A professional photographer can help you establish a clear visual language for your website. From there, you’ll be able to capture photos that are an accurate representation of your brand.
Why are stock photos so bad?
Where do we even start? They’re cliche, stereotypical, lack originality, are staged and often lack context and emotional depth. We could go on forever.
BUT (this time it’s a good but), there’s a way you can make them a little bit better if you really have to use them. Personalize them to your brand by adding your logo or applying your specific color edit.
What file size should images be for a website?
The short answer: 100 KB to 800 KB
The long answer: One of the most significant factors that impact load speed is the file size of your photos. Your page speed is critical — not only to your website visitors but also to Google. Search engine rankings reward websites that provide a positive user experience.
How do I make website photos load faster on a website?
Please see above. We’re kidding, but the answer is basically the same. You want to make sure that your website images are the correct file size so it doesn’t slow down your website. If you want to learn more about the importance of image file size, check out this podcast episode.
How do I compress images for my website?
There are a ton of reliable image compression tools out there on the web. The biggest thing to take away is not to use a Content Management System (CMS), like WordPress, to resize images for your website. If you rely on your CMS to resize your images for the web, then you’re sacrificing page load speeds. Uploading large image files can also take up space and add bulk to your website unnecessarily. In turn, you’ll have to pay for more space.
How do I optimize photos for my website?
Optimizing photos for your website can improve your page loading times and your user experience. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Choose the right image format. PNG is usually the better option, especially for text, graphics or when transparency is needed. JPEGs can be smaller files if you’re worried about load speeds.
- Resize images appropriately. As we mentioned earlier, avoid uploading large photos and relying on your CMS to scale them down.
- Use alt text. Providing descriptive alt text not only improves accessibility but also helps search engines understand the context of the image.
- Avoid unnecessary movement. Animations and GIFs are usually pretty big file sizes. Consider using video formats or alternative methods hosted on a third-party site, like Vimeo or YouTube.
How do I upload images to my website?
The answer depends on which CMS you’re using. In WordPress, you’ll add them to the media library. In Squarespace, you drop them directly into the area you want to add them.
The easiest way to do it is to send them to our Support Team, and they’ll take care of it for you!
How do I change the image that shows on a website link?
You’ll want to change the featured image for that page or blog post for it to show when you share the website link. Again, this depends on which CMS you’re using.
If you’re sharing a link to social media, each platform has its own rules. Meta is probably the trickiest, but here’s a guide to help you through it.
Can I download all the images from a website?
Disclaimer: Only do this with your own website. Don’t steal photos from someone else. Just don’t.
Now that that is out of the way, there are a couple of reasons why you might want to download all of the photos from your website. Maybe you’re working on a website redesign and need them for the new site. It can also help with content backups, portfolio compilations, research and more.
If you need to download all the images from a website, try using a reputable browser extension or website downloader from the web. There are tons of options out there, all depending on your preferred browser. For Chrome, “Image Downloader” is the way to go. For Firefox, you can try “DownThemAll!”
Why are my website pictures not showing?
This one is a big question because there are countless possible answers. Here are a few to help you start troubleshooting.
- Incorrect File Path or URL: Check if the file path or URL to the images is correct. If there are any typos or mistakes in the file names, that is your answer.
- File Upload Issues: If the image files weren’t uploaded to the CMS correctly, then it can cause the photos not to show up.
- File Permissions: Check the permissions of the image files on your server. They should have the appropriate permissions for the webserver to access them.
- Browser Cache: Clear your browser cache to ensure you’re seeing the most up-to-date version of your website.
- Network Issues: Slow or unstable internet connections can sometimes cause images not to load or take a long time to load.
Have More Questions?
We have more answers. Get in touch with our team, and we’ll be happy to discuss your website photography needs.