Good photography can make the difference between the life and the death of your website.
Last week, we started day one of a three-day photo shoot with a client. In the end, we will choose almost 60 pictures to use on their website and in other promotional materials. It got me thinking: I wish that all of our clients could have access to wonderful photography to use on their websites. I know that’s not possible for everyone, but far too often I find that most of my clients overlook the photography entirely.
Why does this matter? Because good photography can make the difference between the life and the death of your website. Everyone knows that a picture is worth a 1,000 words, but there are some actual tangible benefits to using good photography on your website. Here are a few that I see every day:
Simplify Your Message
One image can help focus your message down to its essence. It forces you to think about the one thing you really want to tell your customers. You need this simplification to really reach people — if you just have pictures of everything you offer, your site looks messy, more like a page out of an I Spy book than an effective message.
Control the User’s Focus
Every project has goals. To meet those goals, we need users to take action. Sometimes those actions are the same actions the user wants to take. For example, an Add to Cart button: That’s a common action that both the seller and the buyer are looking for. But sometimes getting a user to take an action like gathering their information takes some convincing. Images do a great job of grabbing attention and selling users on the benefits of taking an action.
Increase Conversion Rate
By simplifying the message and honing in the user’s focus, good photography can make a big difference on your site’s conversion rates. Whether that means adding pictures of food with an Order Now button or showing images of your work and linking to a contact form, good photography/imagery is a must.
Get a Return on Your Budget
When you’re thinking about a website redesign, it’s easy to overlook photography in the budget. Sometimes it seems easier to reduce the price of your redesign by just taking the photography out. That’s a mistake, but don’t worry — you don’t have to spend your entire budget on good photography. There are some good middle-of-the-road options that can work. Below are some things to consider when thinking about photography for your site.
Stock photography is considered any image that has already been captured and might satisfy your needs. It’s a cheap option and it’s that way for a reason: Stock images do a poor job of representing your company’s individuality and more often than not, your users will be able to tell if an image is specific to your company or not. If your product or service is something tangible, stock photography will not work for you, but it’s an option for some companies when changing their web design.
Stock images come in different sizes, so be sure to check with whoever’s designing your site (Hopefully it’s us!) to make sure you pay for an image that’s big enough. Also, when looking for stock images, make sure you know if you’re looking at a royalty-free image or not. Many of the top quality images will require you to license the photo to be used for specific places. If you don’t want to worry about licenses and rights, search only royalty-free and not rights managed. Or you can hire a web design company like us to help you choose images for you!
Hire a Photographer
This doesn’t always have to be expensive. Of course, if you’re looking for the best photographers, they are going to charge accordingly, but if you really only need a few product photos to give your users an idea of what they’re buying, that can be cheaper.
A few things to keep in mind when you hire a photographer: Just because you hired a photographer doesn’t mean you own your images. In an effort to keep prices down for exceptional images, photographers license out the images they take for specific uses. For example, the license might only include usage for the web and not for print or other advertisements.
Before you sign a contract with a photographer, make sure you understand how they license their photos. You might get lucky and find a photographer that will give you all rights to use the photographs however and whenever you want, but often you’ll have to pay for that privilege.
Good Photos Make Great Websites
We encourage our clients to use photography, and we always offer it as part of our contracts, but we’re also committed to finding the best solution for each client. Making it a part of your plan from the beginning allows designers to work with photographers to be sure you get the best images, the best return on your investment, an increase in traffic to your website, and the best website possible for your customers and your business.