Great photography can make or break your website. It is common for websites to use a large image on the home page. After all, it is the first impression potential customers get when visiting. See if your site is breaking any of these rules for online photographs:
- It isn’t yours.
Do you own that image or did you pull it from a Google image search? Worse, did you upload a Word document graphic? Not only can you get in copyright trouble for, let’s face it, stealing another person’s property, but it also prevents customers from connecting with your brand.
- It is low resolution.
What is resolution? It is the amount of data that comprises each image file. You can quickly tell an image that is enlarged beyond its resolution’s capabilities because it will look pixelated (you’ll be able to see small squares or rough textures where it should be smooth).
- It is irrelevant.
If you are in the coffee bean business, it may not make much sense to have a large photo of a smiling woman staring directly at customers from the home page.
- It is ugly.
You can quickly tell a professional photograph from an amateur photograph. Some telltale signs include the improper use of flash, bad lighting, poor composition and lackluster focus.
So once you’ve scrubbed all those terrible images from your mind (and your hardrive … oh and your website), how can you get high quality photographs for your website?
Seriously consider hiring a professional. It goes without saying that if you hire a pro, you will more likely get pro quality work that you can not only use online, but also in any print materials down the road. If you can’t afford a true “pro,” consider enlisting a local photography student. Their rates will be cheaper and you’ll help them hone their craft as they grow to be a professional.
If you’re determined to take your own photographs, here are a few tips:
- Be mindful of light
Natural light is always best. Kihya Beitz describes the best photographs as having the main source of light in front of the subject with a good balance of contrast between shadows and highlights.
- Focus on focus
You could have the best shot in the world, but when you get back to your computer you find that your subject is blurry. Many cameras allow you to select the area on which you’d like to focus. Be sure to preview your images before leaving your “photo shoot” to ensure you got what you need.
- Change your perspective
Beitz recommends changing the location of the camera while shooting to get better and more interesting shots. Consider shooting from different angles or moving the camera to get different sides of your subject.
- Emotions rule
KISSmetrics’ No. 1 rule for boosting your site’s user experience is by bringing out positive emotions. Find an image that is going to convey the idea that customers will feel good after having done business with you. In the end, it is all about the customer. Make them feel comfortable by using images that convey meaning rather than simply decorate the website.
Beautiful photography can make a world of difference for your business. It is well worth the investment.