The jury may be out on what makes a good website truly great, but there are several components that you really do need to invest in, in order for your website to have the visual impact it deserves. One of the most important and yet sadly, the most overlooked elements of a website is the photography.
Even the best website in the world will falter if its images are not up to standard. This can mean anything from blurry, low resolution or amateur images, poorly-resized photos to inappropriate use of images.
Investing in a new website is not something that should be taken lightly. Careful decisions should be made when it comes to design, layout, responsiveness, usability, content etc, but the decisions should not stop at text content If you are planning to overhaul your website, or you’re just starting out with a new business, make sure that you have the basics in place; from professional branding and identity to a clear company visions, goals, and of course a fair-sized portfolio of imagery relating to your business.
Particularly in the case of an e-commerce website, high-quality images are just as important as accurate ones. If you are keen to sell your products, then you must be keen to catalogue them all with high-quality, professional photographs that show your product clearly and from multiple angles wherever possible. An image taken from Google of a similar product will not do for your customers. If you can prove that you have taken the time and the expense to showcase your products, your customers will trust you, and will be far more likely to make the purchase.
Use amateur photos, and not only do you fail to make an emotional connection with your audience, but you can also look unprofessional, harming your reputation and putting off potential customers.
You can of course choose to use high-quality stock imagery where you may have gaps in your own resources, but these should be used sparingly, chosen carefully and with your business branding, style and target audience in mind.
Here are Zheta International’s top tips for using photography in your website:
1. Invest in a Professional Photographer
Spending money on a photoshoot or two will serve you well in the long run, as you’ll obtain a wide selection of images, not only for your website, but for use on your social media channels, online and print advertising, promotions and more. Make sure that they are the right photographer for you; don’t choose a portrait photographer to take images of your products unless you’re sure they can deliver. Be clear about what you require.
2. Consistency is Key
Just as your branding and your company’s vision, consistency is key. Stick to one photographer, or one stock image website if you need to. Do not mix and match professional photography with stock images and amateur photography as your inconsistencies will clearly show, and this could affect the trust relationship you have built up with your customers.
3. Avoid Stock Images
If you can use images of your team, use these instead of stock images. Within a beautifully designed Team page, take the opportunity to show off who you are, and let your customers get to know you long before they walk in your door.
If you own a bar, restaurant, hotel or similar, be true to your customers and don’t mislead them with inaccurate images of someone else’s menu, or a stock image of a guest room that has no similarities to your own.
4. Don’t (Ever) Use Images Without Permission
Never take images from Google or someone else’s website without express written permission, and always credit the Photographer and the original source of the image.
5. Amateur Photography is Easy to Spot
Using amateur photos can make your website look like a part-time investment or a hobby, and quite simply, bad images will make you look bad.
Beautiful photos please your designers, position your brand as a professional and trustworthy entity, and impress your potential customers with a fresh, beautiful and reliable website.