Choosing the right website images is difficult. In 2019, it goes without saying that if you own a business, whatever the size, you will need a website. Having a website is one of the most effective and convenient ways to communicate with your customers, to promote your brand and essentially to sell your product or service. A website can make your business look more professional and trustworthy. For some businesses, it is important to include images on their website. This could be to showcase their products, staff or offices – in any case, there are important things to consider when choosing the right website images. Read on to find out the most relevant points.
Above everything else: Quality!
It doesn’t matter if your website images have a great composition or well-designed vectors of your sales statistics: if the images are of low quality, they can make your entire website, and consequently your business, seem unprofessional. If the images aren’t high resolution, consider finding alternatives. As the image will change in size depending on the screen you are viewing the website on, another reason to double check the resolution is to avoid pixilation.
Be original and unique
Your business is unique and your brand has been tailored around it, and ideally, this should be communicated through your website. Using cliché stock images of smiling people standing together and looking at a computer screen can be perceived as unimaginative and even affect the trustworthiness of your business. This doesn’t mean that you cannot use stock photos – just avoid the obviously staged ones. It might be worth investing in licensed stock images, or even better, a professional photographer. An experienced photographer will be able to get the best out of your staff, offices and products, and having authentic photos on your website will underline the trustworthiness of your business.
This point is important, as emotion often influence the consumer’s purchasing decisions. Images of people using a product and seeming to be satisfied, excited, impressed or simply happy can make others wanting to identify with those people and therefore guide them to buy the same product. Using images in which people seem candid and ‘caught in the moment’ will reinforce the quality of the product or service your business is offering.
Involve the target audience
Another point to consider is using images that feature people similar to your target audience. If your business aims to attract young people in their twenties, it would be counterproductive to show seniors on your website, and vice versa. As mentioned above, being able to identify with the images will make it more likely for consumers to purchase your product or make use of the offered service. Apart from that, approaching your consumers directly by creating a call-to-action atmosphere in your images will reinforce the decision to purchase, too.
As mentioned above, in most cases it is best to use natural images for a business website. Staging a picture can create a feeling of inauthenticity among the consumers. This does not mean that when a photographer takes pictures of the staff they shouldn’t be advised to dress smartly or to seem sophisticated – at the end of the day, you want your customers to see that your staff is happy and professional, your product flawless and your office inviting and organised. However, if you take a look at the two pictures below, you will notice how the left image seems like a snapshot taken at a random moment of a normal day at the office. The right image, on the other hand, seems to be intentionally created to communicate a relaxed office atmosphere, happy staff and diversity. Although this might genuinely be the case in that office, the picture looks staged and therefore inauthentic. Why is everyone gathered around a laptop laughing? Are they actual employees or hired models? It is often better to have a charismatic picture of your own staff in a real situation, rather than creating a sense of fakeness. If you are worried that you won’t be able to create great natural pictures, then hire a professional photographer to help you. You can also let your staff know in advance that pictures will be taken, so that they have time to make sure they will present the best versions of themselves. A good example for candid and authentic images is our client Citibase. On their website, Citibase use a range of great images, which work well together and on their own. Check it out!
Keep it consistent
If you have multiple pages on your website, loosing oversight on the different images can happen quickly. However, it is important to have a consistent style throughout the website. This means having a similar atmosphere, a similar edit and colours and considered sizing. Pictures that seem to have been randomly put together could communicate a lack of effort and care from the business’ side.
Make it related to your brand
If you are a young and relaxed start up, have quirky images. If you want to be perceived as a more serious and traditional brand, make sure your images reflect that. An example:
The man on the left seems to be having fun and working in a relaxed atmosphere. The image is likely to be on the website of a young and modern business, for example a start-up. The man on the right, however, seems to work in a more traditional, formal business – perhaps a lawyers’ firm or something similar. Both images are good, and appropriate for the different businesses, but they might not work in a different context.
Don’t overdo it
Consider the number of website images you’re using. Less can be more in some cases – you don’t want to flood the consumer with unnecessary imagery. Are the images you are using appropriate in terms of content, colours and atmosphere? Do they show relevant scenes or information, or do they just look pretty but serve no other purpose? If you lack the text to fill blank spaces on your website, consider changing the layout slightly, instead of using irrelevant images. Apart from that, it is important to have astatically pleasing imagery – flashy or bold images can be distracting when scrolling through the website. Unless it definitely fits your brand, try to use calm tones or black and white images.
Website images: in conclusion
Although these points are a good guideline to stick to when creating and choosing the right images for your website, the process of finding the right pictures often varies from business to business. As this process can be tricky and time consuming, it is therefore worth investing in a professional photographer or a design agency. Especially a designer can help create a consistent visual language and advise you to choose certain images that work well with the overall visual presentation. Although this will cost you a bit of extra money, it is definitely worth it considering the level of sophistication great imagery will give your business.