The Importance of Imagery
Images are a critical part of your website design, they sell a service, a lifestyle or an ideology. The phrase ‘ a picture speaks a thousand words’ has never been truer than on a website. They provide an instant and clear message about what you are offering and offer a lasting image in the mind of the reader when they will have probably long forgotten your headline.
There are in summary, three main categories of images that are slightly different in their requirements and the experience they offer the customer.
Products for Sale
From a fountain pen to technology to furniture, if you are selling a product, high-quality photos displaying the product from various angles or showing how it works will create a long-lasting impression on your readers. They may not be ready to buy when they view the site but if they remember you, when they are ready to buy, they will be back.
The sources for these types of images are usually from suppliers that website owners are buying from. Suppliers spend on high-quality imagery for their own websites and of you are a registered seller of their product, in most cases will happily provide you with a download file or a CD. This usually includes furniture, kitchens, fitted bedrooms, jewelry, and in some cases clothing. These types of images sell a lifestyle and helps the customer see the products in their own home and fit into their family life.
If you offer a bespoke service such as a landscaper, builder, plasterer, joiner, or crafter, you will not have the luxury of supplier shots as every job you do is bespoke. In this case, it is crucial to have images of your actual work, with your clients’ permission of course.
Outdoor images are much easier to take as an amateur as you have the help of natural light. Take several images of an area from different angles trying to show the detail of the work you have carried out. Your web designer will usually be able to help with the ideal proportions for the website, e.g. landscape or portrait. Give as many options to your web designer to choose from as possible then they can discard the odd bury shot and use the good ones. Most web designers will go through your images with you and help you choose the best shots.
However if your work is inside a property such as plastering, decorating or a small handmade item such as jewelry or clothing, you either need a good camera and a certain amount of expertise or employ a pro photographer. This isn’t necessarily as expansive as you think, you just have to be organised and have all your products ready for the photographers’ visit or take them on a pre-arranged tour of properties you have worked on.
A good shot will sell your services over and over, so is well worth the investment. One of our clients who is a landscaper employs a pro photographer once a quarter to capture his latest work which is added to the website. The photographer has a tall tripod and can provide overhead shots and various perspectives showing the materials used in close up that an amateur with a phone would never achieve. These images sell my clients’ services and offer new clients inspiration for their new garden design.
During work for any of these types of trades, there is nothing wrong with taking a few shots with a camera phone or tablet. Use these images on your blog as a work in progress article. This will encourage viewers to re-visit to see the finished product.
Professional Service Provider
A third group is the professional service provider such as a business consultant, accountant, solicitor or even medical professional. In these cases, you have the choice of ‘stock images’ from such sites as Shutterstock or iStock Photo or bring in a pro photographer to take images of your offices and team.
Professionally shot images can be used across your website or on other social media and marketing print materials. A good set of images can convey a feeling of trust in customers as they can see who they are speaking to and gives an impression of your company culture.
If you choose to use some stock images, spend time looking through libraries searching under different keywords to find photos that have not been used over and over and ones that reflect your company. Don’t choose ones that just look pretty, choose something that is relevant to your business.
Photography in web design is a crucial element bring your website come to life, look professional, and most importantly, tell the story of what your company offers to a client.