The appearance of any website is critical to its success and functionality. The era of acceptable “ugly” websites has long since passed. Website owners must now push their designs further to get the most from the graphics and images they use. Aside from the actual copy on the page, images and photography are the main features of your website that help convert visitors into buyers. And when it comes to finding the right photography, stock photography is often the best choice. You get access to quality work, at a fraction of the cost of commissioning work on your own.
Stock photography is images and photographs with rights that can be bought for commercial use. Any image, like any other creative work, is generally considered the intellectual property of the individual responsible for creating it. As a website owner, you should either use your own images, or those you have license to use for commercial purposes. Stock photography helps you do the latter: it enables you to benefit from professional quality photography without the need for your own photographer.
For web design purposes, stock photography is perfect. These images tend to be created in highly professional settings, using the best of equipment and professional models to create a glossy-looking end product. This, in turn, allows you to ensure your website looks as professional as possible, through guaranteeing that the appearance of your photos will be industry standard.
Stock photography tends to be available across a range of different subjects, and there will be images available for low cost that can be used for a business in any field. But there may be some circumstances in which it would be preferable to attempt to take photographs yourself, or to hire a professional photographer to do the job for you.
Photography is a highly specialized area of interest, and a professional shot can make a world of difference. There is no easy way to guarantee you’ll get the picture you want, even if you do hire a professional – it takes skills and years of study to fully command photography as a medium. However, if you want to use photography to improve your design, it is essential that the images you capture are good enough to speak for your site.
Images should be used to pick out colors from your web design, and should reflect the overall look and feel of your website for best results. There is no point in using stock photography of a businessman in a suit if you are selling ice-cream. It is all about finding or taking the right images for your design, so that photography (in whichever guise) serves to improve rather than detract from your website design.
The right choice of photography can make even the worst website seem much more professional. As a part of the wider design job, finding the best possible imagery for your site should not be underestimated in its importance to the overall finish and perception of your business online.
header image courtesy of Moyan_Brenn