Looks matter when people land on your page. Back in pre-internet days, people went ‘window shopping’, just enjoying looking at the goods which were artfully arranged in the shop window. If shops looked shoddy, well, people wouldn’t want to venture inside!
This principle can also be applied to websites. In fact, bad photographs can actually make or break a website, whether it’s an ecommerce site, or a simple business card site. There is actually a reason for this, which we shall briefly explain…
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Here’s the science part
You see, people respond differently to images than they do to the written word. It’s just how our brains are wired. Our brains decipher images instantly, whilst text is decoded in a linear sequential manner. So, when you are armed with this knowledge, you can see why good quality photos are an essential element of any professional website design.
How do I make a good first impression?
As soon as a visitor lands on your page, they make a snap decision about the credibility of your brand, we all do this; even if it is a subconscious decision. The overall layout, text and images all contribute to this. In fact, this is why so many web designers advise their clients to use custom images from a reputable professional photographer. This may sound expensive for small to medium sized businesses, but it really is an investment in your future.
What about free stock images?
Whilst free stock photos are available, they tend to be bland and rather boring – which is why they are free. They also crop up on a lot of other websites. Nevertheless, you want to make sure that visitors are aware of your brand’s unique selling points right? Being visual creatures, we are more likely to pay attention to something that’s different, it makes it more memorable. This in turn, makes your business more memorable.
Purchasing good quality stock photos is a better option!
You can also buy good quality stock photos however, and there are several leading sites with a huge range of subject matter to choose from.
I’ve found a photo I like on someone else’s site, can I just use that?
If you see a picture you like on someone else’s’ website, you can’t just grab it for you own, as you could be infringing copyright laws.
8 hacks for getting it right for your website
By now you might be wondering how people react to different kinds of photos, and which photos would work best on your site, so here’s a quick guide:
1. People react badly to poor quality photos. They look unprofessional and this is particularly harmful for any kind of e-commerce business, where shoppers want to be able to see exactly what you are selling!
2. People like pictures of people, especially attractive smiling ones, with the exception of the health and beauty, cosmetic surgery and diet industry. In which case, before and after photos can really help to promote your products or services. Just make sure they are genuine and have not been overly manipulated in Photoshop.
3. Whilst people respond well to photos of people, do try to avoid the ‘deadly’ sin of using stock photo clichés. These include the random gaggle of business people gathered round a folder, the handshake and the attractive lady with the headset. So many businesses are guilty of this; make sure you’re not one of them!
4. Choose quality over quantity, especially if you are on a tight budget and you are hiring a professional photographer to provide you with custom images.
5. Sometimes less is more. A couple of large, striking custom images can create far more impact than lots of smaller ones. It also makes your page look less cluttered and creates a more elegant overall design. However, those who are selling goods online will need plenty of good quality photos of their products.
6. It’s essential to use positive imagery.
7. Your images should always be relevant to the written content on your page.
8. Finally, all images you use must reflect the nature of your brand and its core messages.
So, hopefully, this has explained why choosing the right kind of good quality images from reputable sources is essential to your businesses’ web presence. How many websites have you surfed onto, only to be immediately turned off because you instantly perceive the company as flaky and unreliable due to their poor quality photos? Follow our tips and advice to ensure that’s not your website.