A Guide to Website Stock Photography
March 01, 2011 at 1:44 PM
You’ve seen this before. You go onto a website. It has professional web design – good clear menu tabs, good use of colours and fonts. Your eye moves down the page, and there it is – line after line of text – it just keeps going.
Good content is vital to a quality website. But good content that’s not read is about as useful as no content at all.
People are visual, and due to the low involvement mindset of surfing the web, you need to make people want to read your website copy. This is where some well chosen stock imagery can help make the visual aspect of your website design come alive. If done well, it will incentivise visitors to stick around and keep reading that good copy you’ve spent so much time writing.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, stock imagery is professionally designed images, icons, or photography, that can be purchased royalty-free for a very reasonable one off download charge. There are websites with literally millions of photos, icons, graphics, and videos, across almost every topic you can think of. From people showing every emotion under the sun, to shots of your local city, it’s all there and available for you to use in your website design.
So let’s take a look at how you can use this stuff in practice.
These are great for giving visual representation of a web page. Let’s say you need a prices page, how it works page, and portfolio page for your site. In your content space you have three buttons with these titles to direct people off to these pages. Now you purchase an “icon set” – a series of icons in the same style. Now you put the “$” icon for the prices page, the “?” icon for the How It Works page, and the briefcase icon for the Portfolio page. This makes the web page more aesthetically appealing, and visually shows people what each page is.
Stock Photography can be used a variety of ways. The one drawback with this sort of photography, is it can make a website look cheesy or inauthentic. Having a stock photo with a bunch of obviously-not-from-your-company people with their arms in the air doing an enthusiastic corporate cheer isn’t the way to go.
The trick is to actually choose shots that look good, but look like they could have been taken by a professional photographer for your business.
Let’s say you’re a plumber. A stock photo of the city you work in shows people you’re local. Some well chosen shots of dripping taps or some hands fitting the drain who visually what you do, without looking like they’re obviously stock shots.
If you’re on a limited budget, and don’t have a logo for your business, these designs work to get a quality design at an affordable price. You can search by industry and find a design that works as a building block. You can then change things like colours and fonts to line something up with your objectives. This can be a good place-holder for start-ups, and can do the job until you have the budget for professional logo and brand development services.
A text heavy website just looks plain daunting to visitors. Stock Imagery has the potential to provide a strong visual element to your website design, that backs up your quality website content. Use your creativity and choose wisely with this stuff. If done well it can get your website design looking great on a tight budget.