This article was ghostwritten for Gnu World Media. It is written in British English.
Bad photography is a sure way to ruin a great website. Low-quality photos give the impression that your company is unprofessional, even if your website itself is well-designed and informative.
There are a number of options when it comes to choosing photos for your website; however, your first consideration should be what you want to showcase on your website. If you need photos of your products, staff and premises, it’s strongly recommended that you hire a professional photographer. If you need more generic shots, you can look at stock photo websites to find what you need.
We take a look at each of the options when it comes to sourcing photos as well as the pros and cons of each.
Stock imagery sites are popular primarily for the range of photos on offer. There are few subject matters that they don’t cover; however, if you have a very specific subject or composition you’re looking for, it might not always be possible to find it. For example, they might have plenty of photographs of pot plants but none in a red pot, which might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Stock imagery comes into its own with generic photos. If you don’t need very specific photos such as product shots, then you’re bound to find what you’re looking for and usually at a reasonable price.
Of course, stock images can also be known for their corniness factor, so if you do go this route, try to avoid images that might be considered silly or unprofessional. It also helps to consider your target market, especially when choosing photos with people in them.
Another issue with stock photography is that they tend to be overused. You might find the perfect photo for your front page only to discover that it’s already been used multiple times on other sites. This is a dead giveaway to your clients that the photo is generic and doesn’t relate directly to your business, which can come across as disingenuous.
One way to get around this is to visit free stock imagery sites, such as Freepik or Pexels. They made not have the range of photos that the bigger sites have, but they should have less frequently used stock photos to choose from.
The main benefit of hiring a professional photographer is being able to dictate exactly what you want. Whether it’s shots of your premises, your services or your products, you’ll be able to brief the photographer on style, composition and subject matter.
It will also be an opportunity to get photos of your staff and their day-to-day interactions. Photos of your actual premises and staff will always help promote your business online better than generic stock photos.
Generally, you’ll also get multiple shots from a number of angles from the photographer so you won’t have to use the same shot over and over for marketing purposes. The photos you receive will also be the best quality out of all the available options, meaning you can use them across all applications, including large format print materials such as billboards.
Of course, the major downside of hiring a professional is the expense. If you want good quality photos, you’ll have to shell out a few thousand. Shoots can also be lengthy and disruptive, potentially eating into your day and affecting productivity.
Taking your own photos
It is possible to take your own photos of course, especially if you have some know-how and own a DSLR camera. If you don’t, there are still ways to take some decent photos with a good quality camera or even a decent smartphone camera.
While this should always be a last resort, if there are constraints that make professional photography impossible, there are a few tricks to making even smartphone photography look pretty good.
Higher end smartphones tend to have pretty good cameras and downloading a photography app, such as MuseCam or DSLR Camera Pro, can unlock additional features that can help you take better photos. It’s also a good idea to avoid using the onboard flash. Rather takes photos with good natural light whenever possible. Direct sunlight is not advisable but natural light coming through a big window can yield excellent results.
Try to use a tripod if possible too, to get the best focus, and tap on the screen to tell the camera where you would like the focus to be. Another good practice is not to zoom in on the subject but rather crop the photo afterwards if you need to. This helps retain the quality.
With the addition of a few external lenses, your phone can act as a good substitute for a professional camera in a pinch. There are also a number of apps you can download to edit your photos after you take them, improving the colours, contrast and even adding subtle filters.
At Gnu World, we help companies promote and grow their brand through effective online digital marketing. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your brand grow.