Whenever we are working on website projects with a client there is one issue that comes up time and time again – CONTENT. It is one thing to have a cutting edge website design but it is the content that really tells your story and gets your message across. For content, read images! Don’t get me wrong, the words are important but too many words just overwhelms the visitor and, let’s face it, they just don’t read it! Photographs and images can open up a website to your market – and encourage people to read more to get detail. Here are my top tips for images on your website:
1. You can’t have too many photos
I don’t mean you should be adding endless pictures to your site, I mean get into the habit of taking pictures regularly. Even the most haphazard photographer can play the numbers game and get some useable shots simply by taking a lot. Building a portfolio of photos gives you more choice and will mean you are more likely to have teh picture you want when you need it
2. Smartphone cameras are OK
I’m sure this will have some professionals up in arms but for some website content it is better to have a reasonable photo taken on a smartphone than no photo at all! Good professional photographers command not-insignificant fees which most businesses can’t afford every day. You probably have your phone in your pocket right now and the latest phone cameras are not-half bad. Give it a go, you may surprise yourself.
3. Sometimes a professional photographer is the best option
If you want a photo to be more impactful than a simple product shot then there are times when it is worth paying for a professional photographer. Home page and header images on your website are the first things that people see so they need to get the right message over. In practice a mix of professional shots for the more high-profile images and in-house shots for more functional images can be a cost-effective approach.
4. Keep images simple
Don’t try to get too much in one image. It is better to have more, smaller, simpler pictures than one big image – and it is perfectly possible to combine simple images into a montage with great effect. Also try taking the same image from different angles, with flash, without flash etc. You may be surprised what a difference this can make.
5. Use your smartphone to take panorama shots
With computer screens getting ever wider there is a growing demand for wide yet shallow images for homepage banners etc. The panorama setting on your smartphone is a great tool for this. Try a panorama shot of your office or factory. You can get some interesting results.
6. Timelapse – the alternative video
Video makes powerful web content but good video can be time consuming to create and editing takes some experience and knowledge. However, new smartphones often have a timelapse option (or you can get an App) and timelapse can make interesting content of ordinary activity, comings and goings in an office or yard, something being built the possibilities are endless. Get creative! I think there are 2 rules:
- Keep your camera absolutely steady (this is critical for a decent result)
- Keep your finished film short – less than 30 seconds
7. Product shots – plain, contrasting background
Cutting the main subject of an image out from the background can look really good but if the background is cluttered and complex, the process can be time consuming and challenging. For product shots, get into the habit of taking pictures against a plain background of a contrasting colour. The simple background is then much easier to remove using photo-editing software
8. A Photoshop specialist can make a real difference
Following on from #7, there are lots of Photoshop specialists offering their services on the internet and if you are using Photoshop, getting good results is MUCH easier if you know what you are doing! If you have photo-editing software, by all means give it a go but it can be frustrating. Spending a bit on a specialist can be much cheaper than paying for a photographer and the impact they can have on your smartphone photo can be spectacular! Remember, content is king and the king of content is images. By mixing in-house shots with the work of specialists you can get the best balance of quality and cost Happy snapping!