A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Images for Your Website

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A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Images for Your Website

You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, that definitely holds true for your website and and blog as well. One way to increase engagement and conversions on your website is by using images. However, it is only certain types of images that will be effective in doing so.  Choosing the right images for your website can often prove to be a difficult and time consuming process.

Here are a few simple guidelines to help you choose the right images to help engage your audience:

Natural Vs. Staged

I suppose there was a time back in the day, when artificially lit sets and over bright smiling people were considered a great idea, but that time has definitely passed. Today’s potential customer has been over-saturated with too perfect and staged stock shots. What people are looking for these days is honesty. The natural/candid style of shot is quickly becoming the preferred style of image for many sites. The reason for this is not just a contrary swing in style; it’s a natural choice for those who are looking for authenticity. If you’re using stock photos that are too polished and insincere looking, it casts a poor light on to your business. It gives off a feeling of insincerity and falseness that may drive potential clients away.

Out of date

When you’ve perused the millions of photos on either pay or free stock sites, you’ll see that some have aged gracefully, and some have not.

If you’re showing a scene with someone at a computer screen, be sure it is a recent image. Nothing says ‘I’m not current’ like an old fashioned monitor sitting on a desk. Or, someone using a 10 year old flip-phone. Images of a family can be timeless, but watch out for telltale signs of family photos that are clearly from years ago.

Seen this one before

Last but not least, we should talk about popular stock images.

When you’re using a site like ‘istock’ or ‘Getty’, one of the filters you can use is ‘popularity’. This means that you can select photos based on how often they’ve been used before. I would advise against that, unless the image is for something benign like a photo of a calculator or something inconsequential.

If you’re looking for anything that will be used as a feature image, remember, someone somewhere has possibly chosen the same image. There is nothing quite as awkward as seeing an image you’re using for your site, also being used by the dentist down the street, or in a piece of junk-mail, or worse, on your competitors site.

Be original. Try and use images that you’re confident your competition isn’t using.

Hiring a photographer and getting original photos is always the best solution, but second best is using something that both looks good and is singular to your site alone.

…But where do I find the right images?

1) Sources for Free Images

Once upon a time, all photos had to be purchased, but things have changed in recent years. There are many sources for photographs and images that cost you nothing, or very little (sometimes just a link to the photographers webpage).

www.freeimages.com

This site has been around now for a very long time, and you can find a lot of great images here. The main difficulty with this (as with other free sites) is quality. For every fantastic photo, there can often be quite a large number of not-so-great photos. As with anything else in life, you sometimes have to search for a bit to find the gold.

https://pixabay.com

Another great site for free images is Pixabay.com. I’ve personally had a lot of success finding great images here. If you’re looking for something here, whether it’s images of luxury, happy families or shots of business people, you’ll find lots of great shots here.

http://compfight.com/

This site is a bit different. Compfight sources all of its photos from flickr.com. For this site, you need to tweak the settings from ‘any license’ to ‘commercial’. Once that is done, search away. You’ll find the photos here are of a much higher caliber than some of the other free sites, and that’s due to Flickr’s reputation as one of the leading photography portals in the world.

Rather than payment, use of these photos is by accreditation. You simply need to include a link on your page to the photographer’s Flickr page; this is shown to you when you click the photo.

2) Sources for Paid Images

http://www.istockphoto.com/

This site is a great source for photos and images. Years ago, it was much like Flickr, but has since been bought by Getty Images, the leading stock company in the world…. which leads us to…

http://www.gettyimages.com

The big time. Getty is just about the biggest player on the block for photography. They also own most of the other stock companies…

http://www.thinkstockphotos.ca

This is another site owned by Getty images. This is the site that I would use the most often and would recommend to anyone. It compiles all the stock companies owned by Getty, so you’re getting the best of the best.

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Now that you know where to find the images and have an understanding of what constitutes a great modern and engaging photo, all it takes now is some time. Although you’re not supposed to judge a book by it cover, we all know that we do. Take the time to properly choose the right images that best represent your business to your customers and prospects. A well-picked image will be remembered and will reflect well on you, but a poorly chosen image will also be remembered, and potentially reflect negatively on your business.

 

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