Being visual - why good photography matters on your website
Posted on 2nd September 2018 at 14:36
The photos and images on your website are often the first impression someone forms of your business. We're here to make sure that impression is a good one...
We like our websites to look nice.
It's one of those things, having spent the majority of our working lives in design we know what works and what looks good.
And while we know our websites perform really well, it helps that they look amazing too. That's where good quality photography can really make a difference.
Take a look at the options below to see what we think works well and also how to avoid falling foul of copyright law!
Option 1: Bespoke Photography
In our opinion, this is the ideal solution. A professional photographer comes to your business and takes a wide range of photos that cover your products, your services and your staff. We can put you in touch with local photographers and we're happy to brief them on what we'd like to see and how the shots will be used. You'll also have a library of images you can then use on your website, as well as marketing literature, advertising, display, exhibitions and social media.
Professional photography starts from £195 including processing, with a typical half day shoot at around £350.
Below are a few examples of professional photography that we've commissioned for some of our clients' websites.
Option 2: Paid Stock Photography
Stock photography doesn't have to be a dirty word. It's not all about groups of smiling people in offices giving high fives or staring meaningfully into the camera. There's some really great imagery available for you to use throughout your website.
As part of the it'seeze web subscription, you get access to Getty Images - a highly respected stock photo site. Before we submit your website to be built, you can select a number of images from the Getty site that reflect your business. These may be fun and funky background images, illustrations or something that's relevant to your industry.
Getty Image Library - image examples
Stock images used on client site for SwimSkills
Stock images used on client site for GoHire Offshore
Getty Image Library - image examples
Option 3: Create Your Own Images
Good with a camera? Know someone who is? The results from domestic digital SLR cameras and even smartphones can be amazing. If you're a fairly competent photographer you can look to produce your own images for your website. Often a little bit of work in Photoshop or Lightroom helps to add sparkle to the finished shots.
Are they as good as professional shots? No, not typically as they often lack the lighting, skills and creativity that professional photographers have. However they can be ideal for web and social media. If you're up to it, we'd recommend you have a go!
Examples of non-professional photos produced in-house by it'seeze Hull
Option 4: Free Stock Photography
While the options aren't as varied or comprehensive as using a paid stock photo site, there are a few great websites out there that offer royalty-free photos for you to use.
The first thing to make sure of is that any free stock sites you access have a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licence. This licence allows photographers to opt out of copyright protection, meaning they can release their work into the public domain for you and others to use without acknowledging or giving credit.
You also need to check that any images are free for commercial use, leaving you in no doubt that you're able to legally use the photos on your own website.
Here are a few free sites that we like that have CC0 licences for commercial use:
Pros: You get high quality photography for free. Cons: You may well see the same image on lots of other sites, meaning you don't stand out from your competition.
Option 5: There is no option 5...
Whatever you do, don't fall foul of the law. Seen something you like on another site or on Google images? Leave it there. Seriously. It's not worth the risk. It's quite easy for stock photo companies to track image use and investigate potential copyright infringements.
A few years ago we met with someone who'd built a website for a client using a free web build tool (you know the ones). They'd used some images they'd found online with the intention of replacing them. A couple of months later the company he'd built the site for received a copyright notice with links to the URL along with the licence cost for the image. Needless to say the cost ran into the thousands.
Here's a few pointers:
Assume that all pictures are copyrighted - wherever you find them.
Make sure you have rights to the photo before putting it online, especially if you're a business.
Check if the clearance rights for the photo carry over to other digital platforms — not just your website.
If you receive a letter for improper use of images or content, take it seriously. Don't ignore it - immediately remove the images.
Don’t rely on 'fair use' as a get out.
At it'seeze Hull we're here to help and guide you through selecting the right images for your site, from recommending photographers through to taking images in-house. We can also sit with you and look at stock images that we think work best for your business.
For any help or advice on a new website or web project, contact us to find out more.
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