Images Part 1: Adding interest to your website
Just in case you want to skip ahead to a specific topic in this post use the links below.
- Taking images from a Google search
- Challenges with stock images
- When to hire a photographer
- Royalty free image options
- The Do It Yourself option
- Next blog post: How to resize images for your website [Take me there now]
Images on a website are a great way to break up content, show your message in a more creative manner, add visual interest to a blog post, as well as simply economically spruce up a tired looking website.
Taking images from a Google search
By the way that last option is actually a very bad idea as you have no idea what copyright laws are on the images you’re taking from the internet. On a few occasions clients have given me images for their site and I asked them where they got them. They said they googled for images and grabbed the one(s) that worked best for them. Unless you have the rights to use the image, please don’t grab images from the internet.
If a stock image is found on your site and you cannot proof you paid for it, there will be fines. A few years back I heard of a few people getting fines of $500 US and more from stock image providers that were cracking down on people using their images illegally.
Challenges with stock images
Getting back to what images to use, the recent trend has been that stock images are not a good idea to use. There have been rumours that search engines don’t like them but worse than that people are getting wise to the fact that the picture of the happy family in a perfect park with the perfect weather are just not real! It’s already hard enough to earn the trust of your website visitors that showing them photos of something fake doesn’t help the situation.
I still believe that stock images have a time and place on a website and personally I think that having at least some image is better than nothing at all.
When to hire a photographer
I’ll be honest only once in my 14 years in business has a client ever gotten custom photography done for their website. The images were with real people in real situations that pertained to their business and they were fabulous. Not everyone has the budget to get photos taken for their business in this manner.
At the very least, I always recommend that staff photos are always taken by a photographer because this sets the tone for your level of professionalism. There is nothing worse than a photo of a staff member that looks like it was taken at a wedding a few years ago or might have been a selfie used as a profile image on a dating site.
Royalty free image options
In response to stock images getting a bit of a bad name, there are bunch of royalty free image websites now on the scene online. I can tell you that years ago finding any kind of good image for commercial use was a challenge and happily this is no longer the case. You have lots of options. I have include a list below of some royalty free image websites. As with anything it is always a good idea to read their image disclaimers to make sure you’re using the image in the right way.
The Do It Yourself option
Far be it for me to tell you that you cannot take images on your camera and use them on your website. If you have the creative eye, good photography equipment and can take a photo that doesn’t look “homemade” then that’s perfect. Feel freel to go that route.
Too many times I have seen photos (of products, people, you name it) that lack the attention to detail that a photographer would have. Most tell me to use the images as they are “good enough” but when it comes to images on your website they have to be good. People are very visual and you really want to capture their attention with your images, not give them a reason to doubt your product/service.