Photographs help tell a story. What would you like the photographs on your website to tell? Full-width sliders are still a trend in website design, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down soon so a photo is often one of the first things site visitors will see. Because of this, it’s an important element to get that positive, first impression.
Oftentimes we just select photos subjectively, meaning by what we think looks good. While looks do play a part, it’s important to go above what the photo looks like and also focus on the pure aesthetics of the photo, such as if the photo actually works for your website and if it can help engage users.
We compiled a list of helpful tips on how to choose photos for your website.
1. Reflect the Purpose
If your company or organization has a mission statement, try to think about that when selecting a photograph. Will this photo help visitors better understand what your organization or company is about? For example, Not Rocket Science's mission is "...to ignite transformative business change through the innovative use of emerging technologies." There are also a lot of mentions on different pages about working with clients to achieve those goals. Because of that, you see many photos of people collaborating together, whether it is a group of coworkers or an employee and client.
Bright Star Ranch reflects the purpose of its non-profit through photos on its website.
2. Photo Shape and Orientation
This one is simple; it’s just choosing the correct photo orientation for the space you will have it put into. Landscape photos should be used for wide spots on the website. Portrait photos are good for instances in your content where you would need to align the photo to the left, right, or just for a small section. A square one can be flexible for your needs as well. It is also a good idea to make sure that for cropping, the important elements within the photo will not be cut off when re-sized to your needs.
Portrait, landscape, square, and circular photos are commonly used on websites.
3. Colors Matter
It can be tricky to analyze if the colors in a photo will be beneficial to the design of your website. What are your brand and the message you are trying to get across? Depending on the answer, you may need a more attention-grabbing photo with bright colors, or a more subtle one. It can also depend on its intended use. For example, if you are looking to use photos as a background with text on top of it, you would need to choose a photo that has enough contrast so it doesn’t distract the user from the content that is on top of it. While images can be artificially manipulated in Photoshop with a black overlay or blur, try to keep it simple first without having extra steps involved.
Meals Made Easy has two perfect examples of using colors and contrast in photos in its online ordering menu. This Buffalo Chicken photograph catches the user's attention with bright orange and green colors. In the second menu item, a photo of to-go containers with an opaque black overlay and bold, white text on top serves as an effective image placeholder.
4. Reflect Your Target Audience
Ask yourself who your target audience is. A target audience is a group of people who you identify as being possible customers. Is your target audience professionals in a certain industry? Is your target audience a middle-aged individual living in a certain area? Once you define your target audience, look for photos to match, but there are some things to consider. Your goal is to appeal to someone without being pretentious and stereotyping. Your photos should be inclusive, diverse, and welcoming.
CGB Grain's target audience is farmers and the photography on its website reflects this.
5. Options are Handy
Sometimes when you select a photo you think is perfect in a spot, it doesn't seem to work with the look of your website. It is important to have at least 3-5 options just in case. For example, if you were choosing a city landscape, choose ones that show different times of the day. You may be surprised by which one is the perfect fit.
Having a variety of options can be helpful for the final selection.
It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and it is especially true in website design. Choosing the correct photos for your website can bring many benefits including giving visitors an idea of what your company is like and getting them to take a call to action, such as asking for a quote. Consider your brand, mission statement, colors, target audience, and how the image fits inside your overall website design. With these tips, you are sure to find the perfect fit!