High quality photography can be the difference between a bland website and an extremely impressive one. Getting high-quality photos for your business can be time consuming and difficult, however it is essential to make your website look professional, refined, and trust-worthy.
There are 2 main options for obtaining photography for your website: using stock photography, and hiring a professional photographer.
The ideal method for obtaining photography for your website and business is to hire a professional photographer. Bringing someone into your business to take professional photos of your office/restaurant/practice/products/etc. can make a huge difference in the quality and presentation of your company.
This more personal approach of photography on your website will go a long way towards making your business look more professional, trust-worthy, and refined.
Not All Professional Photographers are Created Equal
If you can afford to hire a photographer, look for one that specializes in your particular needs (product photography, interior/architecture photography, professional headshots). Specific types of photographers know how to capture your subject matter in creative ways. Product photographers have a clear understanding of proper lighting techniques, attention to detail, and creative ways to set up your products for photos. Architecture photographers will know the best ways to capture the interior and exterior of your business. Portrait photographers will take headshots that look professional.
Make sure to hire the right kind of photographer for your particular situation. If you’re not sure if the photographer is experienced in a certain area, but you like their style, don’t be afraid to ask!
Not Everyone Who Owns a Fancy Camera is a Photographer
A fancy camera (DSLR) does not make photographs look great, the talented photographers behind them do! If you want photography that is going to make your business look great, hire a professional. If you own a business, that means you are a professional at something. You’re selling your services or products because other people want to pay a professional to do/make whatever it is you’re selling. The same goes for photographers. A photographer isn’t going to try to build their own house (in most cases) because they aren’t carpenters. They could build it themselves, but it’s not going to be as nice and high-quality as it would be if they hired a construction company to take care of it!
Photographers can be pricey, and not all businesses can afford a professional photographer right of the bat. This exact scenario is why stock photography exists.
There’s a stigma surrounding stock photography, and rightfully so. Many stock photos are extremely literal and fall into the realm of “cheesy” and fake looking. Because this is so common, many people hate the idea of stock photography and refuse to use it. That’s great! As designers we strongly encourage clients to provide their own photography so that it is more personal to their business. However, sometimes high-quality photography of your actual business or service isn’t possible. Sometimes you do need stock photography in order to provide visual interest to your website until you have the time/money to take professional photographs yourself.
A lot of stock photography still falls into that “cheesy”, fake category, however many photographers have been working to change that stigma over the past few years. Stock photo sites have noticed the increased quality of photos and many now offer categories named something like “Signature” or “Premium”. These categories usually contain incredibly believable photos featuring a wide range of people, objects, and places.
Stock Photography Resources
There are 2 kinds of stock photos: free and premium.
Free stock photography is often very poor quality, and there is not always a lot of images to choose from. There are, however, some very good sites for finding free stock photography that is very high quality. The issue with these images is that they are often overused. Since they are free, a lot of people will take advantage of the opportunity to save some money and use them for a wide variety of marketing and design.
These are some resources for 100% free stock photos:
Premium stock photography services are great because they have hundreds of thousands of different images, and (more often than not) only high-quality images make it into their galleries. Just because they are high-quality does not mean that the content of the photo is good. This is where you will often find cheesy, fake looking images that are taken in a studio with great lighting, but the subject matter is over the top. You should look for images that look believable and real, rather than staged and fake. For example, photos of people who are engaging with each other rather than the camera will look more realistic to your site’s viewers.
There are hundreds of premium stock photography websites out there, but these are some great ones we like:
Join the Conversation:
Are there any stock photography sources you use that you love? Share them with us in the comments!