Why Stock Imagery Matters
So, you have a fantastic layout for your new website. The navigation is concise and intuitive, the colour palette evocative of your company’s message, and the text is both engaging and SEO-optimised. However, the time has now come to select the imagery for your website. You look at your layout, at your perfect framework, and decide that the only stock image that can possibly work there is “two business people smiling in front of graph 15”, and with that one move your website is ruined.
This may seem like an exaggeration, but if anything it is an understatement. Your choice of imagery is absolutely vital in successfully engaging your visitors, and cheap, cheesy or inappropriate imagery is likely to send people running for the hills – or at least to better websites. Imagery is what entices the visitor. It creates an instantaneous response in the user, creating the first and therefore most lasting impression of your website.
Here are some tips for ensuring that your choice in stock imagery enhances your site:
Take your Time
When a visitor clicks through onto a page of your website, you want them to be impressed and engaged by the sight of your fantastic imagery. Therefore, you need to take the time and apply yourself to discovering appropriate imagery, rather than simply choosing the first vaguely relevant image to appear on your screen on Shutterstock.
When you are utilising stock imagery, duplication with other companies is inevitable. However, you ideally want any duplications to be a good couple of degrees of separation away from your industry. This is particularly the case in the instance of imagery containing human models, and honestly, there’s not much that can do if the poster-boy for your new telecoms initiative is also the new face of affordable roof insulation, as you don’t have time to go through literally every site on the internet and check. However, you can check your competitors’ websites and ensure that the imagery you’re choosing isn’t identical to theirs.
Consider your Business Messages
Essentially, you want to ensure your imagery is congruent with the values and ideas that your business represents. This is quite a fine art, which occasionally means you have to disregard imagery of superior aesthetic quality because it simply doesn’t fit with your overall company message. However, it will be far more beneficial to you to choose imagery that emphasises your business identity, rather than aesthetically beautiful imagery that is so off-message that it confuses visitors in regards to your products and services.
Consider Your Colours
You need to always be considering the overall palette of your website when selecting stock imagery. Whilst every image is going to look fantastic on the neutral colours of the website you purchase them from, they may not look quite so good if they end up clashing with your corporate palette. If necessary, download a preview image just to ensure that it works with your website.
Keep your Audience in Mind
Always keep your audience in mind when selecting your stock imagery. If you are targeting a youth demographic, you probably want to avoid images of businessmen in front of flipcharts. Ensure that any human models in your imagery are relatable to the people you are targeting. Whilst abstract imagery can be nice, there is such a thing as abstract to the point of confusing or irrelevant, so always consider the type of message that visitors are likely to take away from such images.
Consider Potential Crops
You need to be aware of how your website is set up in regards to image dimensions. Your chosen image may look absolutely fantastic at its original proportions, but your website will have size and ratio constraints which may cause your image to look far less appealing when it has been cropped to fit. Consider where any crops will have to made prior to downloading an image and save yourself both money and frustration.
Effective image sourcing is a fine art that requires both time and an understanding of how images will integrate with and enhance the website’s themes as a whole. Whilst the above points are a useful guide to not choosing anything terrible or unusable, selecting great imagery that works both with the website and itself is a skill that can only be learnt through experience and practice.
Are you staring at Shutterstock and shutting down mentally? Are you seriously considering using “successful marketing team shaking hands in front of graph” on your homepage? Give greensplash a call on 01606 884 123 – we can offer a high-level image sourcing service alongside our exceptional web design and development.