Professionally shot photographs and considered cropping, dramatically enhance the appearance of a website, therefore lifting both the credibility and quality of the company in the site visitor’s eyes. It’s for this reason I encourage my clients to organise a professional photo shoot whenever possible so they can supply unique imagery for their site and stand out in the market place. In terms of Ecommerce Website Design a professional photo shot is practically unavoidable but for other Web Design project it can be dodged.
Because photo shoots can be expensive and not everyone has the budget to spend a couple of grand on unique imagery, I recommend that the client and I work together to source imagery from online photo libraries for their Website. Often clients try snapping pictures on their iPhone to use for their Website Design, but stock photography offers a better solution as the shots are usually professionally composed, have great lighting, and are a fraction of the price of having a custom photo shoot.
Below are some tips for finding the perfect stock photography on iStock.com for your Website:
- Create a free account with istock www.istockphoto.com
Istock was originally founded in 2000 as free stock imagery website. It has now become an online, royalty free, international photography provider operating with the micropayment business model. You simply sign up for free and purchase image credits. Images cost between 1 and 150 credits, depending on their size and intended use.
Although I prefer using iStock for their easy search tools and affordable prices here are some other stock photography websites:
- Search tips for effective and quick results:
The key to finding what you’re looking for quickly is to use the filters and advanced search methods. At the top of the iStock website it will ask you to search by the type of file you require ie. photos, illustrations, video, audio or flash files. I recommend choosing a file type first, then entering a key word, or a couple of specific keywords to narrow down the search even more.
Selecting the appropriate file type will save you time so you avoid searching through file types that are not relevant. Once you get your relevant search results you can narrow down the search results further by using the options under “Narrow Your Results”.
- Finding imagery in the correct orientation
It helps save Website Designers time if the image/s are provided in the orientation they are going to be displayed in on the site. As you can imagine it can be difficult to get a vertical image to fit in a horizontal space. Eg. banner images are usually in a horizontal format.
IStock makes it easy to find imagery based on their composition. Simply click on the arrow next to “Photo & Illustration Filters” and you will be presented with a list of further filtering methods; one being orientation. Tick the box with the orientation you are searching for to further narrow your search and save you time.
- Using the Colour Picker
Under the orientation filter is a colour picker, which can be very handy. A lot of the time websites follow a particular colour scheme. Instead of using Photoshop to manually adjust imagery, why not try to look for pictures that naturally match the site. The search colour can also be picked by using the colour pick tool or putting in the hexadecimal code. If you are unsure what hexadecimal code to use please consult your Web Designer.
- Narrowing down the Price Range
Photography on iStock can range in credits from 1 – 150. 1 credit is somewhere around AU$1.20, depending on the currency exchange. When TWS clients search for stock photography for their Website Design we ask them to find images that are around 5 credits because we spend 20-50 credits of imagery per site depending on their Website package.
IStock has a slider in the left hand column that allows users to filter the price range searched, one dot being the cheapest and four dots being the most expensive. To the right of the price range it also lets users know how many images are available at that price point e.g. Four dots (16), Three dots (47), Two dots (261) One dot (Over 999)
These days the ease and speed at which good quality images can be purchased online leaves no excuses for a site to look cheap, unattractive and unprofessional. Clients look more favourably on your business, are willing to pay more for services and products and will keep coming back. A happy customer is a repeat customer.