Selecting images for photo-centric business websites: Top tips and tricks
By 2018, business owners are well-versed in measuring the success of images they use to promote their business on social media channels. There are a million and one tools to do so, from Split testing on Facebook to social measurement software that offers almost every level of sophistication in giving you feedback.
However, sometimes its more difficult to know which images on your site really sell your business and which give the right or wrong impression to your visitors. Afterall, images on your site are intermixed and juxtaposed with a variety of other content that make up the totality of your brand. (You can read more about building your photography brand and business here). So, who's to know exactly which images to use.
"Websites promote you 24/7: No employee will do that. The images you use to entice and attract visitors need to be well-placed, communicative, and consistent with your brand so that you're website can do its job".
Here are a few professional tips for selecting photography to use on your website:
Images must work on mobile and desktop platforms
Websites today need to function just as well on mobile platforms as they do on desktops. If you have a beautiful image on you homepage that looks great in a panoramic format, you also need to consider how this image looks when people visit your site on an iPhone or tablet. Faces and products need to be visible as visitors scroll vertically as well. Many website platforms like Squarespace offer you the opportunity to pinpoint the focus point of an image so that no matter what medium the site is being used on, this part of the image will be visible. When you're selecting images, test them on multiple mediums to see how they appear before making a final decision.
2. Negative Space
Use images that offer negative space
As web platforms now allow images to be the focal point design, consider images for your business that offer negative space. The images you use to entice your audience need to be compatible with text, navigation, and icons, which often sit overtop of large images. Photographs that are too busy often compete with text and navigation content, whereas images that offer areas of negative space ( particularly on the homepage) will create a harmony between information and visuals. The last thing you want is a visitor that can't find your "purchase now" button because the image behind it is too loud or distracting.
3. Use an overlay
Maximise readability and contrast by adding a tint or overlay to images
I've designed many stunning image-based websites over the years and readability is one of the most difficult elements to optimise when using big images. Images should NOT compete with text and navigation, they should complement it. One trick of the trade is to simply apply a darker tint or overlay on the image so that white or coloured text will be legible when used against it. Its a very simple trick but works almost every single time. Be sure that the images you are using have adequate contrast and saturation so that when an overlay is applied, the image doesn't appear too faded or lacks engagement.
4. Consider using a grid layout
Break images into individual squares
Tile-based website design (also referred to as a card-based design or modular design) has been popularised by sites like Instagram and Pinterest. They function brilliantly on mobile devices and allow you to showcase content attractively and quickly on your site. In a tile design, the images of a website are broken down into individual squares. The shape and sizes of the individual squares can vary to create a more interesting design or a hierarchy in the content. You can also coordinate images that have similar colours and tones to make your brand more consistent.
5. Find a Hero Image
Find a large, high-definition photo that dominates your landing page
A hero image is a large, high-definition photo that dominates a site’s landing page. Hero images are meant to grab the user’s attention and ultimately keep them on the site. After the hero image, a user can either scroll down or visit other parts of the website through a menu. Consider the most captivating image you have that represents your brand and use this image as the "hero" of your site. Tip: If the image is emotive it is often better received by your visitors.
Keep these tips in mind when selecting images for your business website in 2017 and you'll ensure that your site is both beautiful and functional. For more information on professional photography services and creative consulting, please continue to my site.