As a website designer, I firmly believe that the photos you choose for your website can be the difference between an amazing website and an average one. Because photos are so important and often times the element that is lacking when collecting content from my clients, I decided to write this blog post as a guide for getting amazing photos for your website—the foundation for a beautiful site design! There are two ways to get amazing photos for your website, and in this blog post, I will talk about both:
1. Hire a Photographer to Take Your Website Photos
I highly recommend doing this if you are creating a website—it’s the best way to get beautiful photos that are polished, professional, AND unique to you, your business, and your style. You can also use these photos on social media, so it is well worth the investment!
If you have an e-commerce site, then I believe this is a non-negotiable. Polished photos of your products are SO important for appealing to your customers and making your products look desirable and your website look professional. Getting beautiful photos of real people using your products allows for your potential customers to see themselves using the product—it truly makes such a difference!
If you decide to hire a photographer, there are a few things you can do to make sure these photos come out matching your brand aesthetic and are useful for a website.
Choose your photographer wisely
When you start looking, you’ll realize that there are so many different styles for photography: dark & moody, light & airy, somewhere in between! It’s important to choose a photographer with a style that matches your brand aesthetic. Make sure to look at your photographer’s portfolio to see that their style is in line with your brand.
Make sure to get the right shots
It’s the worst when you spend all this money on a photo shoot only to get them back to realize you don’t have anything that will work on your website. To make sure this doesn’t happen, make sure to get the following shots. You can even give this list to your photographer, so they know what you’re needing.
✓ Portrait / Bio Photos: Make sure to get candid photos as well as the classic photos of you looking at the camera (so important for connecting with your audience). These photos are great for the “about” page of your site or other introductory sections.
✓ Lifestyle Photos: If you are selling products, these are the photos that show people using them. It allows your customers to picture themselves using your products. If you are not selling products, these are the photos of you working with a client or working in your office.
✓ Product Photos: If selling products is a part of your business, then this is pretty much a no-brainer. Make sure to get these photos in a variety of angles and settings—the more the merrier!
✓ Detail Photos: If you sell products, then these are the close-ups of your products or of people interacting with your products. If you don’t sell products, these are the up close photos of your tools or your workspace. Think about getting action shots of your hands working or interacting with the items related to your business.
✓ Horizontal Photos: Most of the time, photographers are trained to take vertical images as these are great for editorial pieces. Although vertical images can be useful, it’s important to get quite a few horizontal images too as these work better for website and can be used in headers and backgrounds.
Use colors that are cohesive with your brand
If your brand uses minimal, neutral colors, then make sure to wear an outfit that also features those colors. Make sure to choose a location that is cohesive with your brand style as well. Doing this will create a seamless visual experience for your website viewers.
2. Use Stock Images
There are so many resources for finding stock photos to use on your site (Unsplash and Pexels are great and free). However, it can feel like a pretty daunting task if you don’t know what you are looking for. Here are a few tips to help you begin your search:
- Look for simple photos: The easiest way to clutter a website is to use many photos with busy textures, patterns, or lots going on in the scene. It’s best to look for photos that are simple and will look good in the backgrounds or headers of your website.
- Look for photos without people: It can be really difficult to find images of people that don’t look “staged” on stock photo platforms. Because of this, I recommend steering clear of those kind of photos and instead using nature scenes or pictures of objects.
- Look for photos with your brand colors: I touched on this above in the first section, but it is important to look for photos that match your brand aesthetic. The photos don’t have to match your color palette exactly, but it looks best when they are cohesive and all in the same color scheme. If your brand features “cool” tones, then look for images that match that. Vice versa if your brand has a “warmer” aesthetic.
- Don’t be too literal when choosing your photos: What I mean by this is to not feel like you need to find photos that specifically represent your business or relate to the topic of the website page. Of course, it’s important to not be misleading—so if you sell products, don’t choose photos that showcase other products you don’t sell. However, think about choosing photos that are in line with your brand’s intentions and tone. If your brand is peaceful, calm, and soft, then choose photos that align with this. Doing this will strengthen your brand messaging even more.
- Last, but not least—use the collections on Unsplash: One of my favorite features that I recently discovered on Unsplash are the collections. These are curated albums of photos that keep in line with a certain aesthetic. Take a look at all of the Unsplash collections here!
Here are links of my favorite Unsplash collections:
- Neutral I
- Neutral II
- White & Airy
- Pastel & Pale I
- Pastel & Pale II
- Earth Tones
- Pop of Color I
- Pop of Color II
- Simple & Minimal
Season / Object Specific