Your website needs images – there is no getting away from that fact. Images make your website look better and they enhance the user experience. The latter point is incredibly important to the success of your website. Finding the right images is not always easy, though.
You basically have two options:
- Use images you have taken
- Use stock images
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each, and which should you use?
Images You Have Taken
In an ideal world, this is the best option as it adds personality and authenticity to your website. The main disadvantage is quality. Unless the images are high-quality, you may lose the benefits that come from using images you have taken.
It is important, therefore, to spend some time researching tips on how to take good photos. You don’t need to become a photography expert, and you don’t need any special equipment. The camera on your phone will be sufficient and you will probably have filters on your phone you can use to sharpen and enhance the images. Best of all, you can do this without any technical expertise.
The things you need to think about include lighting and how to frame the image. Make sure any people in your images are smiling, and think about things like backgrounds. For example, do the desks in the background of your photo look untidy?
Using your own images will enhance your website if you can get these quality issues right. You can add branding, for example, by including a sign with your company name and logo in the background or by getting staff to wear branded clothing. Using your own staff in images also makes the website more personal and engaging.
Stock images offer three benefits:
- They are easy to find – whatever your industry, your developer will be able to find suitable stock images for your website.
- They are quick to find – taking photos yourself can be time-consuming, particularly if you do it right. You can find stock images, on the other hand, in minutes.
- They are high-quality – almost all stock images are taken by professional and/or experienced photographers. As a result, you can expect them to be high-quality.
What You Should Do
So, should you spend the time and effort getting your own images or should you use stock images? For most businesses and websites, the solution is a hybrid one, i.e. you use some of your own images with the rest being stock images. This gives you the best of both worlds and minimises their disadvantages.
Importantly, you should try to include at least some of your own images on the website, even if you are primarily using stock images. Without your own images, your website risks looking just like all the other websites out there, even if you have a fantastic designer.
In summary, images do not have to be something that holds up the production or launch of your new website as stock images are so readily available. It is important to include your own images on the site too, though, to make it unique and more authentic.