Graphics play a vital role on websites - infographics (information graphics) are everywhere nowadays - quicker and often more fun than reading text! "A picture is worth a 1000 words!"
Using images on your website
In web design, the trend is increasingly going towards more graphics and less text - when appropriate. There is so much information on the web that we, as web users, don't have time to read on and on: graphics bring colour and interest on a webpage and they also make useful 'shortcuts' giving us a clue about what a page, paragraph or homepage section is about and whether we want to read it or skip to the next one.
Tips for selecting your website images
Using good quality images will definitely take your website to the next level! Here are a few tips to help take/choose the right kind of pictures for your website:
Before anything else, it is important to say that images found via a Google Images Search are not all free to use. For instance, someone buys an image for their website, Google indexes this image and you find it while searching: it will be illegal for you to use this image on your website without purchasing it from the Stock Image website. Ignoring this advice could be very costly - some Stock Image companies track the illegal use of their images and can charge £1000 for an image which would only cost £2 to purchase from their website. Read this thread for more details.
For slideshows and galleries need to be of a similar size. Selecting photos with the same orientation will give the best results: all landscape(ie wider than tall) photos, or all portrait (taller than wide) photos.
Because of the shape of monitors/screens, 'landscape' photos usually look better on websites than 'portrait' photos . Of course, this is not always possible to achieve but it's worth remembering when there is a choice!
Jpg format is fine for websites.
When taking photos for a website, it's always better to stand back and include as much of the background as possible, ie avoid zooming in. If you're wondering why, the reason is that this gives flexibility to crop the images and resize them to fit where they are going to be used on the website - bear this in mind especially when taking photos to be used across the top (or the bottom) of your webpages.
Photos taken with mobile phones are ok if the colours and lighting are good. Photos used on websites don't need the same high resolution as for printing.
Using photos or images of similar quality and style will give a more professional result - think of it as using pictures from a same 'collection' rather than odd 'bits and pieces'.
Finding suitable images for your website
This really depends on the type of website you need. Obviously, a Photographer's website will have all the photos it needs. Depending on your business, you might have a Portfolio giving examples of your work. However, images are usually more difficut to find for more 'abstract' business subjects (eg legal, accountancy, therapies...). In these cases, the best solution is to use 'conceptual' images. This type of images is usually more difficult to photograph yourself but are farily easy to find (with keywords) on Stock Photography websites like iStock (in our opinion, the most professional/best quality images), Dreamstime, Fotolia.
We can either find and purchase images yourself and email them to us or ask us to help you. If you're not sure, we're happy to advise on the quality, resolution, size etc.
We can also do the image research and purchase for you (images cost not included in website costs). Depending on your project size and the amount of images needed, there may be an additional charge to cover our time for this service - we're happy to help you free of charge if it's just a few images, though.
If you live in the Chelmsford area and you need some good photos of your premsies, products, staff etc, we can recommend Ross Willsher. Ross is a talented Photographer who specialises in commercial photography and offers a personal and individualised service at a reasonable cost.
Ross currently charges £75 per hour of shooting for new clients - this includes a free consultation by phone or in person to discuss your precise requirements and Ross' travel expenses within a twenty-mile radius of Chelmsford.
All edited images are provided digitally. The number of images and length of shoot depends on your brief: some images take longer to set up and compose/light etc than others so there is no set number of images per hour. Providing Ross with a clear brief to help him understand your needs will ensure you get the best value for your money!
Using your own photos/images
If you can take photos to illustrate your website, this is a cheaper option. However, it is important to remember that the better the photos, the more professional your website will be. We are able to edit and sometimes improve poor photos (eg bad lighting or background which needs to be blurred or taken out) but this is not always possible.
Taking photos for your website header
The main points to remember are:
Make sure the photos are taken in landscape format (not portrait), ie it should be wider than tall
Stand back so that you get plenty of background on the sides. Don’t worry if there seems to be too much ‘head-room', this will give scope to crop the photo to right size and proportions. In other words, avoid close-ups as these can't be cropped.