Photography can strengthen the design of your website, but if done improperly it can also depreciate the design. Here are easy steps you can take to make sure that you get the best images possible without the help of a professional photographer.
First, let’s start with two basic principles: image quality and cropping. These are important to keep in mind no matter what kind of picture you want to take or where that image will end up on your website.
- High Quality and Uncompressed
- Images can be sized down and compressed later to fit the specific website needs, however they cannot be made larger than originally taken.
- Shoot your image with a high quality camera. Your images will look better when scaled up on larger screens than they would if you used a lower quality camera.
- Compressed files are by definition a lower quality than uncompressed. Make sure you start with and save a copy of the original uncompressed image file. You don’t know when you might need it again in the future.
- Be Careful How You Crop
- Don’t crop the shot in too tightly if there is a subject of focus. Leave some extra room around the edges so that the image can be cropped later to fit its allotted space.
- Shooting your images wide from the start also helps when taking a series of images of similar subjects, something like headshots or product images, because you can make sure that everyone (or everything) in the different photos looks the same size in the end.
Other guidelines vary by how you plan to use the image. These are some of the most common forms of images that appear on websites:
BANNER & INTERIOR BANNER
Banner images are typically the larger/wider images that display on the homepage.
Interior banner images appear on pages within your site. The dimensions can be tricky when shooting an interior banner image. These are meant to be used as a design element, adding abstract imagery and color to the page. They are not a space that allows an image to be seen in context.
- Intentionally Use White Space
- White space, or areas of the image where no object is seen, allows for text to be placed in that area without needing to use a gradient overlay to help the text show.
- Consider any text that may be overlaid on top and how much space it will need when you create the composition of your image.
Headshots can be taken in multiple different ways and each gives a different feel for the website!
- Use Natural Lighting
- Avoid strong shadows being cast along the faces of people, especially if you will not be doing professional retouching to the photos. Reduce the use of flash as much as possible.
- If shooting outside, do not have your subject face the sun – they’ll be squinting and that does not make for a good headshot! If the sun is behind the subject, they will appear dark in the image. Set up the scene so that the sun is to the side of your subject.
- Take the Photos at the Same Time
- When your images are taken with the same background and similar lighting (particularly if you are following the tip above!) this creates continuity among all of the photos.
Adding photography to a testimonial area can have a great impact on helping your clients understand that these are quality testimonials. If you want to use testimonial images, make sure the image being used is approved by the specific client.
- Most images will be sufficient in these areas. Typically these are kept small and used to provide extra validation that your testimonials are legitimate.
- Make sure to provide an image that isn’t already a small profile-type image. This makes it so the image cannot be enlarged further and would display with lower quality on high-resolution monitors and devices.
SUPPLEMENTARY CONTENT IMAGE
Another way of adding interest and color to a specific page is to include supplementary images within the content. They are typically photos that can be associated with a certain area of content on your site.
- These are often not taken specifically for a page, but images that you have and would like to feature somewhere on the site.
- All images that are supplementary should still be provided in the highest quality possible.
Stock photography is a good option for additional photos for a website. Keep in mind all of the above tips for the specific image types when selecting a photo to be used in a specific location.
And those are all the tips we have for you today! Remember that these are steps meant to give you good looking images that you can take yourself. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!