Good imagery makes your design

October 22, 2020

A critical truth about design is that without good imagery it simply won’t look very good. In fact, not only can bad imagery ruin a design but good imagery is often the key to securing the right tone of your website as well. Picking professional quality images that compliment both your content and your brand style can be the difference in making your website look worldclass.

Why does it make a difference?

When you want a design to be professional and sophisticated then what you are often aiming for is the ‘best’ finish for everything. This extends to everything in the site, from the consistency of use of colours and fonts across the site, the spacing between elements and of course the imagery. But using images that are not well cropped or framed, out of focus or maybe the wrong aspect ratio, undermine this approach. People can tell if an image is professional or amateur because photography is not just an art form, it is a discipline. Everything about a good photo has been thought through, much like a good website design. A photographer will go to great lengths to make sure lighting is optimal for shadows, colours and detail. They will frame their shot to make sure the key features are most in focus. They will adjust the depth of field for artistic affect. In short, their image (which will be taken with a professional camera where they can control all aspects of the image) will be better than one snapped from you iPhone. And the reality is, people can tell!

When does this most matter?

We would argue that every image on your website should be of a professional standard, so that you get the best look. But if there is one part of your site where good imagery is critical it is your team photos. Try to avoid using a selfie picture taken at a club or in your bedroom. A proper portrait is the only way to go if you want customers to see you as a professional in what you do.

We can arrange for portraits to be done – give us a call to get a quote!

What if you don’t have your own imagery?

Many people don’t have access to professional imagery and employing a photographer can be expensive. But there are some great cheap or even free options out there for you to take advantage of.

If you want good general stock photography that is completely free then we recommend these websites:

Unfortunately the reality is that photography doesn’t pay like it used to. Once upon a time being a photographer was a good way to earn a living, but now we can get such good photos with our smart phones for day to day use that it is hard to make a living (unless you are a specialist, such as a wedding photographer). But the hunger for photographers to get their work seen is still there and so these free stock photography websites are a great way for their work to be used. If you can, include a credit to the photographer!

Free stock websites are great for generic imagery, but if you have something a little more niche then you may need to use a professional stock photography website. A couple that we use regularly that are:

These sites have really excellent images with prices usually from between £7 and £25, although some are more expensive. But watch out – some images are for editorial use only (which means not for commercial / brochureware websites) so check the license details before you buy.

If you are looking for something uber specific or next level, or likely something more famous, then you’re likely to need to cross over into the higher paid realm of Getty Images. Now you’re talking about a supplier to the world’s media, and images here can cost hundreds of pounds a pop. But the quality and coverage of world events and places is broad and excellent so if you have the budget it may be what you need.

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