There are lots of things to consider when designing your website; one of the most important aspects is ensuring that your site is visually appealing. The functionality and content could be fantastic - however if the site doesn't look good, many visitors may not even stay long enough to find out.
Attracting and holding the attention of people online is not an easy task, so it is essential that once someone hits your site they aren't turned off straight away. The images that you have on your site play a major role, as this tends to be what a visitor will look at first. Photographs which are mediocre or bad will create the impression that your site lacks effort and visitors will assume that the rest of the site is as lacklustre. However, good photographs create a sense of care, professionalism and will improve your credibility.
Photographs are even more important if you have an online store. Customers are likely to be sceptical of products without images. People tend to be wary about purchasing items online, especially as they cannot physically touch or view the item. So using good quality photographs will increase your chances of making a sale.
So lets take a look at the 3 main ways of producing pictures for your site:
Hire a Professional: Of course, the best way of ensuring that you have good quality photographs is to hire a professional. This way you can ensure that the pictures are relevant and applicable to your site. This also takes the hassle out of post production editing (it should be done for you). However hiring a photographer is not particularly cheap and not everyone has the means to do this.
Do It Yourself: Another option is to take pictures yourself, which is obviously a much cheaper option. If you are looking to do this, it is worth investing in a decent camera and taking the time to read some guides and tips. Unless you are a budding photographer on the side (or you know someone who is, and can help you out), getting the most out of modes, lighting and post production editing can be extremely tricky.
Stock Images: Stock images are also an option, with large selections of good quality photographs which you can purchase a license to use. However finding non-generic, relevant and unique images can be hard. Sites such as Shutterstock and Getty Images have a great selection but prices really can differ. Here at Freeola, we even offer a selection of over 100 stock images (all of our images are completely free of charge). When using stock images, do make sure that you are aware of what type of licence you have purchased (Royalty Free or Rights Managed) and of any restrictions that may apply.
Visitors will often decide in a matter of seconds if they wish to stay on your site. Therefore your site must be aesthetically pleasing, and adding images is an integral part of this. As well as making sure that your images are good quality, you should also ensure that your photographs compliment your site. The photographs that you include should relate to your company message, your services and/or your product.