Last week we explained why it's important to have great images to make your website pop! Here's a quick checklist of the important areas that matter and how they may be achieved…
1. Image Resolution
Like a printed image, a digital image also has a size and if it is increased beyond this size it starts to look pixelated, blurry and very unprofessional. This can be avoided by keeping backups of images supplied to you at their biggest size. And ensuring that all images to be printed are at least 300dpi and all images to be used on screen such as a website are 72dpi. If you need help with this, please ask us :)
Professionally lit photos have an even and natural light balance across the image with an appropriate level of contrast to create the requisite level of tension and drama. Good lighting will contribute to making an image communicate only it's intended message and not throw up any subconscious communications to the viewer such as 'this image was taken by someone who doesn't care about every aspect of their business'. Unless you have professional lights and experience using them, you will be hard pressed to light your images naturally.
3. Colour Balance
Are your images more orange or blue than natural and ‘as the eye sees’? This is because light that appears white to us is actually slightly orange or slightly blue, depending on the wavelength of the light (indoor light bulbs have a longer wavelength and so appear orange, fluorescent light has a shorter wavelength and so appears more blue) our brains are exceptional at making these white variations appear white and cameras are not as good. A designer can sometimes remove unwanted colour casts after an image has been taken but if mixed light sources were used in the image then you will struggle to make the image ever appear natural.
The amount an image is cropped into can dramatically alter the feel and even the meaning of an image. It's a tricky job to get right and even professionals struggle with some images. If you do ask a professional for help and you are supplying the images, it is always best to make sure your images have as much cropable space around the subject as possible, to ensure the image is as flexible to cropping as possible. And if you are struggling to crop an image yourself, please never be tempted to stretch it to fit into a space under any circumstances... it just looks plain wrong!
5. Taste and Style
Who decides what is right and wrong where taste is concerned. Well of course it should be you where your personal life if concerned but where your public representation is concerned it may well be worth asking for help from someone who has many years of intense experience in interpreting image details and how they will be received by certain demographics. Our designers do, so let us know if you would like help with this.
So in short, allocating part of your budget to making your images worthy of your website, branding and business is something you should be thinking about. It's definitely worth the effort and it doesn't have to cost a great deal. Here are your options when it comes to sourcing your images:
1. Professionally taken stock images can be bought from websites such as Shutterstock.com and iStockphoto.com for modest amounts of money, make sure you buy the size you need (bigger sizes cost more money). When you buy images from these sites you obtain a license to use that image according to the license.
2. Free image sites and creative commons images can be found by searching on Google for them. Finding quality images on these sites can be harder but it is possible. One thing to make sure is that whatever image you use, make sure you have permission from the author or a license to use it the way you intend.
3. You could hire a photographer. We can help put you in contact with an appropriate photographer if you require some bespoke images creating.
4. Taking the images yourself is unadvisable, just like making your own clothes would be, but, if you have no choice and have to take your own please do spend the time to research and learn how to over come the image quality pitfalls mentioned above, as it will save you time and money in the future.
If you suspect you may need help with your images, we would normally recommend that you have us look for the right images for you on a stock website. That way you get a designer with huge experience in looking for images and professionally taken images to boot! Give us a shout to discuss fixing up your images :)