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Inbound Marketing Blog

Why Your Website's Photography Really, Really Matters

 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a really bad picture may be worth 10,000.
 
Photography really matters. Probably even more than you think.
 
The quality of the photography on your website directly relates to the perceived quality of your business. This means you could have the greatest product in the world, but if the photography is bad, people are also going to think the product is bad.
 

Why is photography so important on the web?


In the real word, people can go to your store and physically get their hands on your product. On the web, your photography is the closest thing to a physical representation of your product that you can present to a potential customer.  You really need to make it count.

Photography influences emotions

I talked about this in another article, but it's worth saying again: Our eyes process images  at a rate of 60,000  times  faster than text. This  means we digest the visuals on a page long before we read the supporting content. We begin forming emotional reactions, both good and bad, within seconds of viewing the site. Strong, relevant photography will shape that perception.

If you’re selling a product, don’t just show the isolated product, show the product in context. If you’re selling bikes, show someone actually riding it. Selling hiking gear? Don’t just take a picture of that backpack spread out on the floor, show someone hiking through the woods with it. Electric Guitars? Let's see someone jamming out the solo to "Free Bird", like my man here.

Play to visitor's emotions and help them picture themselves using your product. Sure, that sweet mountain bike is going to be in my garage 99% of the time, but I want to see what it looks like that 1% of the time that I'm actually riding it.

Maybe you don't sell products. What about service-based industries? Here, we need strong photography to help tell our story, establish trust and ingrain confidence in the visitor. 

For example, if you’re a moving company, do you think you’ll get more mileage showing pictures of empty packing boxes or by showing high quality imagery of movers loading packed boxes into a beautiful new house?

 

High quality photography increase conversion rate

When is the last time you purchased a product online that didn’t include a picture? Even if you already know exactly what the product looks like, the lack of imagery conveys a lack of trust.

Let's assume you're in the market for one of those cool new Virtual Reality headsets. You come across the two products below. Which one are you going to buy?samsung-vr.png

So, what are our options here?

 
If you’re selling a product, there’s really no way around it. You absolutely need high quality, professional photography. For those dealing with services, we have a couple of options:
  

Stock Photography vs. Real Photography

Whenever possible, I always suggest a custom photo shoot over purchasing generic, dime a dozen photographs from a stock photo site. On a budget, stock photography can serve as a means to an end, but likely won’t accurately reflect the personality or brand of your company. In fact, it’s often the quickest way to look like everyone else.

However, the stock photography route can work if you have a talented designer advising you on your photo selection.

So, if you are going the stock photo route, please choose something like this:

surgeon-hands.jpg

Over something like this:

6550193-medical-doctor-telling-bad-news-to-the-patient-Stock-Photo.jpg

 

Why you shouldn’t take the pictures yourself

When I talk about choosing real photos over stock photos, what I don’t mean is to just pull out your phone and randomly shoot photos of your products, office or employees.

You wouldn’t design and code the site yourself, would you? You wouldn’t write the copy yourself, right? (Okay, you very well may, but you should stop doing that as well.) There’s a reason to hire a professional to shoot and edit your images. The perception of your business depends on it.

Your smartphone packs a powerful camera and I’m sure that photo of your eggplant parmesan looked pretty appetizing on your Facebook feed, but we're talking about high quality images that portray your business in the best light. These are two completely different things.

And if you happen to be in the restaurant industry, please realize that most food looks pretty disgusting if it’s not professionally photographed.

Whopper Jr., anyone?

whopperjr.jpg

Do you have questions about your website photography, or just your website in general? We can help!

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Topics: Design, Inbound Marketing

Mark Swanson

Written by Mark Swanson

Mark is a Senior UI/UX Designer at MINDSCAPE. He makes the websites you use easier to use and has been designing for the screen for over 14 years. Outside of work, he likes watching documentaries, playing music and rolling in the dirt with dogs (both his own and random strays). He also doesn't photograph very well.

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