Websites, in their ideal form, are a delicate balance of images, graphic elements, colors, fonts and text. When selecting the images for your website, most have two options: use one’s own photography or use stock images widely available for commercial purchase.
Using original, company-specific, professionally produced photography is usually the ideal situation. High quality, impressive images lead to impressive websites, more accurately reflect the nature of the company, truthfully showcase the company’s products and services, and introduce the company’s key personnel that may come in contact with the consumer.
While original photography may be the ideal option, not all businesses are able to use it or justify the cost. In these instances, using stock photography might come in handy. Most stock photographs are high quality, beautiful images available for purchase with a copyright release. However, just like web design, not all stock images are equal. Here are some things to watch out for when deciding on what images to incorporate as part of your web design project.
Make sure the image is not being overused
After years of working with stock photography, sooner or later we start to notice the overuse of certain stock images or specific models across a variety of industries. When selecting specific the stock images, make sure the model or image itself is not overused. You can check on the popularity of the image on the stock purchase website and run a Google image search to see where else this particular image might have been used.
Here is an unfortunate example of a Canadian-based stock model being overused by a wide range of companies across the world.
Ensure that the Image Fits with Your Country and Culture
Stock images are supplied from photographers across the world. When selecting the images, make sure they fit with cultural norms and country standards. For example, when selecting images of roads and cars, make sure buildings, roads, cars and street signs fit with your cultural norms and preference.
Here are three examples of road, car and city combinations from one stock site with three very different approaches, one US based, one European and one Asian.
Make sure you’re not Using Outdated or Poor Quality Images
When purchasing stock photos and images, make sure you’re selecting images that are current for today’s market and don’t looks outdated. For example, images with technology can quickly become outdated and can hastily date the picture and possibly diminish the image of your company and/or brand by associating yourself with outdated technology.
Utilizing the stock image database as a tool to select images for your website is a great alternative when you’re on a tight budget and might not be able to provide company-specific high resolution images on your own. However, it’s important to always be aware of the application for each image you decide to select, their overall adoption/use in the market and their relevance to your company’s image, brand and website.