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Your website is a visual manifestation of your business or product.

Visitors to your site will respond to what they see, both consciously and unconsciously, so it’s important to have a design plan.

If you  want your website to create the right response,  then careful thought needs to be put into the design and decoration. Graphics, colors and fonts are important, but photography is a real key ingredient.

When it comes to photographs for your website, there are 3 options
  1. Stock photographs
  2. Professional photographs
  3. Take your own photographs

Depending on what you need and where on your website you intend to use them, there can be a time and place for each type.

What kind of message are your photographs sending?

Stock Photography

Beautiful photographs are available on stock photography sites, but before you choose and upload an image, make sure you’ve really considered how it will work on your website.  Selected photos  must relate to your brand, and reflect your overall website style.  Think about what kind of feelings and emotions are conjured up by this image.

Although stock photographs are professional,  they will detract from the authenticity of your site when over-used, or used incorrectly. Authenticity is  absolutely required in order to earn trust  online.

My suggestion is to use stock photos sparingly, and only when they truly reflect your intentions.  Your website should be a reflection of what  you (or your business) is really about.

Professional Photographs

Ultimately, hiring a photographer to take photographs of your business space, storefront, products, you, your staff is ideal for creating photography content for your website.  It’s authentic- and like I said before authenticity=trust.  If your goal is to have visits your website turn into sales (and what business wouldn’t), then trust is definitely something that’s going to matter to you.  If you want to feature products on your website, then having good, quality, consistent looking shots of those products is going to make the difference between a sale and no sale.

Taking Your Own Photographs

If you’ve got a reasonably good camera and an ability to create some interest with your image composition, then go for it.  But, before your commit to posting those photos on your site,  show  them  to friends or colleagues and ask  for an  honest opinion. Don’t  be lazy about this. Bad photography does nothing good for your website.  The only acceptable place for less-than professional looking photography would be on your blog, and only in the right circumstance.  For example, I have a client who includes before and after shots of her hand painted furniture on her ‘what’s new” blog.  It’s OK if her before pics are less-than professional.

Rule of thumb:   Always consider how important the visual impression of your website  is and what message you are trying to convey before you include any photograph.