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Web design and photography

Published on August 24, 2012
Tags: Web Design London

Imagery doesn’t always need to be complicated in web design and in fact, it is often the simplest images that work the best, either because they blend in well with the rest of the design or because they are striking, bold and memorable. Of course, imagery in web design doesn’t always need to be simple – there is plenty of room for complexity too – but the point is that whatever imagery you use, it needs to be right. It needs to fit.

This is as true for photography in web design as it is for all other types of graphics. Photography can play an important role on websites; it isn’t just professional photographers who need to worry about it. However, just as with anything else in website design, there are a few considerations we need to make to ensure our chosen photography has the impact we want.

What is the picture saying?
It has become something of a much overused cliché to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it is true that web users can often get a good sense or a message from a website thanks to a single image. However, that image needs to be right, otherwise it won’t tell them anything at all or could send the wrong message.

It has been found that users are more likely to engage when the images used on a website are relevant; stock images can have the opposite effect. It might not always be feasible to get original photography done for your website, but this does show that putting careful thought into your choice of picture can have an impact on how likely people are to stick around.

Is it good quality?
It doesn’t really need to be said, but any photography used in web design needs to be of a good quality. Many websites display photographs of their own products on their site; one piece of advice for this is that it’s certainly worth paying for a professional service in this instance.

You will naturally want to show your products in the best light, and while it might be tempting to cut costs and take the pictures yourself, professional assistance can work wonders. Photographers know how to create high quality images that portray things in a certain way, and they can help you ensure that your products are displayed to the best of their ability on the site.

Have you thought about copyright?
When it comes to photography in web design, copyright is an important issue to look at. If you are using other people’s work on your site, such as for a header, background or picture to accompany a blog post, you need to make sure it is OK to use it. In some cases, this might mean buying a license and/or making sure you get express permission to use the work (and crediting the original photographer on the site).

Of course, if you use your own photography, you shouldn’t have to worry about issues of licensing, but you might still want to look into how copyright affects you so you can make sure your work is protected.

How does it fit with the site?
As mentioned above, when you’re using photographs on a website, they need to fit in with the rest of the site. A lot of this is obvious, such as making sure the subject of the photograph is relevant to the rest of the content. However, there are other, more subtle issues it is also worth considering.

For example, you might like to develop a certain style of photography for your site, such as always putting the same finish on the pictures. You might decide to use the same photographer every time you get new product photos taken to ensure there is consistency across the site. Positioning your photos is something else to consider; for instance, if you take a look at the pictures bloggers use to accompany their posts, you will often find that their pictures are always aligned in the same way from post to post.

This relates to issues of branding, and making sure that any photography in your web design adds to and enhances your brand rather than detracting from it. Pictures might only be one example of content on your site, but they can have a huge impact, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.

By Chelsey Evans

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