Getting the Best out of Photography for Your Website

By Alex Rebele

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Powerful and authentic imagery makes a big impact on someone visiting your website; it immediately establishes a connection between your brand and your audience. As technology continues to become more affordable, high-resolution and color-rich displays are becoming the common viewing source, so it is important to take great care when selecting (or taking) photography for your brand. Here are some key elements to ensure the photos you use enhance your audience’s experience when visiting your website:

Highest-Resolution, Quality Photos

It is best practice to use the highest-resolution photos you have available. Photo size for digital displays is measured in ppi (pixels per inch). A standard screen resolution is 72 ppi, but there are also Retina displays to consider, where the resolution can be as high as 264 ppi. A Retina display is a marketing term developed by Apple to refer to devices and monitors that have a resolution and pixel density so high – roughly 300 or more pixels per inch – that a person is unable to discern the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. This wide range of potential screen resolutions is why it’s so important to provide large photos; you want your photography to look great on any device or screen.

How to Size Images for Retina

Let’s say you want to see a large photo stretch the entire width of the content on your site. If your content width is 1300 pixels wide, your photo then should be at least 1300 pixels wide at 72 ppi. But if you want the photo to look sharp on Retina displays, your photo should be at least 2600 pixels wide at 72 ppi. This increase in size is key because there are more pixels packed in that same width for Retina. A good rule of thumb is to double the size of your photo to accommodate for Retina displays. If you are working with an agency partner like Vitamin, the agency can provide guidance on the necessary size and resolution for your photos based on how you’re using them.

  • Note: Avoid cropping photographs before providing them to your agency. The agency partner may want to crop the photos in a specific manner to best suit the content, so it’s best to send the original photo files with the most real estate available.

Consistency: A Photographic Style Guide

Just like having consistent colors, fonts and patterns is key for a strong brand, it’s equally important to have consistent photography on your website. This means similarities in lighting, color temperature, setting and subject matter. The photos should appeal to the demographic you are trying to reach. If your audience skews young and tech savvy, it doesn’t make sense to have photos on your website that look less than the highest resolution possible or that use poor lighting conditions and subject matter.

  • Note: Almost everyone now holds a high-resolution digital camera in their pocket. It has never been easier to grab really great looking photos with almost no effort or forethought. Savvy Internet users have become accustomed to great photography. 

Brand Authenticity

Part of maintaining a brand is establishing trust with your customers. If your photography looks stale and / or feels staged, it becomes increasingly more difficult to establish that trust. Elements such as the use of natural light, candid shots and photos with minimal retouching will bring out the authenticity your brand might be looking for. Avoid photos of people looking directly at the camera; they tend to feel staged. If you’re looking to use stock photography, it’s best to keep these criteria in mind when selecting photos to purchase.

Licensing

If you’re purchasing stock photography on your own, be aware of creative vs. editorial photography. Creative stock photography communicates a concept or idea. These types of photos can be used for advertising, marketing, apps, websites, social media and many other outlets. Editorial photography is usually a photo of something trademarked. There are typically more restrictions on how these kinds of photos can be used. Editorial photography is usually reserved for marketing communications campaigns that pertain to a specific topic or event.

Hiring a Professional

If you’re in need of quality photography and don’t want to use stock photos, it might be worth investing in a professional photographer. If you’re working with an agency partner like Vitamin, the agency can also help you source the proper photographer for the style you need while also developing a shot list and helping to manage the photo shoot.

If nothing more, hiring a photographer is great for getting headshots of your team. High-quality and consistent photography of your team members can go a long way in promoting a friendly and approachable image and presenting your organization as one that is professional and trustworthy.

Are you working on getting high-quality photography for your website? How’s it going? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Are you considering a new web project for your company? Contact Mike at info@vitaminisgood.com or call 410-732-6542 and ask for Mike.

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