Images add interest to a web page, making it not only more pleasing to the eye but also offering an opportunity to draw people in. They can break up text so it is easier to read, and they can help to illustrate the point that is being made in a blog post or article.
On e-commerce sites, using images is even more important because customers are unlikely to buy things they have not seen a picture of. Whether it is clothing, furniture or handmade jewellery, the buyer will want to know exactly what it looks like to then make an informed decision about whether or not to make a purchase. Even in sectors where the appearance of a product is less important such as, say, computer parts or cleaning products, buyers still feel reassured if they know what they are ordering will look like, and it helps to make the website look genuine and trustworthy.
There are a few options available for sourcing images for your website, the main ones being:
buying stock photography
using images supplied by PR companies and manufacturers
hiring a professional photographer.
Stock photography images can be bought for relatively low prices on various websites such as Shutterstock and iStockPhoto. The photographs that are on sale on these sites tend to be of reasonable quality but the risk associated with them is that, in most cases, the images can be bought and used by, potentially, thousands of different websites. Additionally, although there is usually a wide range of photographs available on these sites, there is no guarantee that the exact style or subject you are looking for will be in stock.
Images from PR Companies and Manufacturers
If you run an e-commerce site selling physical items, or any kind of website which sells or promotes products or services, the people and company you source them from will most likely offer certain stock images of the products, or generic promotional materials for you to use on your site. These can be useful as placeholders when you are first starting out, but really they are not an ideal way to manage the imagery on a website long-term.
This is because it is difficult to stand out against your competitors if you have exactly the same photographs illustrating your products or ideas as they do. When potential clients and customers are carrying out research to decide where they want to buy from, they can all start to look identical. The one that stands out as having its own branding and personality could be the one that attracts their business.
Using a Professional Photographer
Hiring a professional photographer to produce the images for your website may initially seem like a luxury rather than a necessity but it actually makes very sound business sense. You can present your products or services in a new way, inject them with personality, and really differentiate yourself from others in your niche.
Having good images on your website does more than simply make it look nice. It helps to build an overall picture of your brand, it helps to encourage people to share the site on social networks such as Pinterest, and it makes your photographs unique to you. You can commission exactly the image you need, rather than compromise with a similar one – also used by hundreds of others – which almost fits the bill, and you can really make a positive impression on your site visitors.
While using a professional photographer involves more of an initial outlay for a business owner, the costs will certainly be worth it when sales and brand recognition go up, and your website looks more relevant, professional and appealing.