When used properly, photos are a very effective and powerful content tool that can quickly send your intended message to your viewing audience. However, using the wrong photos can degrade your viewers experience. In this article, I’ll explain 5 tips to help you choose photos wisely and use them wisely.
Tip 1: Choosing the Right Photos
In any type of design – ad, brochures, website, signage – photos are very powerful tools. Experts suggest that users pay closer attention to photos and other images but ignore fluffy text. However, photos are only useful when the right ones are selected. So how do you choose the right photos anyways??
- First consider the fundamentals of the photo – image quality, composition, exposure, etc.
- Next comes effectiveness; ask yourself “how well does the photo create appeal for my company” in terms of emotional appeal and brand appeal.
- Now you’ll want to consider if the photo is sending the correct message to the viewer.
- And finally, would the photo create desire for your product or company.
Tip 2: Don’t Use Generic Photos or Elements
In most instances, generic photos or elements really don’t serve any purpose other than being visual components or a space filler. You need to make sure the photos are unique to your company and not just the same old “stock photo” every other business uses out there. Hire a local photographer to take some shots of your employees in action so your customer can form a connection with your company. Using a photo of the business owner or actual people within the company have positive effects on a visitor’s first impression and creates trustworthiness of the company. They in turn feel a personal connection with the company and would be more apt to make a purchase. If the client or end user can add a face to the name, this provides a personal connection and possibly a long standing customer.
Tip 3: Using Photos Purposefully
Photos can do many things that simple text does not – quickly tell a story, indicate your brand, show products, etc. Their ability to guide your users towards specific sections of your web pages is also an added bonus. The usefulness of a single photo can oftentimes speak louder than words. When selling products, photos are a great asset which can allow the consumer to see view the product first hand which could never be achieved as effectively with using plain text.
Tip 4: Optimizing Your Photos’ File Sizes
Your website’s responsiveness and speed are very critical factors – you have less than 3 seconds to grab the visitors attention and keep their interest to stay on your site and browse further. If your image sizes are too large, your page will load too slowly which may often frustrate the visitor and cause them to leave too soon. To improve web performance you’ll need to reduce the file size of your photos/images as much as you can to make them download as quickly as possible. An easy trick is to save images for ‘web use’ which turns high-resolution photos into a web-optimized format. I typically use PhotoShop for this and choose a preset setting because it doesn’t lower the quality of the photo but makes it much smaller.
Tip 5: Underestimating the Size of Your Images
The effects of placing a big photo as the background of your designs can create a huge impact and it’s definitely an easy way to catch the viewers’ attention. It also allows them to quickly see what your company is all about within a matter seconds. Just keep in mind, this large image should be selected carefully – you certainly don’t want to send the wrong message. However, large images may not always work in all designing applications, so tread lightly with this one.
Hope this information helps in your future photo selections. And I’m always available to chat so let me know how I can help with your company’s graphic design needs!