Technology / Website design

The role of great website photography

If you’re selling products or showcasing your services online, great website photography is an essential piece of the effective website puzzle.

12 August 2008 by

These days, everyone owns a digital camera. As a result, the number of amateur photographers has blossomed worldwide. This is great news for the family album, but can spell disaster for the website photography on small business websites.

Whilst I strongly recommend you hire a professional photographer, I realise this is cost prohibitive for many, so here are some tips for making your website photos look more attractive.

1. Focus and clarity

Don’t ever use blurry or out of focus photos. Always reshoot these until you’ve achieved a crisp subject.

Most digital cameras perform better with plenty of light, so if you’re taking shots inside, open up curtains, turn on lights and encourage as much brightness in the room as possible.

If you have a viewfinder on your camera, use it instead of the LCD screen. It’s much harder to hold the camera steady when it is away from your body.

2. Similar lighting

When taking a series of photos of a similar theme, keep the background and lighting the same in each photo. This is particularly important when you have a shopping cart website and are displaying many products on the same page.

"When taking a series of photos of a similar theme, keep the background and lighting the same in each photo."

It will help to have a dedicated space for taking product photos where you know the light will always be the same.

Products photographed with a clean white background are more popular for eCommerce websites as they provide no distraction from the item being sold.

Want more articles like this? Check out the website design section.

3. Simple backgrounds

Because the photos displayed on websites are quite small, less complex photos look much better. Try for shots with a single subject and a simple, plain background.

This is important when taking photos of landscapes, scenery or buildings. Look for angles which will give you an uncluttered shot and pick a day with a cloudless sky.

4. Put people in the picture

People in your photos will help your website visitors put themselves in the picture. This is particularly important for travel and tourism businesses which are selling an experience rather than a product.

Carefully consider the age and look of your models, as you want to align your imagery as closely as practical to your target demographic.

For example, travel & tourism sites could feature people doing enjoyable activities such as sipping cocktails, lazing around a pool or simply soaking up their surroundings.

5. Include your ugly mug!

Include photos of yourself and anything else people might associate with your business, such as your office or building, or staff looking smart.

The Internet’s anonymity is impersonal, so website photos of you give visitors the people contact they miss from a face-to-face transaction. It also raises your credibility through recognition.

Your website visitors will draw opinions about your business from the visual feedback on your website in a couple of seconds.

Sub-standard website photography casts a grey cloud over your business and will undoubtedly turn your customers away. Abundant and honest photography does just the opposite, drawing people to your product range and encouraging them to buy.

Nicky Jurd

is a friendly geek who provides business owners with a plain English approach to the web. She runs a full service web-development firm in sunny Cairns, and writes about effective small business websites through her blog.

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