A basic approach to taking quality pictures for your website
The internet is meant to be a fast and easy way to access info, and modern users expect it to cater to their short attention spans. You have a lot of info to convey in a short period of time: what you sell, the value your product provides, how you sell it. And none of this info means anything if the user doesn’t know who is selling it --- they need to see the people behind the brand.
Quality pics can convey a lot of info in an instant. Interpreting good images takes less mental energy and less time than reading text. Pictures also deliver an emotional charge, and pictures of people, specifically, help us feel connected. Without people to relate to, after all, a brand is just an organization that wants your money. So with all that being said, a tasteful balance of pictures and text is exactly what users need to appreciate your brand.
When to use pictures
1. When words are not enough; when pictures can further the plot and provide additional info
2. When using a photo lets you tell your story with fewer words (but without compromising the story)
3. When you can emphasize/reinforce your point with a photo
4. When you can use a photo to deliver or enhance an emotional payoff
5. When people are being talked about
6. When you can use a photo to help the user visualize an experience
What your pictures should communicate
You’ll want all the content on your site, including pictures, to share info that is:
Relevant: Make sure its something that the people your site is intended for will be interested in; know your audience, know your customer.
Useful: Info is useful if it leads the user to a conclusion that can help them in some way. Maybe it tells them how your product can change their life; maybe it just answers a frequently asked question.
Accurate: Only say things that are credible and accurate. When it comes to pictures, be careful you don’t imply something that isn’t true about the brand or product. Be conscientious of the expectations you could be creating in their mind.
Comprehensible: Its all for naught if the user can’t quickly comprehend what you’re communicating. If the user has to peruse over your photos to get the essentials, you’re making them work. And internet users don’t like work.
The basics of an effective shot
Make sure the picture is clear and technically sound, and make sure the pic is artistic. In the latter, the main thing is for the picture to be comfortable to look at. Certain effects can cause a sense of unease in the viewer, taking away from the user experience.
Subject needs to be tastefully framed
The standard position for the main subject of a shot is either centered, or on one of the four points created by the rule-of-thirds lines.
Don’t crowd the subject by leaving too little space around it in the frame; don’t make the subject appear small by leaving too much space. Orient subjects in a way that appears visually stable and balanced. Finally, when it comes to people, if they aren’t facing directly into the camera, you want them facing toward the open side of the frame. If the viewer can’t see the space into which they are facing, they’ll feel uneasy.
Shot needs to be free of distractions
Nothing should be in the shot that is not part of the natural setting or contributing to the story. You want the viewer to focus on what’s relevant. Eliminate clutter and out of place objects. Make sure the colors in the scene don’t clash and create an unintended effect, or, adversely, provide too little contrast. Basically, eliminate or modify anything that might make somebody wonder why it is there. Eliminate anything you don’t want associated with the subject.
When it comes to people, make sure the are minding their P’s and Q’s --- no out of place loose buttons, untied shoelaces, or crooked glasses. You want the same professional appearance you strive for elsewhere. Photos can allow for some individual expression; what you want to avoid is provoking the viewer into a major hang up on the subject’s personal taste (unless their personal taste is the point of the photo).
For professional level photos
The ability to shoot professional-level photos is one that needs to be developed, as it gets more technical, more artistic, and more expensive. To learn what it take to capture the full power that photography offers, you can brush up on the importance of colors and how they make us feel, with articles like this one Professionals always use lighting; a workable lighting setup doesn’t need to be expensive, but is a must. For portraits, its important to understand what body language, posture, and the angle of the shot communicate.
Save yourself the time and money by hiring your photos out. This also comes with the reassurance that you’re not overlooking any important aspect in your photos. For help with product photography and all general photography for your website, you can contact Inquisitek by filling out our contact form here