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For What It’s Worth

By Ali Nagy

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Clichés are, nine times out of ten, rooted in a repeated experience shared by many people. Today, I address a classic: a picture is worth a thousand words.

This old adage is particularly true and relevant when selecting imagery for your website. Images on your site should be on-brand, visually appealing, and most importantly-enhance the great content you’re sharing with the world. Some things you do NOT want your imagery to do? Confuse, distract, or annoy your visitors.

Unfortunately, this tends to be the rule rather than the exception. Now is the part where I share some tips to select awesome imagery for your site.

1. Be Real.

People relate to real, honest-to-goodness humans. Get photos taken of your team. Let the world see your real work space. Don’t be afraid to be yourselves-your clients are going to figure out what you look like and where you work eventually, right? Also, you don’t want to end up like this company:

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 4.27.29 PMThis French tourism company got into major trouble (and embarrassment) when a gentleman noticed that this image was taken in his hometown, rather than the location it was advertising. Had they simply gone out and had a photographer snap a few photos, this entire situation could’ve been avoided. (Read full article here.)

A good rule of thumb for selecting stock photography or graphics? If the subject is something that you can easily photograph yourself, or hire a photographer or designer to create for you, don’t waste your money on it. Real photos create a far deeper connection than a lame photograph that has been plastered over hundreds of other sites.

Additionally, give the people who visit your site some credit! No one is going to buy that the folks who work at your office actually complete the weekly reports alone, in a pristine meadow.

enhanced-buzz-13712-1307126577-53Or that this actually happens when you meet a deadline accurately. You get my drift.


2. Be Conscious of Your Shape 

No, I’m not referring to maintaining that girlish figure. What I’m talking about is being conscious of the size and shape of the area your imagery is going to be occupying.

For example, you may fall in love with a photo. The colors are perfect-they coordinate beautifully with your brand-no clashing here folks!  The people in the image look natural (unlike the images above) and relatable to the people in your target audience. Breathless with excitement, you hit the “buy now” button.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 3.56.30 PM

There’s just one teensy tiny problem: the moment you upload the photo to your website, you are horrified by how it is cropped to fit within your sidebar navigation slide show. Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 3.59.42 PM

The easiest way to avoid this heart breaking occurrence is to to know where the photo will be placed before you even begin your search. How much space do you have? Should you be searching for horizontal or vertical images? If this image DOES get cropped, will it do so in an appealing way?

Same rules apply to those who are creating their own imagery-the more you know, the more you can plan and generate images that coincide beautifully with your layout.

3.  Be Relevant

YOU are the expert on the subject of what it is that your company does best. Show off this expertise by picking or creating images that accurately depict your knowledge or process. Below is an example we created to take you through the Imagebox process!

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 10.33.18 AM

Say that your company does a fantastic job of strategizing and planning air-tight fiscal plans that deliver wonderful benefits for your clients and their employees.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 4.15.54 PM

Here is an image that Donald from accounting suggests to appear on your services overview page. Does this image REALLY speak to what it is that you do?  Does this image enhance your information in any way? Does this image even make sense? Didn’t think so. Don’t be a Donald. Pick your pics responsibly, people.