One of the things that can make a huge difference in the quality of your website is having high quality photos and images featured throughout. Sites with low-quality, pixelated, or just poorly shot images just don’t look good. And it’s not just me who thinks that way, it’s all those visitors who are bouncing off your website too.
Load times are always going to be a concern for your website and its pages, but the proliferation of broadband high speed internet connections tend to marginalize this issue (but don’t ignore it!). You can get high quality images to load quickly and look great at the same time.
However, getting good, quality images, isn’t very hard to do. No – you don’t go and search through Google Images and grab what you want. That’s the wrong way to do it, and it can get you in a lot of hot water so resist the temptation. But there are several ways that you can get quality images for your site that are legal, ethical and perfectly okay.
Use Stock Libraries
Sites like iStockPhoto.com, BigStockPhoto.com, DepositPhotos.com, Corbis, & Getty Images all have stock imagery that you can purchase a license for and use on your site. The licensing will differ between providers. Some are inexpensive, quick and easy, others are not quite so easy, and rather pricey. My personal preference is to use iStockphoto.com. I’ve used images from there for several years and there is some good stuff there.
Use Creative Commons to Your Advantage
Using creative commons licensed photography is always good option if you don’t want to go the stock photography route. Many times all that’s needed is an attribution for the image, and that you’re not using them for commercial use. I use this option a lot here on this blog and get a lot of images from Flickr. One of the greatest sources of cool images is the Library of Congress’ account on Flickr. You can tell that I use a lot of shots from there – I love the retro look.
When you’re searching on Flickr, to find the creative commons content, click on the advanced search options, scroll to the bottom and select the “only search within Creative-Commons-licensed content”.
Hire a Professional
When it comes to getting things done just right, hiring a photographer is never a bad choice. This is especially true when you need head shots for your blog, or other personal images that have to look great. There’s no harm in using your own images for your website – I do it all the time. However, when these are the only images and you’re really trying to present yourself in professional manner, you have to make sure that they look awesome.
Making your website look awesome isn’t all that hard to do and using high-quality images is a big step in that direction.
Do you have a favorite source for awesome photos and images? Post it in the comments!
image by dagnyg