Having the right content on your site is so important for engaging with people and turning them into customers. Last time we looked at the content-first approach and how that lets you create a better website. But remember, your content is more than just the words. You need images too.
Some of those images will be sourced or created as part of the design process, while others you’ll need to give to your designer before any design work starts. Let’s take a look at the 5 kinds of images your designer will need for your website and when they’ll be needed.
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1. Your logo
The first, and arguably most important, is your logo. Placed in your site header, it’s one of the first things people will see when they land on your site and key to helping people recognise and remember your brand.
If your designer also created your logo they should already have a copy of your logo ready for adding to your site’s header. But if your logo was designed by someone else, you’ll need to give your web designer a copy of your logo.
If you have a PNG file of your logo, ideally with a transparent background, that’s a great option to send to your designer so they can quickly and easily add it to your site. If you don’t have that, give them a vector EPS file and they can create the PNG file from that.
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2. Pictures of you
You know the saying, ‘people buy from people’? It’s a cliché because it’s so true. We love to see who we’re buying from or working with. So when people see a nice, friendly photo of you on your website you start building rapport and trust with them.
Plus when people buy from a small business, part of the appeal is knowing that they’re dealing with real people rather than a big faceless corporation. So don’t let your business be faceless!
Get some photos taken of you (and your team too, if you’re not a solopreneur). A mix of headshots and more pulled back photos (so there’s more of you in the frame) should give you and your designer flexibility in using the images. It can also be a nice touch to mix in some photos of you ‘at work’ along with your posed portraits.
Make sure your photos are professional quality – no selfies! A professional photographer will help you get images that:
- Include a good mix of headshots and pulled back shots,
- Are good quality and high-resolution,
- Use a background that won’t distract people by being too busy,
- Includes white space so the images are flexible, and can be used in a variety of ways, like overlaid with text or cropped in different ways.
Tip: if it fits with your branding, incorporating illustrative portraits of you can work just as well, and using a custom illustration for your headshot rather than a photo can help you stand out.
3. Product photos
If you sell products you must have photos of them (or mockups can be useful if your products are purely digital, like eBooks). People need to see what they’re buying before they decide to buy it.
Good quality product photos can help you increase your sales. But more than that, they can help you reduce the number of returns and refunds you have to process because people are able to see clearly what they’re getting before making the purchase. They know exactly what to expect when their order arrives and increases the likelihood that they love it.
Ideally your product photos should be:
- Taken with a proper camera rather than a phone (some people can take really good photos with their phones, but I’ve found that they’re in the minority!),
- A mix of full shots and closeups, so people can see the details of what they’re buying,
- A mix of isolated shots on a plain background and ‘lifestyle’ shots of your products in use.
What if you sell services rather than products?
If you sell services or custom made to order items, portfolio images are more your thing than product photos. Samples of work you’ve already done give people a good idea of the quality of your work, the range of what you offer and an idea of what it’s like to work with you. That’ll help them judge whether or not they’re interested in hiring you.
- A designer like me would use images of logos and websites I’ve created.
- A painter and decorator could use photos of rooms they’ve worked on.
- A blogger or writer could use screenshots of their articles along with links to the live articles.
- A bakery creating custom birthday/celebration cakes could show photos of their past bakes.
4. Stock photography
Now that we’ve covered your brand-specific imagery, there are other types of images you would have on your site. Stock photography is a good option for places where you need a more general image, for example if I wanted to show a designer’s desk on a page of my site I’d probably use a stock photo rather than a photo of my actual desk (too messy!).
Stock photos are also great options for background images, patterns and textures. They’ll add visual interest to the design of your site and help illustrate parts of your content.
You can work with a photographer to create your own library of stock photos. The advantages of that would obviously be the exclusivity of the images and they can all be branded with your specific style, colours etc, and be tailored to your exact needs. But the costs of hiring a photographer for this can soon add up.
Then you have the free and paid stock photo sites. They offer you an easy way to get lots high-quality images without breaking the bank, so they’re the perfect place to find photos for things like your blog posts.
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Most designers will be happy to pick the stock photos for you since they might have a particular idea in mind to fit the design of your site. Some designers will charge you an extra fee to cover time spent searching for stock photos. Others will include it in their fee as standard. That’s what I do since I can’t think of a single site I’ve worked on that didn’t need at least one stock photo and I usually have specific ideas about the types of images that would fit the design.
If you want to choose some stock images for your site though, or your designer asks you to pick some images, send them to your designer at the start of your project along with your logo and headshots so your designer can work them into the design.
When you’re picking photos there are a few things to bear in mind:
- Think about how the image will be used, for example if you’re looking for an image to use as a background or want it to stretch the full width of the screen, remember that websites are landscape format. You need a wide image, not cropped in too close to the subject.
- If you want an image to be overlaid by some text, look for images that have white space in them. White, or empty, space around the main subject of the image gives you an unobtrusive, non-distracting bit of background to place your text on so it’s properly legible.
- Please, please, please stay away from the typical stock images of things like businessmen shaking hands. They’re overused, super cheesy and honestly, they really don’t give the best impression of your business. Trust me, there are better options out there.
You might also like: How to choose stock photography for your brand
5. Icons and illustrations
Another type of imagery your designer might source for you (or you choose together) are icons and illustrations. Icons can be super helpful in breaking up lists of features or benefits, making them easy to scan and people can see the good stuff at a glance.
And if it fits with your branding, illustrations can really help your site stand out from the competition by being different and eye-catching.
Again, you have a few options for sourcing icons and illustrations.If you have the budget for custom illustration or icons, this can give your site a really unique look. For example, I’ve created some of my own illustrations and icons for my site, which helps to add my own style and stops it ending up a generic-looking site.
Icon sets and icon fonts are commonly built into WordPress themes and plugins, making them super quick and easy to use. For example, the icons in my site footer use a standard icon set. That’s such a convenient way to add the social media links. You wouldn’t usually want to use a custom Twitter icon, for example, or people won’t recognise that it’ll take them to your Twitter profile.
FontAwesome is another common option, an icon font that is used on many sites, for example:
You can also buy stock illustrations and icons, which can be more affordable than commissioning custom illustrations, while still giving your site extra character.
For example, when working on the Content Boost site I knew that a few space-related icons would be a fun touch. I started sketching out some ideas but as we hadn’t budgeted for custom illustration work I also did a quick search for stock icons. Almost immediately I found an icon set really similar to what I had in mind so it made total sense to spend a few quid on that rather than draw my own:
Good places to find stock illustrations and icons include:
Get organised to keep your site on track
The actual images your site will use will vary depending on the type of business you have, but these are the most common kinds of images your designer will need for your website.
As with your text content, your designer will need at least some of your images upfront, before any design work starts. Which ones will depend on the types of images your site will be using but it’s safe to say that your logo, headshots and product photos are all essential at the start of a project so they can be properly built into the design.
Delays in providing them can mean you need to go through extra rounds of design revisions, which could delay the launch of your new site. If you need time to get new headshots taken or you want to commission some custom illustrations, speak to your designer so that can be worked into your project schedule so things stay on track.
Ready to start on your new site?
If you’d like to work together on a new site, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch to arrange a chat.
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