Images are worth a 1,000 words and when it comes to selecting images for your website, and anywhere else, it says volumes about you.
You want to use images that speak for you, the convey the tone and personality of your brand and website as well as reinforce your message.
You can get images from many different places:
~ Free royalty-free stock image websites,
~ Paid royalty-free stock image websites,
~ A professional photographer,
~ A friend, or
~ Your own camera.
But images or imagery doesn’t just refer to photographs. It can also mean illustrations, icons, infographics, charts, GIFs and even videos.
You must have the right to use them.
You want images that are in the public domain, are royalty-free, or come with a Creative Commons license. For each website you get photos from, you need to check the license that will tell you how you’re allowed to use them.
Never get images from a Google Search or from Google Images. Just don’t.
If you have taken the photos you might want to check that you have releases (or at least permission) from the other people in the photo that says you can use them.
If you’re not a photographer and don’t know anyone who is, you need an inexpensive source of images to add some colour, life and depth to your website. Royalty-free sites like Unsplash, Pexels and Deposit Photos can be extremely helpful.
Check out these blog posts for where to get free images and paid images.
10 Tips for selecting great images for your website
1. Is it relevant to your message?
The image you select has to fit with your message and it has to say the right thing. Images can say many different things at once. Make sure you know what the image you are considering could say in addition to what you think it is saying.
2. Don’t pick the first image
You want to be unique. The first image that comes up as a result of a search will be the one that someone else picks. You likely have already seen that image come up on some (or many) other websites. That’s because they were in a rush and grabbed the first one they could that was close to what they were trying to say. You want to take your time when selecting an image.
3. Take your time
You want to take your time when selecting an image. It has to fit with your message and it has to say the right thing. Images can say many different things at once. Make sure you know what the image you are considering could say in addition to what you think it is saying.
4. Use multiple search terms
Sometimes you will have an image in mind and that’s great! When you don’t, try other, more abstract search terms. Using broad or abstract keywords like ‘fun,’ ‘love,’ or ‘scared’ will help you broaden your image search. These types of keywords can help you find images that convey emotion and relate to your message. Try synonyms and phrases that are similar to the initial word you searched for.
5. Consistent colour and tone
If you have a brand, and you should, there are colours that fit within your colour pallet and then those that don’t. You want the colours in the image to work with your entire website if at all possible. You can consider warm vs cool colours as a starting point.
6. Is it relevant to your ideal client?
Consider the image in terms of what your ideal client wants and what it is you offer. What do they want? What feelings do they want more of? Safety? Security? Relaxation? What do they want to avoid? Pain? Embarrassment? Failure? Convey these feelings in the images you select.
7. Don’t choose perfect people
When you use images with people, you want your ideal client to be able to identify with them. Perfect people are not believable. Your ideal clients might aspire to be them, but they also feel like it isn’t possible. You want them to believe the result you are promising is possible for them. If you work with mature women, don’t use images of teenage models. If you work with rugged manly men, use images that will appeal to them specifically.
8. Choose images that fit with you and your brand
If you are a buttoned up corporate type then images of people in business suits will work for you. If you are a free-spirited bohemian, this type of image might not necessarily work for you (unless you are specifically trying to get those corporate types to loosen up).
9. Download the best resolution you can
On your website you will not want to use images that are massive, but if you have the larger file size then you have the ability to use it print materials (offline) without having to repurchase. You will need to resize and compress that image before you put it on your website or you may risk slowing down your site.
10. Organize your images
Come up with an plan to organized and store your photos on your computer (or an external hard drive) so that you can find them when you are looking for them later.
Selecting Images Summary
The images you select have a big job to do. They need to look good enough to appeal to you, they need to convey or expand on the message, and they need make your visitor feel something. It’s a lot to ask of one image. Hopefully these tips will help you when it comes selecting images.
What is your biggest tip when selecting images?