Finding The Right Photos For Your Website


One of the most frequently asked questions at MW Web Design is "how (and where) do I find the right photos for my website?" Photos can literally make or break your website and let's face it — people love to look at pictures. The old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words, is so very true. We're not talking about custom graphics or any actual graphic design work. What we're talking about are the photographs used on your website.

Finding just the right photos for your website which properly portray your company's message to your visitors is an important (and sometimes, challenging) part of the web design process. Webpages without the proper blend of text and photos can often become too "text heavy" making it difficult for people to fully absorb all of your content (yes — our blog pages are somewhat "guilty" but then again, blogs are a bit of a different breed of webpage). If there's too much text on a webpage without enough "supporting" images put in place for the purpose of drawing attention to specific areas, people may find it difficult to read everything you're trying to say.

Effective use of white space can also influence the way a visitor "digests" your website. White space is the open space between (and around) the individual design elements on a webpage. When used properly, it can make a website much less visually-demanding. Ideally, a perfect blend of white space, content and just the right photos in the right places can make for a very visually-appealing website which is easy on the eyes.

So let's take a look at five ways to find the right photos for your website:

1) We include local digital photography services in some of the web design packages we offer and can come to your workplace to take photographs of you, your business, your products and your surroundings. We have offered this service for many years now and have used original digital photography on a number of the websites we've designed, including our own. We're not professional photographers by trade but we've been involved with digital photography since Apple's first QuickTake Digital Camera was released in 1994. The photo shown below of downtown Vancouver was taken by MW Web Design nine years ago in November of 2001 with one of our very first Canon digital cameras. We've taken some fabulous photos for our clients over the years.

2) MW Web Design has a collection of over ten-thousand, 100% original and royalty-free photos from which you can choose. You're more than welcome to take advantage of our collection and during the course of prototyping your website (preparing your "mock up"), we can help you to choose just the right ones. Obviously, we may not necessarily have just the right photo for your custom wheel and tire business but in many cases, we can find photos which suit our client's needs very well, particularly for holistic web design projects. There are no extra charges involved when using photos from our collection.

3) There are a number of websites on the Internet which offer completely free photos, clip art and icons. The overall selection on some of these websites can often be quite limited and you have to make sure that you pay close attention to the copyright terms before using them on your own website. In our dealings with the general public over the years, we've found that many business owners simply don't understand that they can't just "grab" a photo off the Internet and place it on their own website. This is because of copyright.

4) Hiring a professional photographer can sometimes be a costly venture but the results will more than likely be outstanding. If your budget permits, and if you have a serious web design project in mind, you may wish to hire a professional photographer especially if you have a lot of products to sell and require crystal clear close-ups. One quick look at the Apple website can show you what the best professional photographers in the business can do.

5) You can use a "stock photography" service such as iStockPhoto. This is probably the most professional and cost-effective option for the majority of us since the price (not to mention the quality) of iStockPhoto images is simply unparalleled. We find iStockPhoto to be the finest and most reasonably-priced stock photography service on the Internet. Dozens of our clients have used their services, purchasing royalty-free images for use on their websites. We've also used them ourselves. For a Small Business Website, the cost of purchasing graphics from iStockPhoto for a main header graphic, a different supporting graphic on each page and a number of smaller supporting graphics throughout your content areas works out to between $50.00 to $90.00 CDN. That's a decent price considering the quality of the images. And as an added bonus, iStockPhoto is a Canadian company based out of Calgary, Alberta.

We'll be happy to guide you through the process of finding "just that right photo" for your website through one of the many available options. Budget has been a major concern for many of the clients we deal with and staying within that budget is very important for all of us. Whether you require the digital photography services of MW Web Design, a browse through our collection of photos, a recommendation to a professional photography firm or help with choosing the right iStockPhoto images, we're here to help.

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