Stock photos can be great, but they aren't always advisable. Here's when and why to use original, high-quality, professional photos on your website.
Unfortunately, images are sometimes an afterthought for business owners as they plan their website or add pages or blog posts to their site. Consequently, you end up a site with very few images (or none at all), stock images (that may end up looking cheesy and adding little or no value to the site), or team bio photos that were all taken in different places and are of varying qualities.
How do you think all that reflects on your company?
Sometimes your website is the first impression a potential customer has of your business. You want to put your best foot forward on all fronts, and that certainly includes images.
If you own a business, then you're a salesperson first and foremost. So you understand the role emotions play in the sales process. Sure, you can use great content to appeal to the emotions of potential buyers, but don't underestimate the power of images.
The Value of Using High-Quality Images on Your Website
High-Quality Images Enhance the User Experience (UX)
From a UX standpoint, images are powerful. They're engaging, they break up content (which most people don't read anyway -- they scan), and they help tell your story. They add life and personality to your pages. They evoke emotion.
Remember, images (like content and design) aren't really about you at all. They're about your audience. Your prospects care about themselves, not your product or service. So be creative and use images wisely to address your prospective customer's pain points.
Not sure who your target audience is? Click here to learn how to create your buyer persona.
High-Quality Images Boost Your Credibility
High-quality images also add credibility to your business. Imagine you're looking for a CPA. You land on a website with a few small, grainy, boring, obligatory images that don't add any value to the site. Next you visit a site that has high-quality, vivid images that are well-placed and not cheesy. Which company do you think spent more time and money on its investment? Which one shows attention to detail and appreciation for class and professionalism? Which one demonstrates a modern, 21st century approach?
Stock Photos vs. Original Imagery
There are some great stock photo sites out there. One BIG caveat, however: be sure you have permission to use the stock photos, and that you provide attribution if it's required. The internet is crawling with what I call "copyright trolls" whose sole purpose is scaring people into paying exorbitant amounts of money to "settle" their copyright infringement cases.
This SlideShare by Hubspot will give you all the dos and don'ts of using stock photography. Watch it:
High-Quality Images for Your Team Photos
We always recommend hiring a professional photographer to take team photos. When a prospect visits your About or Team page, they will be much more impressed with high-quality, professionally taken photos. And you can get creative, too. They don't just have to be square headshots on a white background. Showcase your team's personality with interesting and different poses -- just make sure the background and format are uniform.
Final Thought: As always, we recommend our good friend Jon Haverstick for all your business photography needs! Many of our clients have hired Jon for their team photos, on-site action shots, or product photos -- especially where stock photos fall short -- and he's added depth, emotion, and personality to the websites every time.