How to Capture Captivating Photos For Your Website
The photographs on your website are vital to creating a visual design that captures your audience and keeps them. With our brains processing visual information 60,000 faster than text, it’s no wonder that 90% of the information that is transmitted to our brains comes via images. What people see on your site is important.
Whether you use metaphorical images to illustrate your company’s values or literal images to show products or services, your photos should always be captivating. A crappy quality photo can cause your website visitors to up and leave your site, thinking that you’re not legit and well, no one wants that. This is precisely why you want awesome images on your website.
We get that not everyone has the budget to hire a professional photographer but with a few tips you can capture your own stunning photos. Although this may seem obvious to say, you will need a camera. Your iPhone or Android is not a camera! Sure it has a camera, but you’re sacrificing picture quality at the expense of convenience. Believe us! Your web designer will be asking you to provide the best quality image files you’ve got especially if you want a full screen web design.
So here are a few tips to get you started on snapping photos that are website worthy:
Make the most of nature and natural light
Product placement in just the right lighting can transform your subject from blah to oh yeah. All around us the outdoor universe offers an abundance of beautiful backdrops for whatever it is you’re shooting. Free of flashes and studio lighting, the sun is illuminating your subject and the multiple colors of the great outdoors help to bring greater life to your photos.
The best time to shoot outside is at dusk and dawn. I vividly remember my award-winning photography professor calling these the “golden hours”. When the sun is rising and the sun is setting, you end up with a softer light that casts softer shadows and produces some interesting textures in your photographs.
Avoid shooting mid day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, the direct light all around can make for some harsh shadows or blown out (i.e.) over exposed images. The light at this time doesn’t have the ability to easily scatter and diffuse through the atmosphere to illuminate your subject which is why you end up with harsh looking photos.
Use the Rule of Thirds
You’ve probably heard of the rule of thirds, if you haven’t – you’re in luck. The rule of thirds is one of the most useful techniques to help you improve the composition and balance of your images.
The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image up into thirds, by creating two equally spaced horizontal lines and then two equally spaced vertical lines which will then leave your image made up of nine parts.
You’ll then want to position your most important elements in the scene along these lines or where the lines intersect. By creating an off-centre composition you create more tension, energy and interest in the composition rather than simply centering your subject.
Keep the rule of thirds in mind while you snap photos to frame your compositions in a way that will be more pleasing to the eye. Some cameras even have settings that will overlay a rule of thirds grid onto your photo when you’re shooting. Also, when you crop your photos, most photo editing software will pull up the rule of thirds gridlines to help you position your photos to follow the rule.
Remember the wordsContext is everything and when you’re shooting photos you’ll want to remember where they’ll be displayed on your website and how you intend to use them. Are you going to have words running across your image? Or is the image a standalone that will have text underneath it?
By remembering the words that will go along with your image, you ensure that the image is relevant and applies to what is being said. It also reminds you of what you need to shoot. You also have the opportunity to ensure that when you frame an image, there is enough “blank space” in the photograph so that if words will go overtop, they will not be competing with what is in the background.
When possible, use faces in your photography. We are drawn into looking into the faces of others.
Dr. Owen Churches is a researcher from the school of psychology at Flinders University in Adelaide. For years he has studied the neuroscience of face perception. “Most of us pay more attention to faces than we do to anything else,” he says. “We know experimentally that people respond differently to faces than they do to other object categories.”
Eye-tracking studies have shown that the first thing people look at when scoping out your social networking profile is your picture. We want to see other people’s faces.
If you can incorporate photos including people into your website, do so. People wearing or using products is much more interesting that just a shot of the product itself.
Make the most of color
Why are rainbows so awesome? Because they’re rare (unless you live in Hawaii I suppose) and they’re just a stunning display of color spread out against the sky. Color should be your best friend when taking photos and in your photo editing stages.
If you’re not a photoshop wizard, most photo editing software still has the capacity for you to turn up the vibrancy in your photos. Do it. Play with your photos and the ‘filters’ that your editing software has. It can take your photos to the next level.
Also, just like remembering what words will be on your website, think about the color scheme that you want your website to be when taking your photos. When shooting, think about these colors to ensure that the photos you take will compliment your website’s color palette.
Now go out and shoot. Practice does make perfect with photography. The web has a wealth of resources to help you fine tune your photography skills and these simple tips are a good basis for you to get started. Go be snap happy and good luck!