If you ask any designer about the main elements to be considered for successful web design, they will most likely mention the quality of the images used as one of the main components.
There is some undeniable truth to this – high quality photography not only demonstrates the skill and care of the website owner (even if the pictures aren’t theirs), they also help with the promotion process if, by chance, the website you’re editing is focused on selling products and services or reviewing already existing products.
So, what can you do from the very beginning of your website planning to make your site successful? Let’s go through some key points that will boost your site performance with the help of professional photography.
Get your web designer involved in the process
Despite being an obvious consideration, there are those who don’t think this is quite necessary. Still, let me give you a quick example: imagine your web designer (this even could be you!) is already finishing a mockup of your site, when you show up with a pile of high-quality photography. Obviously, you would like to add as much content as possible; even more if you actually paid for it, but you may realize, “Oh these are great images, but I would need to readjust the complete layout and color scheme of the site in order to make it work.” Now you have a huge problem on your hands.
Certain sites have a very tightly controlled color scheme that applies to fonts, banners, menus, etc., so you can’t just drop in photos without taking into consideration the job previously done. Not only will the images not fit the site, it will demonstrate a lack of skill on your part.
In addition, certain pictures with special formats, such as panoramas, require a special layout format in order to fit with the existing content on the site.
If you think about the overall web design at the very beginning of the process, you will save yourself a lot of wasted time trying to combine the work from both areas. The workflow will be neater, and there is no doubt that you will learn a thing or two in the process.
Don’t use old images for a new website
Let me first ask you this – what is the image you want to convey with your new site? You worked too hard to create a new fantastic site, perfecting every single detail of it, to then go and ruin it by using old pictures from your (failed) previous attempt!
Your new website has to invite users to explore it, to give a fresh breeze of innovation, so whenever someone talks about it, they don’t just say it is the very same site just with a few changes in color and layout. You’re trying to convey a new image, a huge renovation, rather than merely a cleanup of a previous site.
So go ahead and grab your camera, and take some new pictures for your new website. If you don’t have the skills to do so, you can hire a professional photographer to do the job, or even better, learn how to do it on your own.
Consider the skills of the photographer
Just because you know that somebody on your team has a camera, this does not necessarily make him or her a photographer.
Unless you work for a photography firm, don’t assume that everyone with a nice looking camera, such as a DSLR, is in fact a good skilled photographer. You may be in for a big disappointment.
Look over the portfolio of the person in question carefully, before even considering hiring them. This is essential to predict what the finished job might look like. Obviously, even that person could have an off day, and the job done may not show their true potential, but a complete lack of skills can’t be brushed off as a ‘bad day,’ and in the end you are the one who will get frustrated with content that doesn’t match your criteria.
Use good quality post-production software
To ensure that a photograph is of high quality, you must learn your way around post-production software. I don’t mean amateur software like Picasa or some other image editors, you have to learn how software like Corel PaintShop Pro, Apple Photos, Adobe Photoshop, or Adobe Lightroom works.
My personal choice for doing post-production adjustments is a combination of Adobe Lightroom (for doing all the post-production essentials) and Adobe Photoshop (for adding special effects). Of course, you should take into consideration that I happen to work with Windows and not Mac, although both of these software programs are fully compatible for Mac users.
Good quality post-production requires good quality tools. From the very first moment you decide to embark on this journey, be sure to get your hands on good resources for accomplishing the job you need to get done. Fonts, overlays, Photoshop actions, and of course, a good library of Lightroom presets, can save the day before you know it.
Sometimes, the key is not only skill but also time management. If you need to process a large number of pictures for a publication due in two hours, you most likely will not have time to process each picture individually to get the job done. Instead, you will need to have a good library of high-quality presets in order to create the perfect postproduction work. You will need to be sure of the capacities and quality of your presets, so you may want to choose a qualified design studio like Sleeklens. Think of a design studio as an investment in your site or your brand, as you will find yourself using presets over and over.
As you can see, several elements need to be taken into consideration if you want to produce a quality website with quality imagery. Even if some of the elements stated seem obvious, they are often the reason why website admins make the same mistakes over and over. Give yourself time for careful consideration, before adding media content to your site. Later on, you will be grateful that you took the time when your site becomes a huge success.
About the Author: Jane Grates manages Sleeklens.com, which specializes in Lightroom and Photoshop. You can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. If she is not busy managing Sleeklens, you can find her traveling around the world or enjoying long nature walks.