Imagery is everything in website design


This is the second in a weekly series of posts about driving traffic to your website and converting that traffic to sales. You can view the first post here. These next two posts in this series will deal with the look and feel of your website because frankly, driving traffic to a horrible looking website is kinda pointless. In fact, owning a poorly designed website is more damaging to your business than no website at all.


So in today’s post we shall discuss the imagery on your website (next week we will talk more generally about design). Hands down, nothing impacts on the aesthetic of your website more than the images contained in it. In fact, if you cast your eye over some of your favourite websites – chances are they appeal to you because they incorporate beautiful imagery. And it doesn’t matter what your budget is these days, beautiful imagery is available to everyone. Here are your options:


As with anything in life, you get what you pay for, so trying to find tonnes of mind-blowing images that are also free is not easy, but there are definitely some good free image sites out there. This website gives a neat rundown on the options open to you. Many of our clients have managed to find great images on dreamstime and stock.xchang – it just takes a bit of patience and searching!


While you might find it hard to justify paying up to $50 for just one great image, when you consider the costs of organising an actual photo shoot (which involves a photographer, studio, props, models and creative direction) you soon come to realise that $50 for an image is not that much at all. In fact, if it is a killer image, it is MORE than worth it! We use istockphoto and Big Stock Photo when we’re looking for beautiful images that don’t cost the earth. And happily, because we only need screen resolution images for websites (72dpi instead of 300dpi), the small to medium sized image options are usually big enough.

istockphoto price options
These are fairly standard pricing options for istockphoto images. Generally speaking 1 credit is worth ~$2 and for website purposes, you wouldn’t need anything larger than the medium sized option. More often than not, the small size will do the job.

Want to see an istockphoto image in action? Have a look below. As you can see, the image absolutely makes the whole design



There are a few situations where having professionally taken images is a particularly worthwhile investment and staff photos is one. Most businesses will take their staff photos up against the nearest light coloured wall with whatever camera is close at hand. We’ve done this too. I thought that between my fancy SLR camera and considerable Photoshop skills I would be able to produce some decent shots. Well they were ok (ish), but they sure didn’t look anywhere near as nice as when Angelique Lee took them.

Yes the Swish staff are going to kill me for using their photos in a blog post. But as you can see, these professionally taken images are uniform with nice colour and clarity and no horrible shadows on the wall behind the staff member. This is in stark contrast to the pics I took myself.

Action shot time again. Look at how this beautiful, professionally taken photo of Malini Parker really sets the tone for her whole website Malini


One place where professional imagery is an absolute must is if you are selling your products online. For my Smile Collective online shop, I had a crack at taking my own styled shots. Because the prints were framed, I had a horrible time trying to eliminate the reflections on the glass but after a lot of mucking around in Photoshop, I managed to get rid of the reflections. The canvas prints were MUCH easier and I was pretty happy with the way those pics came up. You can check out my amazing work below.

As you can see, these aren’t the worst things ever, but they are clearly the efforts of a very amateur photographer (me)

Then a few weeks ago Justine from Perth Upmarket organised a group photo shoot for her retailers with Alex from sundaysunset.images. Justine is a CHAMP and so is Alex.

Professional Photo Setup
Here’s the set up Alex has for taking professional studio shots. I won’t show you my setup!

Now here are the images Alex took of my products.

Oh hey, look what a professional can do – I just swooned when I saw these pics.

The difference is even more apparent when you see the images ‘in situ’ in The Smile Collective online store. Website-Before-After Mmm yes, I know which of the photos above would be responsible for me pressing ‘Add to Cart’. As an aside, one other thing I believe is important is to offer both styled and unstyled shots of your product in an online shop. The styled shots will show the buyer not just what the item is but also how it can be displayed in their home.

A clear unstyled shot (left) of the product image is always a good idea as it allows for closer examination of the product. A beautifully styled shot however can often be the difference between clinching the sale and not.

So what else can I tell you about website imagery before this post gets too epic? I am not sure there is anything else actually so that makes this a good place to end this week’s post. Next week we shall tackle the topic of your website design in general and all the little things you can do that will make a big difference for people visiting your site. Until then it is over to you – do you have any questions about the above? Or any comments to make about the importance of imagery for websites and online shops? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Read the next post in the series


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