10 Tips for Choosing Great Stock Images For Your Website Design

May 10, 2016 | Website Design

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Kevin Fouche

10 Tips for Choosing Great Stock Images For Your Website Design

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

As the saying goes ‘a picture tells a thousand words’, imagery has long played a leading role in website success. One of the key things we always tell our clients is to make sure they have the best imagery to compliment the content on their website.

And whilst some businesses do have the means and budget to employ a photographer, many businesses turn to stock photography for their website images.

So how do you make sure you choose the best stock imagery for your website?

If you’re a frequent reader of this space, you may have noticed: visuals matter in making your digital presence succeed. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that unequivocally, visuals are the most important part of your website.

Don’t believe us? Consider these statistics:

And we could go on. But we’ll keep it short: images are the core part of making your website successful. Fortunately, the internet has continued to make receiving these images easier over the years. Stock image libraries are increasingly affordable, allowing marketers in all industries to showcase their business with professional-quality, engaging photographs.

Why Choose Stock Images?

You may be naturally hesitant to using stock images in your digital marketing. But in fact, in many cases and especially for small businesses, this type of photo is a perfect fit. It enables you easy access to professional-level imagery, saving you the hassle of having to hire a photographer or making due with personally shot images. In addition, buying a stock image means you will have all the rights necessary for publication, avoiding potential (and even unintentional) copyright infringements.

But even considering all of these benefits, choosing a stock image does not make your website succeed by default. You need to make sure that you pick the right photograph to represent your business, which you can do using these 10 tips:

1. Go For Quality

By choosing stock imagery, you have access to a wide database with plenty of options. Make the most of it by choosing an image that’s as professional as possible.

2. Prioritise People

People resonate more with digital audience than any other type of image or graphic. When possible, choose an image that includes a human presence.

3. Consider your Audience

Choose an image that is most likely to resonate not with you, but with your target audience. When in doubt, show a few options to a member of your audience for feedback.

4. Know the Intent

The location of your stock image will and should influence your choice. A hero image on your home page will need to look very different than one that functions as background for text on a sub page.

5. Leave Room for Text

You should always leave room to add text that connects the image with your brand and core value propositions. Stock images that leave room for this text or any type of headline tend to function best.

6. Play With Emotions

Images that most resonate with your audiences are those that elicit an emotion – from surprise to happiness or (in some cases) anger. Stock images achieve that reaction through facial expressions, colour choices, and more.

7. Keep it Unique

Don’t choose the top-selling stock image on your database of choice. You are going for a unique image that your audience hasn’t seen before.

8. Don’t Overdo It

In the pursuit of finding a unique and emotional image, it’s easy to go for the drastic picture with crazy poses. Instead, pick one that’s as natural as possible to avoid cognitive dissonance on the part of your audience.

9. Suggest Action

Like everything else on your website, your stock image ultimately functions to compel your audience to action. Choosing a photo that supports that goal – such as a luscious image related to your product – can help drive conversions and increase your business.

10. Never Forget the CVP

The core value proposition is the one benefit that makes your brand stand out from its competition. Ultimately, your stock image should support that benefit, helping further distinguish you in the minds of your audience.

Following these 10 tips helps ensure that you pick a stock image that resonates with your audience and increases the success of your website. To learn more about incorporating stock images into your website design, contact us.

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Kevin Fouché, Pixel Fish Director