Stock photography can be an asset to websites if used correctly. The most popular images on stock photo websites have often appear elsewhere hundreds or even thousands of times. Some, such as “woman laughing alone with salad,” have become so cliché that they are now considered humorous. These overused images can give a website a canned, unprofessional look that sends visitors away before they look at any content.
On the other hand, webmasters who take the time to utilize stock photos in unique ways benefit when visitors remain on the site to browse. This is especially useful for businesses looking to boost sales and draw in new customers. Try these five tips for creating visually interesting websites using stock photography:
1) Go Beyond Headers
Stock photography is often used in headers or sidebars to fill blank spaces. While this can help balance the look of a site in some cases, simply filling gaps with pictures may lead to poor image choices or a sloppy-looking layout. One way to avoid the trap of “filling in the blanks” is to find an attractive, relevant stock photo and manipulate it to be a part of the homepage as a whole. Using a single large photo as a backdrop for menus or navigation buttons draws the eye and encourages visitors to explore further.
2) Use Blocks of Images
Combining stock photos with other images in a grid or block pattern on a homepage creates an interesting window into the story of an individual or business. Alternating pictures of products, company employees or pertinent local landmarks with relevant stock photos gives visitors an instant snapshot of what a website is all about. If blocks seem too sharp or severe, circles may be used instead to give photos a softer look.
3) Tell a Story
Stock photos can easily be used to tell the story of a company. Along with blocks of descriptive texts, webmasters can use a group of related photos to walk visitors through company history; show the development of a product with eye-catching images that stick in the mind; and keep the flow of any story consistent by generating visual interest. For example, to best illustrate the beauty of Del Mar Los Cabos and Mexico Real Estate, you don’t take a picture of just the hotel, you get a picturesque shot of the view from the rooms.
4) Use Unique Edits
With an image manipulation program and a little imagination, it’s easy for webmasters to turn a standard stock image into something eye-catching and different (there are some great WP photography themes you can use perfect for your next site) . Cutting out parts of an image and placing them on a different background offers a new perspective. Combining images to create a collage or montage can freshen up a dull homepage. Edits don’t have to be severe to be effective; simply adding a border, changing a color or incorporating a product image can be enough to change the whole look of a stock photo.
5) Go for the Niche
Instead of grabbing the most convenient image from a stock photo website, it’s important to take time to search for distinctive or even quirky photography that’s relevant to the subject matter of a website. Niche photos set websites apart from competitors; help designers avoid the trap of cliché images; and show visitors that thought and time went into a site design
Trying something new with stock images is worth the time and effort. The proper use of stock photography creates unique, interesting websites that draw visitors and can benefit both businesses and individuals with increased traffic and even higher sales.