Mediaworks

When designing a website, it’s important to remember that the first thing most visitors notice is the imagery. Humans are visual creatures, so poor pictures will make a bad first impression — no matter how good other factors such as copy are.

That’s why you need to use unique images that effectively portray your brand and give visitors the reassurance that you know what you’re doing.

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Photos that feature people’s faces make us feel more comfortable, but seeing a staged image of grinning staff with their thumbs up just isn’t going to work. Visitors will spot the stock image a mile off, and wonder if you have something to hide.

Stock image thumbs up

You have real people working for you; make sure visitors can see that. They’re far more likely to trust your business if they can get an impression of the staff they’ll actually be dealing with.

By using candid images of genuine employees, you can give a realistic insight into the company and deliver personal touches that a standard stock image just can’t provide.

Be realistic

On the Bread Street Kitchen website, they use a huge photograph of the internal restaurant. Images like these not only look incredible but they make you want to go and sample the service.

Bread Street Kitchen restaurant

You can see from looking at the image above, it’s much more striking and engaging than if you were to use a stock image of a restaurant. When you see imagery like this, it gives you a realistic idea of the service you’ll receive. Customers will be put off when they realise that the company they can see on the website isn’t the company they are actually dealing with.

People will always judge companies on their imagery. It would be wrong to promote a service or product that you don’t offer. It would be like a restaurant promoting meals they don’t serve. These are the issues that you face when using stock images.

So, even if your premises doesn’t look as impressive as the Bread Street Kitchen, use real pictures — the important thing is setting up the right expectations.

Make the effort

Another reason to avoid stock images? They look lazy. Show clients and customers that you can’t be bothered to put time and effort into quality photos, and they’ll wonder where else you’re cutting corners. Why should they spend their money with you?

Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes you can’t avoid using stock images, whether for budgetary or practical reasons. Just try to choose pictures that don’t look completely staged. Use more natural-looking shots and make sure they’re conveying the right message.

You should also try and avoid generic stock images such as the photo of a lady wearing a headset and smiling at the camera when creating designs, whether these are for print design or website use.

Stock image headset

This image is disingenuous and ubiquitous. Do the four faceless people staring in the background seem natural to you? Does this picture really say anything special about your business when it’s being used everywhere?

If this is really the kind of image you’re after, try taking your own photographs of staff recreating the pose. It will look much more realistic and less staged. Plus you have the chance to incorporate your own flair into the picture and promote the company accordingly.

Do you have more confidence in a business if you can see who you’ll be working with beforehand? What do you think of stock images that attempt to portray real staff? Share your comments below!

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