Basics of Website Photos

slices of pineapple and container of pineapple juice sitting on table

Whether you’ve decided to book a brand photoshoot with a professional photographer or you are compiling beautiful stock images, your site content is one of the key ways you stand out on the internet, so having the right photos is essential. Here, we’ll share some key tips, recommendations, and practices to make your website photos a success.

Banner Images

Today, websites are being viewed on a variety of devices, from smartphones to large screen desktops, and everywhere in between. It is essential that your website photos are proportioned correctly. We recommend wide, short banner images, in a 16:9 ratio, that are able to fill the screen width and be resized easily and automatically. Banner images shouldn’t be too busy if you’re going to have text on top of them. For banner images that will have text on top of them and a person in the photo as well, those images should have space on either side, with the subject off-center but not close to the foreground. This allows text to be overlaid in some part of the photo easily.

Image Sizes

Often, a site needs many full-width banner options for a slideshow, various page banners, and background images. Banner images should be horizontal and 1900px wide. Images on other areas and pages of your site can be square, vertical, or horizontal, and the position of the subject can vary. If you don’t have clear instructions from a designer or developer about how big each image should be, we recommend you provide these images at least 1400px wide, but no wider than 2000px wide. Remember, and image can always be scaled down, but cannot be made larger. All website photos should be 72 DPI (resolution).

Image Variation

Often we find clients do not have enough variation in their photos, even if they’ve done a photoshoot with a professional photographer. A good website becomes great with the right photography and images, so having lots of options to choose from is key. Sometimes, you won’t know which image is the right fit until it is places on the page.

Always start with a large selection of images, and remember they can be cropped to fit the needs of your site. Include images of objects from your photoshoot. What objects represent your business and what you do well? What could share your personality and what you love? Perhaps you have a favorite coffee mug, a jar of pens or paint brushes, or even a vision board. These can often be great background or filler images. You can also consider using stock photographs in addition to your photoshoot photos. We love Unsplash (free) and Stocksy (paid but worth it). If you do use stock photography, find images that are edited in the same style as the images from your photoshoot — this will help your site look and feel cohesive.

Product Images

If you have an e-commerce shop on your website, you will likely need to take product photos. Here are a few tips to consider when photographing products:

  1. Determine the background and setting you need for the product.
  2. Light the product correctly. Ideally, you want to avoid any harsh highlight or shadows.
  3. Showcase the product in multiple ways. You may want to include some simple photos of the product on a white background along with photos that show the product being worn or in use to give potential customers the feeling of owning it.
  4. Create space around the product in the image. You don’t want your photos to be too closely cropped to the product.
  5. Make all product photos the same size, and try to photograph products at similar distances. If you have variation in sizes of products, find ways to show a product’s size in context.
  6. Hire a professional photographer. It may not be your genius work, and that’s okay. But on an e-commerce website, good product photos are the difference between making a sale or not. Don’t be afraid to get help if you need it. Check out our Resources Page for a few favorites.
Other Image Tips

Wondering about location, props, wardrobe and more? Read Shannon Confiar’s Best Kept Secrets for a Successful Brand Photoshoot!  

For SEO purposes, each image on your site should be named correctly. We recommend using descriptive words and keywords, which will be picked up by search engines. Consider using your name or company name, location, and/or key objects in the photo. Use a hyphen (-) not an underscore (_) to maximize your SEO, as Google reads a hyphen as a space.

Example: alchemy-and-aim-website-services.jpg

Questions? Email us at magic@alchemyandaim.com. We’ll be happy to help you further!

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credits

Created with Sketch.

Michelle Viljoen

(website design) is a graphic designer and brand consultant who specializes in creating and developing brands. Her core focuses are logo development, website design and brand direction.

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.