When you are choosing photos or graphics to go on a design you really can become very indecisive. We really need to judge the way the visitor will view it and make sure that it draws them into the site. There are occasions, however, when a web site is too general to have a specific photo or design in place and that is when your job as design becomes difficult. How do you set about finding a suitable image?
The trouble isn’t when you have a direct project in mind it’s when it is too general. If you have a college site you can always use graphic portraying students or something similar. If you are advertising a dog grooming business again your choices are many varied and pretty simple.
A service website can be a bit more of a challenge. How would you decide what photo you would use for a plumber or electrician or maybe guy who is the local refrigeration engineer? These do tend to be a little harder but not insurmountable.
Your image is there to demonstrate to the public exactly how professional you are and how you can expect to find your job handled. It can be the deciding factor between Peter the plumber and Joe Blog the handyman.
The difference in the meanings of the photos you decide on can be a very profound effect on your client’s website.
The thing is you cannot allow the need for a photo to paralyze you into doing nothing. Any choice is better than being stuck. The thing about a photo is you can always change it later and after discussion with the client. By listing words associated with the client’s business you can always increase your chances of finding just the image you require. Word association is always a good way to both find the right image but also find the right words for the text on the site.
One thing people always remember is the unexpected. By producing something of a surprise you will often receive a laugh but that laugh will stick in the brain of the visitor far longer than the standard photo of the business in action.
Do the unexpected. What is the thing you remember most about say WordPress? For me, it’s the capital W. That is their branding symbol, and it works just as the bird works for Twitter.
You can think in terms of branding as well. One way to go is to put them in one by one and discard the ones that don’t seem to fit then put them on one side. A process of elimination often helps.
Choose the right shape and color. Make sure the photo is clear and sharp. And think if the image is clear in the subject matter. The image needs to reflect the personality of the website. You don’t want an image of bored people. Rather have a group of happy fun faces. Expressions of people will always affect the people who visit. A child with a great expression of curious intent is the type of thing that will attract attention. One thing to remember at this point is if you are using photos of people with their faces clear you do need their written permission. If you crop or obscure the face of the image you also tend to lose the ability of the visitors to identify with the photo. Remember you have a cross section of people, and not everyone is a professional in a suit. You need to appeal to a cross section of people.
When in doubt: Experiment!