Professional web design balances your written content with visual features to keep your viewers interest. In the past, business owners and designers would rely on the purchase of stock images, audio, and videos to achieve this. While this can get expensive fast, it was cheaper and more convenient than hiring a professional photographer.
Current trends stray from stock images because it’s not a true representation of you or your business, it’s just a pretty picture. Luckily, technology’s advancements have opened the doors to taking your own photography for website images.
Personally, I’ve taken some pretty good formal and informal pictures with just my iPhone but I also own a point and shoot, as well as a DSLR.
Arguing over which device is best for website quality images could be a future blog post but for now we’re just going to focus on some basic tips that be applied to all devices.
Basics of Photography for Website Images
Understand how your device works. Every device is different but all have the same parts.
- Body – Houses the camera. It’s weight varies depending on the device. A heavier body may need a tripod to assist with the image capture.
- Lens – Different lens have different affects. It’s important to know what features your lens offers.
- Sensor – The caliber and size of the sensor (digital film) effects the quality of your images.
- Flash card – Where images are saved. Your storage card ranges in read and write speeds so a slow card can degrade your cameras performance.
- Battery – Know how long your battery can hold its charge. There’s nothing worse than having the perfect photo opportunities with a dead battery.
- Resolution – Most websites limit file size so you don’t need to have your camera set to high-resolution for website photos. Setting your camera to 1280 x 960px will ensure a small file size and still offer high quality.
Like most art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But there are a few tips and tricks you can use that have proven to result in intriguing and attractive images.
Rule of Thirds
Have you ever noticed the four cross-hairs that appear while re-positioning an image on Instagram? Or maybe while you were getting familiar with your camera you seen them pop up on the digital display? This is the rule of thirds guidelines.
The grid is of nine equal parts and the rule states that the objects that fall on the intersections becomes a focal point in the image.
To tell us more, here is a short clip from Weeklylmogen that offers a walk through and visual comparisons.
Shapes and Lines
Even though the Rule of Thirds is a great way to pin point a natural focal point for our eyes, there are a couple of other tools we may use to move the eye to our focal point.
When I say shapes, think of the geometric shapes you find naturally surrounding you, not the perfectly acute triangles and squares our children are coloring in kindergarten. Think of the lines of a road or the rectangles of the skyscrapers Do the lines and/or shapes around the subject point towards or away from the focal point? Make sure your lines lead the eye where you want it to go.
Editing Photography for Website Images
Photo editing is a subject that can be vast and rather complex. Although I believe editing is something that should be left to the professionals, or someone at least interested in investing the amount of time and discipline it takes to become comfortable with the tools, software, and design standards needed to successfully edit an image correctly, there are many apps and software out there that can help with color and tone correction, enhancements, and blemish removal.
My favorite photo editing is Photoshop, not a big surprise. Some alternatives to Photoshop are:
My favorite photo editing app on my iPhone is Camera+. I’ve used this app for years and have never felt disappointed with its delivery. Some other apps you may want to try are:
There are several ways to make it clear to others that your work is copyrighted. You can read more and follow a step by step tutorial on how to copyright your original work by visiting my How to copyright your graphics blog.
Tips and Tricks
- Lighting – Make sure images are well-lit. Avoid using the flash. Dawn or dusk is optimal times to shoot just about anything because everything is evenly lit across your subject. No shadows or highlights, and colors are vivid and warm.
- People – If you are photographing a person or persons, make sure the background is out of focus so it’s not distracting. If you are taking pictures of a group of people, lower the camera or bend down to chest level.
- Product – If you are capturing your product, your lens should be at the same height as the center of the object. If using mats, you should mark the exact spot the product should be placed.
- Cropping – Do not crop right against your subject. There should be background color available on all sides.
- Filters – It can be easy to get wrapped up in dynamic effects and filters while editing. A good rule of thumb is to keep your edits purposeful.
In the end, you don’t have to follow any guides or rules to end up with a good picture but it is important you understand why you are making the choices you are while positioning your subject(s) within your frame.