In my time here at Rainman, I have acquired the semi-serious title of Rainman’s “Photo-Guru.” I spend a decent amount of time staring at lists of Stock Photos, trying to pick out new, fresh and captivating images to bring flare to the websites we produce.
When looking for Stock Photos, a few elements are key to determining whether a photo will mesh well with a particular site. A photo must be well shot, with good contrast and rich colors. The human eye is attracted to depth and contrast, and a flat boring photo is going to be overlooked by the average internet user. Photographers usually accomplish these attributes by taking pictures at dawn and around sunset, with great care taken to ensure proper lighting. Colors are more vibrant and rich in the softer light of morning or evening. Below are some examples of sunrise and sunset photos, demonstrating the use of color and contrast:
Next, a photo must have good content to go with your site. For instance, if your agency is very family oriented and all you have is pictures of beaches and sunsets, the emphases of your website will not be made very well through its imagery. Here are some good photos featuring families:
Finally, and probably most importantly, the content of your images must fit the area in which you are trying to place it. No matter how fabulous the image may appear, if it doesn’t fit in the frame allotted for it, it will look poorly. Here are some examples of pictures that really fit into the shapes they are placed in:
As you can see, rich color, contrast and content that both exemplifies and fits inside your website is key to good stock photography. I don’t even bother to preview a picture unless it pops out from the list of other unworthy images. So the next time you see a well-imaged website (hopefully one of ours), you will appreciate the time and artistry it took involved to put that picture on the site.