“In an online world that demands more of your visual attention every day, high-quality photography combined with a well-executed design is almost guaranteed to catch your customers’ eyes.” – Veronica Mesuraca
Humans are highly visual creatures. In fact, it takes users just 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your website when they land on your page. Whether the first image your customer sees is striking, familial, emotive, powerful, quirky, moving, beautiful, or funny, it provides them with crucial information about your brand and business.
That’s why it cannot be overstated that photography and imagery is one of the most powerful tools in your business’s digital arsenal and presence. For many web designers, photography goes hand in hand with the web design process from the very beginning.
Once you’ve acquired your images, you have a stock of material that is invaluable for all your future marketing campaigns, social media, and promotions. Cheap photography weakens the quality of your branding, so by extension, your business. A stock of photos that aren’t aligned with the web design could just mean wasted time, money, and resources.
- How do you effectively combine web design and photography together?
- How does photography impact your website (and customers landing on it)?
- What can help make the design and production process run smoothly?
- What will make post-production easier?
- Should you go with professional photography or stock imagery?
Lots of questions to be answered. Don’t worry, Digital360 is here to help you. We’re going to show you how web design and photography can go hand in hand to optimise your business’s online success, with some wisdom from our UI/UX designer Veronica and our photographer John Ferguson along the way.
Why Coordination Is Key: Avoiding Mistakes That Cost You Time & Money
“The collaboration between the photographer and the website designer is one that’s mutually beneficial for all parties, the colour grading could be a consideration, to the retouching of the final images.” – John Ferguson
When you’re creating a premium website, the creative processes and contributions of everyone involved cannot happen in a silo. Part of the art of building a website is connecting your branding strategy with design, copywriting and photography. Everything needs to fall in place.
This is particularly important if you’re using professional photography and a photographer. When you involve your web designer in the early stages of pre-production, you’re guaranteed to reap the rewards later on. That’s because they can provide the photographer with crucial information that will make both the production and post-production a whole lot easier.
It’s common for these two entities to be separate. You have a brief, so you hire a photographer. They shoot the images and send it to your designer. Job done. But if your web designer isn’t involved from the start, you can come across issues down the line.
The web designer can provide the photographer with some crucial information:
- How many landscape/portrait photos are needed for the website
- Whether text will be placed over images
- The colour palette, font, and logo on the website; and how the visual branding will pair with the photography
This in turn helps the photographer establish:
- What setting and lighting will gel with the web design
- The range and types of photos they’ll need (landscape, portrait, headshot, long-shot, sparse etc)
- What will be required of the photos in post-production
They’re little things, but if you neglect them, they compound until the process is lengthier and more difficult than it needs to be. Photography and web design are expensive and time-consuming, you need the process to be as efficient and coordinated as possible. That’s why with Digital360, our team works as a cohesive unit.
“Photography is not a separate element from your branding and marketing. Done right, it will make a huge difference in building appeal and trust with your audience.” – Veronica Mesuraca
How You Win a Client’s Trust in Seconds with A Hero Image
“It’s important to remember people often make their decision to buy based on their first impression of a product or working with someone. People shop with their eyes. So why not make that first impression count.” – John Ferguson
Here’s another fact for you: it takes just 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on the area of a website that most influences their first impression. For most websites, one of the most dominant parts of the design will be the Hero Image – the image at the top of your website.
This means your Hero section is where you want to grab your customer’s attention. The quality of the image is a primer for the quality of your services, the imagery is part of your visual branding, the load-time impacts your Google search ranking, and its placement and relationship with the website’s copy and content helps to guide the user to what they’re looking for.
Take a look at one of our case studies, Mixed Freight, where we used professional photography.
The colour palette all ties together; the black and yellow logo and branding synchronises with the image of the vehicle and the button that says “Read more”, the caption “Real people, real work” connotes and reinforces Mixed Freight’s authenticity, grit, and commitment to its work, with a profile of an employee looking to the horizon with an edit in post-production illuminating their face in the glow of the sun.
It’s clear, bold, aspirational, synchronised and portrays the core of Mixed Freight’s working company ethos in seconds.
In the lead up to the photo shoot, Digital360 dedicated weeks to persona and market research, competitor analysis, brand consultation and collaboration with Mixed Freight, so we knew specifically what images would project the brand and resonate with their target audience.
We’re only a phone call or email away if you want to learn more; alternatively you can download the Digital360 mobile app to unlock a package perfect for your business. But more on that later – back to the blog.
When Are Stock Photos Appropriate?
“When photography for your website is treated as an afterthought, it will immediately show.” – Veronica Mesuraca
Sometimes, you might not have a photographer on board. That’s okay – your web designer can still make use of stock photos and you can still get a great finished product. In fact, it might be all your website needs.
There might be instances where stock photos are a better choice right now for you, your website and your business:
- You’re on a limited budget
- You have a small website
- You need an interim solution whilst you’re building and defining your business
- You don’t want commit to a professional photo shoot just yet
For one of our clients, GCX training, stock imagery was the perfect fit. We were able to design their website from scratch, selecting images that could tie into the cool blue and pink colour palette of their brand, speak to their target audience and reflect the friendly, professional and personable learning environment they create. We also edited staff headshots for the About Us section designed by their graphic designer.
When is it Time For Professional Photography? A Case Study into MH Mena
“Whether you’re using photography for your business Instagram posts, Facebook, business pages or for LinkedIn, using the right photography can bring your message so much closer to your audience, with the best photography drawing in more people from outside of your immediate circle.” – John Ferguson
MH Mena is an up-and-coming couture fashion house. It was Digital360’s mission to build an elegant, premium website that showcases and foregrounds their designs as well as a look-book that could be sent to clients and investors. Here’s how we did it:
- We worked with them to locate, produce, and organise a professional photoshoot and video
- Our photographer John received a detailed brief from our Marketing & Social Media Manager Omima and the MH Mena team
- Omima presented John with a mood board that was made in collaboration with the MH Mena team
- John gathered all of the information he needed about the web design and visual branding on the MH Mena website from our UI/UX designer Veronica
- We consciously selected a venue that could synchronise with the white and copper colour palette on the MH Mena website as well as the mood board, themes and aesthetics of the MH Mena collection
- Two sets of images were produced: one in a garden setting with a dreamy-fairytale atmosphere which took central stage on the website; another with a white backdrop that could foreground the dresses for the MH Mena look-book, this shoot was created more specifically for customers and clients interested in buying a dress
- John collated and sent the images to Veronica, with the input of our founder and director Dwayne and the approval of the MH Mena team, she chose the best images for the website and look-back
- Veronica and John worked behind the scenes to combine the images with the web design, keeping in contact with one another throughout the design sprint
- Did you know it can take up to an hour to edit just one photo? John worked tirelessly to get each image to the highest quality and standard
The Finished Product:
- MH Mena were thrilled with the finalised website and look-back…but don’t take our word for it, read their testimonial:
“How to transform an idea, a plan, an unfinished brand image into a complete, sophisticated look both digitally and professionally? Digital360.Mobi brought all the ingredients together and built an exceptional working website, Look-book, brand identity with clear objectives for my brand.”
In Conclusion – Harness the Power of Web Design and Photography with Digital360
No matter your industry, photography and imagery are an essential tool and material for your business. Knowing how to get the most out of web design and photography, combining the two, coordinating the production and producing a professional photoshoot is a big undertaking.
“One last tip, remember to refresh your photos often so that you’re personal brand is also reflected accurately.” – John Ferguson
If you want to learn more about Digital360 and how we can translate your vision into quality web design, photography, social media strategy, copy and much more, don’t hesitate to contact us today.