One of the key elements to creating a stunning website is stunning photography. Whether it be stock, production photos, or custom we recommend you start thinking about the visual story you want to tell. Consider your product and your target market. Crafting your visual story to these two will really help tie your website content (your written story) to your visual story.
Using Stock Photography
In many cases, stock photography is a good way to go. Stock photos sometimes get a bad rap. Sure, there are cheesy stock photos available, but there are some really stunning photos out there that can help you craft a beautiful, or even clever, visual story. It could take some time, but search using as many different search terms as possible. Searching in increments of 10-20 minutes and leaving the task to do something non-visual will help keep your mind fresh, and will keep your brain from turning to mush.
Production Photos/Concert Photos
Clients in the performing arts have great opportunity for outstanding photography when it comes to production photos or concert photos. The right production photo can really say a lot about a performer and what they do on stage. Keep in mind with production photos, you need to purchase the rights to use photos by a professional photographer, and you will need to give credit to the photographer somewhere on your site.
The last, and possibly the most exciting, is custom photography. Working closely with your photographer, you will end up with images that say exactly what you want them to say in a style that is uniquely you. The sky (or more likely, your budget) is the limit.
Often, I find clients will choose a mix of stock with a few custom images that are of specific products or people on the team.
When deciding on your photography budget, consider how long you want your photographs to last. Generally, if you have the budget for at least some custom photos, consider paying the money. Custom photography of team members can last up to 5 years! By that time, you will probably be ready for a new site. Custom photography of products can last the entire product’s life cycle.
The style of the photography can signal to your clients how traditional/upscale/quirky/fun you are. Your visual story is part of your brand. Don’t neglect it!