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Harold Mansfield
01-26-2010, 12:51 PM
This is more of a statement than a question, but I can't tell you how many times people underestimate the importance of good images when designing their websites.

I usually use what people give me, because professional images cost more and most new or small businesses don't have much available, and think what they do have is good enough and most times what they have is very low quality.

I always emphasize how important and how different their projects would look if they spent a few extra bucks and either had some done by a professional photographer, or added a few extra bucks to the project to buy some, but most always say, "Let's just use what we have and if we want to add some later we will".

Images are the most important part of the design for a website. In my opinion, it is the one area where you shouldn't skimp...but I have a hard time getting people to realize it, and most assume that I can just "find some".

Inevitably, sometime in the future (or during the build) when they start looking at other sites in their niche and comparing, and they call back because they finally get it.

Business Attorney
01-26-2010, 01:21 PM
I agree 100%. What's more, your client doesn't even need to spend much money. Sites like Fotolia and iStockPhoto offer a good selection of royalty-free images for very reasonable one-time prices (starting at $1). Even Corbis and Getty Images have some reasonable alternatives. While some images may require hiring a professional photographer to capture exactly the image you need, often there are excellent stock photos that can do the job for a small fraction of the price.

vangogh
01-27-2010, 11:35 AM
I agree completely as well. In store someone can physically touch your products, but online an image is all they have. The better the image, the better the chance the customer will buy. Even better might be a 360 animation of the product, but that gets more expensive.

I've been asked to build sites for people and the images they sent were so awful I knew they wouldn't add anything to the site. In those cases I've tried to find my own images and minimize the use of the client's images if I could.

Harold Mansfield
01-27-2010, 03:06 PM
I've been asked to build sites for people and the images they sent were so awful I knew they wouldn't add anything to the site. In those cases I've tried to find my own images and minimize the use of the client's images if I could.

That's what prompted me to mention this. Lately my last few clients have been people that have built their own site and are now ready to upgrade to a real layout.
Most times they don't understand why one site looks so different from another until you break it down and point out the quality of the images.

It would be much easier if clients had no images at all..it would cost them more, but most times it will come out a whole lot better than trying to make the stuff they used 3 years ago on a site builder.

On the other hand, residual touch up work is good too.

vangogh
01-27-2010, 04:17 PM
I think it's the perceived expense that keeps client's from getting those quality images. Most of us have a camera and can point and click so why hire someone? The difference between our point and shoots and the professional shots is big though and can really make a huge difference in what sells and what doesn't.

Online your image (or animation) of the product is as close as the customer gets to experiencing the product prior to purchase. The image needs to be the highest quality it can be.

KristineS
01-27-2010, 04:26 PM
I have to agree with this totally. We use Istockphoto quite a lot and get good quality images for a relatively cheap price. We also take a lot of our own pictures.

Another thing I always have to tell people is that you can't go to Google Images and simply pull a photo off the web and use it on your site. Copyright is such a big issue and it gets abused all the time.

nealrm
01-29-2010, 11:27 AM
I think it's the perceived expense that keeps client's from getting those quality images. Most of us have a camera and can point and click so why hire someone? The difference between our point and shoots and the professional shots is big though and can really make a huge difference in what sells and what doesn't.

We see this all the time in real estate. How do you say - "Sorry, I know you like your photos but they are really not very good. Go out and shoot 2 or 3 thousand real estate photos and try again." without insulting them?

vangogh
02-01-2010, 11:54 AM
I'm not sure there's a good way. Seems like no matter how you say it you're going to insult someone. Maybe you could pick photos from one or two properties and hire someone yourself to get really good images. Then use those images as a way to set the example and see if you can get others to follow the lead.

Blessed
02-01-2010, 10:10 PM
One other site I use for stock photo is BigStock - once again inexpensive. I find that with many of my customers it's the perceived cost of the images that keeps them from buying or even considering stock photography.

cbscreative
02-02-2010, 02:04 PM
It shouldn't surprise anyone here that I will also agree. But, I have very mixed feelings about stock photos. I've seen a LOT of sites that use stock photos (I should say misuse them), and what they really need are "real" photos. Stock photos look like stock photos, and I believe most people can spot them. This to me often says, "What does your business really look like, or what are you hiding?"

I always handle the image issue on a case by case basis because there isn't a solution that's right for everyone. Sometimes, stock photos are the right answer, but rarely. Many (maybe even most) situations are best served by professional images, and I'm not going to sugar coat it when I tell someone that. Do I lose business that way? I'm sure I do, but I'd probably lose anyway when the results suck.

What sometimes gets missed is there are times when being too good on photos can work against you. I'm not advocating sloppy images, but having a "real" look can be a good thing. By real, I mean you still need good lighting, composition, etc., but looking like Better Homes and Gardens if your site is about a family farm selling organic produce could send mixed signals.

Harold Mansfield
02-02-2010, 02:28 PM
There was an episode of Family Guy that cracked wise about corporate websites and the "staged" photos on them.

One was "Hey look, these kids seem to be in class, but they are outside and having a good time ! Wow what a progressive University!"

Another was : "Hey, here's a happy minority on the job site, but the tie he's wearing suggests management ( insert excitement) "

It's hard to get the gist without seeing it, but I'm sure you get the idea, we have all seen...or even used them.
On more than one occasion I have gone to a company website and wondered "What are these people so happy about?"

Blessed
02-02-2010, 03:11 PM
Good points Steve - and ones I completely agree with. Professional project-specific photography is always better than stock photography.

Paper Shredder Clay
02-03-2010, 12:01 PM
I agree too, nothing turns me off more from a prospective vendor than bad images on their web site or eBay store. There is no excuse nowadays not to take good pictures. If you do get stock photography, avoid using those "images of diverse office people," unless you actually have an office of diverse people. And if you want to use them, spend extra and have professional images of your employees, not some photo actors.

Harold Mansfield
02-13-2010, 03:35 AM
Ive been working with this Chef on a site and I immediately thought of this thread.
I'm basically working off of a sketch on the layout and colors, but the images that this guy has given me to work with are just incredible...better than most..he really thought ahead.

Keep in mind that this is under construction, but look at the quality images and video this guy has for me to work with.
Good stuff, and you can tell that they are not only professional, but were taken with the web and print in mind...they fit almost anywhere.
I mean I actually got hungry putting up the content.
The Basic Cookbook (http://www.thebasiccookbook.com)

vangogh
02-13-2010, 06:14 PM
It looks good. Amazing what a difference using quality images makes. Hopefully people will check it out and realize that hiring a photographer is a good idea.

Harold Mansfield
02-14-2010, 01:29 AM
It looks good. Amazing what a difference using quality images makes. Hopefully people will check it out and realize that hiring a photographer is a good idea.

If it's within your means to do so, they will last you not just with your website, but for any print or other kinds of promotion in the future.
You will get some mileage out of them.

cbscreative
02-15-2010, 11:33 AM
Seeing as how my oldest daughterr is studying photography in college, I think it's "within the means" in most cases. Even hiring a student is far better than relying on the point and click skllls of a shutterbug. I do a lot of photoshopping on images, and at least with a decent amount of photography skill, the editing needed is minimal. There are cases where even Photoshop skills won't help.