Your company’s website is your digital calling card: A customer, partner or anyone interested in your company and looking for information online will sooner or later visit your website. (If you find your company in the internet graveyard – i.e. on page 2 of search engine results – you should really consider learning basic search engine optimization.)
The photos on your website are the face you show to the rest of the world, and the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” still holds true. As the average time spent on a webpage is one minute, the idea created in the visitor’s mind is mainly based on the general feel and imagery on the page. When you look at your company’s or a competitor’s website, who is looking back at you? A glossy stock photo model, just a regular somebody with a style twenty years out of date, or somebody else?
When is the right time to refresh your website photos?
With website trends in constant flux, the average expected lifespan of a webpage is between two and five years. When redesigning your website, you should take a good look at the photos that go with the text. Many companies have some kind of internal image bank (including the “photos” folder on your colleague’s computer) and it sounds like a good idea to use existing photos. Because somebody selected them once, right? Undoubtedly there are timeless and universally applicable photos, but the fact of the matter is that most photos become antiquated in a couple of years. A trendy photo goes out of date sooner than you'd think, and the development of camera technology and changes in society begin to show in a decade.
Redesigning a website always requires investing both time and money. In order to make the most of the investment, you really have to think about all the details. Even a well-designed website looks dated or messy if you haven't got the pictures right. Regardless of the origin of the text (your own or not), photos are best handled by professionals.
Three ways to get photos for a website
Generally speaking, there are three ways to get photos for a revamped website:
- Make use of existing company photo material.
- Use stock photos.
- Organize a photoshoot.
Each of these alternatives has its upsides and downsides (read more about this topic here), and in practice, the company’s policies, guidelines or available resources may prevent the use of one or another of the methods. In all of the alternatives above, however, a professional graphic designer (art director) will be a great help.