Images are a part of any good website. Blocks of text are hideous and, unless you’re writing for an academic journal, are a turnoff to anyone with eyes.
Photos not only break up text, but provide an entry point onto which the reader will be immediately drawn into your site.
The cliche is that a picture speaks a thousand words.
The fact is, they can speak an infinite number if they’re done well and used appropriately, which virtually anyone can accomplish with today’s technology – as long as they have imagination, focus, and creativity.
Here are some tips for taking high-quality images for your website.
When at all possible, shoot outdoors, but out of direct sunlight.
Artificial light can be difficult to master, especially for the novice, and direct sunlight can corrupt a shot or imbed streaks or spots in the image.
Indirect sunlight, however, is all but impossible to mess up – it seems like nature made it with webmasters in mind.
Some of the most popular images on photo apps such as Instagram are collages.
Taking multiple photos of the same subject or even from different angles or using different filters, and then combining them into an awesome collage, gives depth and artistic value to whatever it is you’re photographing.
Instead of simply lining different photos up next to each other or stacking them vertically, a collage is a burst of stimulus in one single package, bringing life to any dead space.
Good photo cropping is the key to good photos. As a general rule, get in tight on the subject unless there’s some compelling reason to keep the space around it intact.
If your subject is a person, get in tight without ever cropping off their chin or top of their head.
If it’s a full-body shot, always leave slightly more space in front of the direction the person is facing.
You didn’t take the perfect picture. You’re part photographer, part sculptor – chisel away the unnecessary marble.
Many phones and most cameras have a macro lens option.
Getting in super close to catch the awesomely small details can turn any boring, everyday object into a work of art.
From a bottle cap to a ladybug to a kernel of corn, the macro option can make the mundane marvelous.
It’s truly a chance to get creative, wow your readers, and test your imagination and attention to detail.
Know Your Camera
Knowing your camera, its settings and functions is part of your job as a website owner.
Putting it on auto setting and leaving the shot up to your camera’s intuition is taking the control out of your hands. It’s an artistic cop-out that makes taking pictures easier, but certainly not better.
Contrary to what many purists say, digital cameras didn’t ruin photography – but the auto setting may have come close.
Capture with Captions
Like photos, captions are a great entry point onto a page.
They are an opportunity to display wit and brevity, which go hand in hand, and give the reader a taste of what they’ll get if they stay on your site and keep coming back.
Captions can be aggressive, funny, heartfelt – whatever. As long as they’re compelling, captions give a reader something to lock onto and can act as a springboard into the rest of your website.
Avoid the Flash
Your built-in flash is your enemy. It washes out colors and leaves hideous reflections – usually in the center of most things you’re photographing.
A decent camera can capture true, rich color. Don’t ruin it with a bad flash that projects unnatural light directly on the subject.
Most flashes create lines and distort color toward the blue range, making color correction difficult. Get the lighting right in the room, and you won’t need a flash.
If you’re a webmaster, you’re a photographer – or at least you could be.
Once an art that required schooling, technical skill, and expensive, complicated equipment, now, virtually anyone can capture compelling images – but the basic principles of photography still apply.
Delve into it.
Read the internet; find photographers whose work you admire and use them for inspiration.
Get good enough, and someone might soon be inspired by you.