We all know the phrase ‘a picture tells a story’ or ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ and I would just like to add to that ‘a picture makes your website so much better’. We are living in the Instagram age where it’s all about images, lots and lots of images and they have to be good, really good.
There are a hundred and one articles you can read online all about where to get free images you can use on your website but I would just like to focus on a couple of known issues that we constantly face with customers and their images. It’s not their fault, they are not professional photographers, or web designers and these ‘issues’ seem inconsequential unless you have to work with them.
Nine times out of ten we are designing websites with a large horizontal image at the top of each page. This gives a great featured area to showcase your product or service. However, imagine that you have a physical photograph in front of you that is the old known size of 6 x 4 inches. We will only be taking a horizontal slice out of the middle / top or bottom of the image. If you’ve taken a close up of a house for example and left no room for sky or ground above and below the house, the slice that we will take will more than likely not get the roof and the front door in. Always try to take photos from a far away point with the object that you want to focus on in the middle of the image; this goes against everything professional photographers will tell you, but if you are taking photos for your website you have to shift the rules slightly.
This refers to both the pixel amount and the file size. A standard image width for a picture that goes at the top of a website will be 1920 pixels, that’s about the average and obviously we sometimes use larger or smaller sizes. So, if you give us an image that is only 500 pixels wide we are going to struggle. I’m sure you’ve all seen many a website picture that has clearly been stretched to fit a space, looks awful doesn’t is?
Similarly, trying to work with an image from a customer that is only 125kb is just unworkable. We need a minimum of 2mb file size so that we can get a decent slice/crop from the image.
We always recommend to customers that they provide us with images that they own, either taken by a professional photographer or ones that they have purchased from istock or Shutterstock. We can also provide many free resources for images that are available for reuse with no fees, so please don’t ever struggle with good photos! Also please never use an image that you found on a Google search, unless labelled for reuse you could be prosecuted for using an image without permission and this can literally run into the thousands of pounds.
Uploading your own photos to your website
Just yesterday we were working on a site where the customer has access so he can write his own fabulous blog posts – he will remain nameless although he will know who he is! In the image folder I found 10 photos that were not being used on the website, that’s the first thing that shouldn’t happen. Secondly, those 10 images and the subsequent 10 that he actually used on his blog post were on average 3mb each. So I deleted over 30mb of images from the server. Why is this an issue? Because it can slow the server down and slow your site down and none of us want that.
If you are uploading and updating your own website, image file sizes ideally should be less 170kb and that’s a maximum size! If in doubt ask us to either point you in the direction of free online tools that you can use to resize and optimise your images, or get us to do it for you. If you are on a monthly contract with us, we’ll include this within your charge.
Images are super important on a website, they complete the look and feel, and combined with good content and good SEO they make your website easy to read, pleasing to flick through and Google will also be happy so more people will find you. Don’t ever compromise when it comes to photos, always go for the best you can afford and always make sure they are the right size for the project you are working on.