It makes sense that great pictures can make a great site, but you would be amazed at how many companies don’t take the time to use high quality photos. Stock photos can work, but only if you are willing put in the time to find a unique and high quality stock photo (most of the pictures on stock photos sites aren’t right for your business). The typical stock photo is an image that screams stock photo and is something you should avoid.
We recently had a Tukwila bakery company, Seattle’s Favorite approach us about building a new website. Their previous web company had started a development site, but most of the images used were stock photos, company images were being used in the design. I took one look at the home page and the main image screamed stock photo, we had to come up with a better solution.
Kim was in charge of the project for Seattle’s favorite and we met to discuss the plan for their new site. The first thing I told Kim was that they need some new product images so they could show off their fantastic bakery items. We discussed options for taking professional photos and Kim volunteered to take pictures of their cookies, muffin tops, dessert bars and much more (she is doing a fantastic job!). We are still working on the new home page, but as you can see below the change in the look of their site was immediate and dramatic:
There is no substitution for the real thing. Hire someone to take professional photos or jump in and start taking your own pictures. Either option is infinitely better than using a tired, old stock image.
Another site that we get a ton of compliments on is our Seattle Cedar site. The original site was built over 10 years ago and had some great images, but they weren’t professionally done (and the site design was old). For the new site we worked with a professional photographer (who also happens to be my wife) to create multiple product images.
Going with professional images really makes the site stand out. Not only do we get great customer feedback the sales in 2015 were up more than 30% over 2014. The higher quality images (and site) convey a greater trust which led to a dramatic increase in sales.
Increased sales is an instant and gratifying benefit of professional photos (especially for eCommerce sites), but another almost equally important advantage is a reduction in customer service time. We noticed that our time spent with potential customers was lowered significantly when we included detailed photos that showed the details of our products. No longer were customers calling us and asking how each table was made, the size of the wood used and other details that became readily apparent through the new photos.
As you can see in the examples, take your time and create photos that have a personal touch, it’s a much better choice than using an uninspired stock photo.