Great Images Are Still Worth A Thousand Words

Great photos add a lot to a website.  Photos illustrate ideas, tell stories, and grab interest. Images can tell your viewers what your website is about even before they read the page.  Good product photo do more to sell merchandise that paragraphs of text.

Note: Back in 2012 we wrote an article about Making Web Ready Photos and Graphics.  We felt the time was right for an 2017 update.  This guide will show you how and where to get great photos, how to edit them, and how to make sure they load quickly on the web.

Photo can set a tone, or tell a story.   What kind of story does this photo tell?

Where Can I Get Quality Photos For My Website?

There are many ways to get photos for a website, and also way you shouldn’t.

Good Place To Get Photos

  • Paid Stock Photography Websites
  • Free Stock Photography Websites
  • Take Your Own Photos
  • Hire A Professional Photographer

Don’t Take Photos From

  • Google Images
  • Pinterest
  • Other People’s Websites

A Note About Copyrights

Sometimes people mistakenly assume that anything they find on Google Images is free game to use on their website.  This simply is not true. Under US law, whenever someone creates something new, they own the copyright.

If you take a photo from another website, the copyright owner has the write to come after you.  Do yourself a favor and don’t steal images.

Stock Photography

1. Free Stock Photography

Until a few years ago, most free stock photography was terrible, but in recent years sites like Pexels and Unsplash now offer quality free photos from professional artists.

However, free stock photography sites tend to lack volume and variety.   You’ll find lots of beautiful photos, but you you might have a hard time if you’re looking for something specific.

2. Paid Stock Photography

Paid stock photography libraries are generally much more comprehensive than their free counterparts.  Also photographers have an incentive to provide images that business owners and designer need, because they get paid when people buy their work.  This means you’re more likely to find out what they’re customer are looking for, an take photos of subjects where there’s a demand.

At EZ-NetTools, we use istock.com. It’s a solid stock site with reasonable prices.  They have subscription options as well as the ability to buy individual photos.

istock.com screenshot

istock.com has a vast comprehensive library of stock photos

How Big Should Web Images Be?

While there’s no hard and fast rule,  most images should be 150kb or smaller.  It’s okay if some images are a little bigger, but they should never be bigger than 1MB (1000kb) under normal circumstances.

Photos from digital cameras can easily be 5MB or more  or about 40 times larger than the recommended size.  This is why it’s important to optimize your images.

Website Image Dimensions

Website images are measured in pixels, not inches or centimeters.  So, how pixels wide should a website image be?  It depends on the purpose but a good average would be 600px to 1200px wide for most purposes.  Larger web photos could be 1400px to 1600px wide.  In most cases, web photos should be a maximum of 1920px wide.

On Launch 2 Success Article photos are either 680px wide or 1024px wide. Large Hero images are 1360px wide.

Photo Editing & Optimizing Tools

There are lot of way you can edit photos.  Professional designers tend to use programs like Adobe Photoshop to resize and optimize images, but for the average user, there are simpler and less expensive options.  Here are some resources…

Online Photo Editors

If you only need to edit photos on occasion a web-based photo editor is a convenient way to quickly optimize a few photos.

  • Pixlr.com – Free Online Photo.  Works a lot like Photoshop.  No Sign-in required.
  • BeFunky.com – Another Free Online Photo Editor. No Sign-in required.

Desktop Photo Editors

If you edit images semi-often, using a desktop program will serve you better than an online editor.  If you have Window or Mac, you have a couple of options already on your computer.

  • Microsoft Paint – If you’re running Windows, you already this.  Just click the windows icon in the bottom-left corner type “paint” .
  • Apple Photos – If you’re running a Mac, you can use the “Photos” app already installed on your computer.
  • Adobe Photoshop – A premium photo editor for professionals.  It’s expensive and not for beginners, but a fantastic tool in the right hands!
  • PhotoImpact – A great photo editor.  You can buy it for $29.99
Photoshop Save For Web Screenshot.

Photoshop allows you to resize and compress images.

Hiring A Professional Photographer

Stock images are fine, but when you need that personal touch real photos of your company, employees, products, etc can’t be beat.  Hiring a professional might cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

You might think “For that price I could buy a really nice camera and take the photos myself” which is true, but great photos have more to do with the photographer than the camera.  The result from a skilled photographer will trump anything you are likely to produce on your own.

Taking Your Own Photos

If super quality photos aren’t a big issue or you’re on a budget, simply taking the photos yourself is a good option.  These days most smartphones have pretty good cameras, and you can easily take the photos and transfer them to your computer or upload them right to the website (just make sure the file sizes aren’t too large).

  • Steven says:

    You can’t overstate the usefulness of hiring a professional photographer. It can make a world of different if you get someone that knows what they’re doing.

    I’m glad you added a comments section to this website. I’ve been eager to give my 2 cents.

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