Stock Imagery Usage in Web Design
This has always been an item where many people find themselves sat on the fence in regards to how they feel about it. Stock imagery can either be used exceptionally well or it can simply be a disaster.
You can tell stock imagery, it is clean and generalised and it has image labels such as “women smiling with daughter in arms” or “man looking through magazines” they are images that could be applied to a whole range of items.
One of the major problems with stock imagery is that it is incredibly cheesy, you see numerous images where the models have been used countless times and therefore you end up seeing the same person in a similar photo time and time again.
As an example, the image attached to this news item is a stock image and has been used around 2000 times. Stock imagery is not very life like; the models are perfect with perfect skin and teeth which the majority of people do not have. The image itself has even lighting and there are no shadows usually and people within the photo have been made up in heavy makeup.
Using a image from a popular stock photography website will mean that you run the chance of others having this image and therefore you could be trying to create your own brand and using a stock image in your web design could actually remind someone of another company where they have seen the image. Images from the more well known stock photography websites could have been used thousands and thousands of times all over the internet.
Although you want to have professional imagery sometimes with stock imagery it can look too staged. If the setting is perfect and the lighting and model used is almost unreal then it will not add any credibility to your website. Images which seem too good to be true could see website visitors leaving your site as they see it as a scam.
Picking a stock image isn’t hard there are lots to choose from and usually you can find loads which would be perfect – but are they really perfect?
Choosing an image which features a model that is from another country outside the UK could prove to be detrimental. Every country has its own dress sense, physical features and its own norms and beliefs. You need to ensure the model in the picture reflects your target audience.
Stock imagery can be effective when used properly, you need to be unique try and find imagery which people wouldn’t necessarily pick. Choose imagery from less well known sites and then you may just find yourself with an image that no one has seen or has seen very little of.
Do not overdo it with stock imagery; you should use it in the background or to fill in any gaps within the web design. Any main imagery for your website should be done by a professional photographer; Brick technology have our media production services which can help you to get the images you need rather than stock images.
When looking through the stock imagery try and find “normal people” as these will reflect a wider audience. If you think about adverts on TV yes some use celebrities but for products aimed at the general public they use the general public.
One of the main points to bear in mind is that within 3-4 seconds when a visitor lands on your website they will instantly judge make a decision and decide whether to stay. If they leave this is known as bouncing and Google record this as a bounce rate. High bounce rates suggest that your website needs to be more focused and maybe made more appealing.
Having a high quality image on the homepage which provides the visitor with an instant overview of what it is you do, what services and products you may offer or what information you provide could help to keep your bounce rate down and increase visitors.