Why Website Photography Matters

Author: Geoffrey Sagers
When many companies create their first website, often they look to photography to “fill in” appropriate areas of the website, such as the header within the body. There are many quality stock photography websites, but in almost all cases, your images are not unique to your company or even industry.
So, why does photography even matter? Take a look at the images below:
Website photography example
Website photography example
Of course, the obvious similarity is that they are all photos of water. Does that mean they could all be used on your website together? Despite their similarity, they actually are not very cohesive. Why is that? Let’s talk about a few of the reasons.


What emotion do each of them display? The first three, could show a calm, peaceful atmosphere, the next one abstract, and the last four, a rushing torrent. What message are you trying to convey with your site? If you are wellness spa, you are looking for a calm, serene image where someone can relax and forget about their troubles. If you are an outdoor adventure company, you might want more of the rough, rugged feel of the raging river. The emotions these different picture evoke will have an impact on your customer’s perception of your company, so choosing one that prompts the proper feelings is important.

Color and Tone

What about colors and tone? The above images range from vibrant and high contrast to monotone and sepia. Because of the blue casting on the image, images 5 and 7 appear cold and dark. Image 8 has a warm, brown cast, but nevertheless still has a cold feeling to it due to its monochromatic nature. They all conjure feelings of cold and wet, even though image 5 is obviously a summer image.
By contrast, images 1, 2, and 3 evoke feelings of a warm, lazy summer day. Image 4 might be a bubbling brook to dangle your feet in, and image 6 a fun river rafting trip with friends with the splash of the water being refreshing rather than icy.
Interesting to note, all of these were taken in the summer, and at only 3 locations.


How about the actual content of the picture? What if you actually wanted to use one these in the header of your site? Of course, they are far too busy and high contrast to cover with a lot of text. But what about other content, such as your company logo, or text within a box?
Here they are again, with a generic logo placed on the left.
photography and a logo example
As you can see, image 3 has part of the subject matter covered and is probably not a good choice. The other images either have the subject to the right of the logo, or are abstract enough to not matter as much.
What if we put the logo in the center?
photography with logo in the center example
Images 1, 2, 3 and 8 the main subject of the photo is covered, and 7 may not be ideal either, despite its abstract subject matter. The only ones that do not detract from the logo are 4 and 6.
A word of caution, the color of the logo also plays an important role in whether or not it fits the style of the image, but there are far too many combinations to go over in this post.


The photography you choose to represent your company will impact the perception that your customers have of you. Make sure the images you use compliment your company in emotional style, color and tone, as well as content.
Geoffrey Sagers is a web developer by profession, and an avid photographer and graphic designer by choice. His portfolio can be found at http://photokapi.com/.
All images copyright Photokapi.com

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