Online photos are all the rage. Whether it’s the new ginormous format of Facebook cover photos or the continually rising popularity of Pinterest, having photos associated with your web presence is becoming essential.
Here are some popular questions we get about online photos:
What are some ways I can use photos on my website and beyond?
Here are a few ways you may have thought about using photos with some real life examples:
- Show textures/closeups– I have a friend who takes closeups of scarf patterns, etc. that she has in stock to show customers what is available. Check out the example from Atlantic Art Glass showing bead textures.
- Show how-to photos– A series of photos can show how to do something in a way that’s less invasive than a video camera but more descriptive than text. A series of photos can show someone how to install your solar panels on their roof and help people see that it might be easier than they think.
- Show products– Show the view from all angles (like that dress from the back!), or products in terms of stock photography and in the ‘real world’.
- Give a tour- Show visitors around a location or property to get them familiar with it. I might not have noticed in your website text that each room at your hotel has a mini fridge but I could see it in the photo and be pleasantly surprised.
- Show your staff– If customers deal with your staff, show them in action so when the customer comes into your business, they can say hi. Never underestimate making someone feel comfortable before they even meet you in real life.
- Break up text- People may not read everything you write but they’ll skim for bold writing, bullets, and photos. Use photos to spice up a boring page!
- Create an infographic– If you or someone on your staff is into design and some data, you can make an infographic. Check out the example below breaking down where the price of a public transit bus ticket goes, here is the original article or Google ‘infographics’ to get some other ideas.
- Think beyond the photo– Anything visual like a map, video, chart, or graph can also be great website content. Compare your service levels with a chart or show where your jewelry is wholesaled with a Google Map.Remember any page on your website that has a picture on it can be pinned on Pinterest so the more great photos you have, the better your chance of getting noticed.
I don’t have a ton of good photos. Where can I get ‘stock’ photos?
You can get paid permission to use stock photos from websites like iStockphoto.com. Higher end photographs can be purchased on other sites like Getty Images for hundreds of dollars each. That said, you might want something less generic or less expensive for your uses.
- Look up photos at creativecommons.org for photos you can use or modify with proper attribution.
- If you see a specific photographer whose photos you like on Flickr or another website that does not have an explicit sharing policy, write to them to ask about permissions and compensation. Be as specific as possible about what you want to use the photo for. Some photographers will let you use their work in a limited application for a small fee.
How can I protect my photos from unauthorized use?
There are a few ways you can protect your photos:
- Put your logo in the bottom corner of your photo. Then if anyone uses it, they’ll have to crop the photo. Most people will just leave it there.
- Use a watermark. Some photo software comes with an easy way for you to add this.
- Apply for and publish a copyright or Creative Commons licence, an alternative to copyright that appeared as an option in 2001. http://creativecommons.org/choose/
What about taking photos with my smartphone? Any tips on making those come out better?
The good news is lots of people have this topic very well covered. Here are two good general articles:
Nine Tips for Taking Better Photos With A Smartphone (CNet)
How To Take Better Pictures With Your Smartphone’s Camera (Lifehacker)
You can also look in forums specific to your device to get tips from other people who have the same device you do.
Should I put photos on my website or somewhere else like Flickr?
I will say right now I am ridiculously biased here. I feel like this question is kind of asking me “Do I want to do more work so less people can see it?” Putting them onto a site like Flickr saves you from having to resize them and exposes them to people who are not necessarily coming to your website (which you clearly link to in your profile and photo captions).
Photos on your website
Steps Involved: Take photos, resize them, upload it via FTP or via your website software into a gallery, make the gallery display on the page you want.
People have to go to your website to see them (also a con)
You can control exactly how they display (Ex: you want a neon pink border around all of them? You’ve got it.)
Good if you: Don’t have many photos, are kind of a control freak
Photos on Flickr
Steps Involved: Take photos, upload them to Flickr, use code to display them on your site
Wider exposure than your website (2 million+ monthly users)
You can use programs or code to display them on your website
Automatic resizing when you upload them
Good if you: Have lots of photos, see the potential of other people contributing photos, want the most exposure to your work possible
So snap some photos people and get them online. It’s the cool thing to do!