There are benefits and pitfalls to the use of stock images. There is a huge selection of images in almost every category, many of which are free. They are also well taken, can be compressed down to an adequate size or used as are, and they negate the need to have to master photography yourself. However, you need to ensure that you meet accreditation rights, and some types of stock photos have been used so often that even your visitors will have seen them before. However, there are many viable uses for this type of website content image.
A hero image is a large image, is usually overlaid with text, and it conveys a single message or point. Choose images with blank space that can be filled with text, and try to match the overall colour scheme to that of your website or your branding. You can get away with using images that have been seen elsewhere, at least to some extent, because you will be customising the image through the addition of your own text and content.
Using stock photos as a background image is like using them in the creation of a hero image, except that the picture is not necessarily an integral part of the overall message. Images can be blurred, or you can, for example, choose a light image and have a dark text box overlaid. Be careful with background images, otherwise a page can quickly become too busy and difficult to read.
If you have an e-commerce or even affiliate site, review images are vital. Even if you are reviewing a city or location, you can search creative commons pictures for images that you can use within your review or content. Doing this usually means that the images you choose will not be found on every other page on the web either.
Images to fit a colour scheme
If you are going to use stock images to complement a design, you can search some of the free repositories using colour scheme. This means that you are not only using the picture as a means of breaking up content, but you are using it to further enhance the look and design of the web page itself. Your visitors will benefit, and so too will you.
If you want to find out more about how to make stock images work for your website, contact us today.
Doug Banks is the Creative Director at Pixel Design Studio. You can find him on LinkedIn. He has over 10 years experience in project management and the designing and building of websites.