It can take a visitor as little as 1/20th of a second to form a lasting impression of a website. That’s just a tiny fraction of a second to determine whether you entice your next committed buyer, reader or visitor. A modern, responsive design can go a long way towards making a positive first impression, but if your images are low quality, all your hard work can be undone in the blink of an eye. You need to be sure you aren’t losing traffic due to boring photos – it’s an easy fix.

Eye catching images should definitely occupy your homepage, but they should go far beyond just that. Social media posts, headshots, blogs and just about everything you can think of will benefit. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • An image in an email can increase the click rate by 378%
  • Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets
  • Facebook posts with photos get 180% more clicks than those without

So maybe you know you need better photos, but you’ve been putting it off because it seems like one extra thing you just don’t have time to coordinate. We’ll let you in on a little secret. It isn’t as difficult as you think to make it happen. The question is; Where can you get these images and how can you utilize them in the best possible way? There are four main sources for online images. Each have their unique advantages and disadvantages and they each have a different price point.

1. Stock Photography

Stock photography is big business. Almost every scenario you can imagine has been staged and shot by a photographer.

Pros

  • Wide selection
  • Browse professional photos and graphics before you commit
  • When used well, can give a professional look to content

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Possible duplicate content issues in the future*
  • Choosing generic images can make your site look unprofessional
 *Google doesn’t currently penalize duplicate images but they have not ruled out the possibility in future.

2. Professional Photography

Professional photography is expensive but skill and specialized equipment don’t come cheap. Furthermore, a professional can achieve results than are impossible using the other sources.

Pros

  • Unique content
  • Tailor images to fit your content

Cons

  • Expensive

3. Graphic Design

Graphic design is a good way to make your website look modern. We like it so much that there are barely any photos on our home page. Of course, it helps if you have an in-house graphic designer, but services like fiverr have lowered the cost of entry if you don’t require too much customization.

Pros

  • Unique content
  • Create animations
  • Create infographics that can spread your brand organically

Cons

  • Can be expensive

4. Do-It-Yourself

If all else fails, you can always do-it-yourself. A DSLR, a tripod and some white paper is all you need for Apple-esque product photos. Add an external flash and you can create professional looking headshots. You don’t need to stop at do-it-yourself-photography, you can also edit images on your own thanks to free and low cost programs like pixlr and gimp.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Unique content

Cons

  • Time consuming
  • Possibly lower quality output