Commonsense Tips for the Best-Looking Photos in Your Marketing Materials
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Commonsense Tips for the Best-Looking Photos in Your Marketing Materials
Kate Gingold
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Commonsense Tips for the Best-Looking Photos in Your Marketing Materials

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but for marketing purposes, be sure they are the right words by avoiding these mistakes:

Busy people only scan content, so to convey your marketing message quickly, it makes sense to use a few good photos. The operative word here is “good.” Start with photos that you have the legal right to share, then choose those that are eye-catching and appropriate for your use.

Now comes the part when you can ruin it all if you aren’t careful.

The main photo mistake people make on their websites is not sizing their photos properly. If you use your raw cell phone photos with thousands of pixels, you will drag down your site’s load time, which is a black mark on your SEO. On the other hand, blowing up 100 x 100 pixel image to be a website banner is going to look hideous because there isn’t enough data to fill the space. 

If you don’t own a graphics program, try one of the online tools like Canva or Photopea. You can upload an image, crop or resize it online, and then save it to your computer. The tools let you create the exact size you need. Online uses such as social media platforms and websites have different requirements regarding aspect ratio and image resolution, but cheat sheets are available and many tools provide templates or guides. Print media has its own requirements that you should research according to what you are printing.

Pay attention to scaling as well as sizing. How many times have you seen photos that are squished flat or squeezed together to make them fit into a specific space? That’s lazy editing which makes your business look unprofessional. It only takes a couple of minutes to crop your images for the best impression.

Different from photo images, vector images scale appropriately as you resize them and are used for art such as logos. Crisp, clean logo images are particularly important to your company’s reputation, so don’t just scan your letterhead and upload it to your website. Use the original vector art provided by your graphic designer. 

Logo images may be square (all sides equal), portrait (taller than wide), or landscape (wider than tall). Sometimes a logo looks awkward on a web page because it’s a “portrait” trying to fit in a “landscape” space. Consider creating both long and tall versions of your logo.

Graphic design tools help you crop photos to be landscape or portrait, but you’ll be better off if you shoot photos in the orientation that you need from the start rather than torturing the images to fit later. Make sure you leave plenty of space so the image can be cropped appropriately. Graphic artists can do plenty of photo magic to poor photos, but it’s time-consuming and therefore costly. 

Check out your competitors to see what kind of photos they use. Different industries have different styles and you want your images to tell the right story to web visitors. Try to match your images to your business’s brand as well through color, theme, and style. A professional photographer is really your best bet, but if the budget is too tight, at least do a little research first.

The final step to smart web graphics is to label them in the alt tag. This is the text alternative that describes the image. You may need technical help with this, but it’s important to your SEO and for ADA compliance when folks aren’t able to see your photo. Stuffing search terms into the tag is not the goal. Instead, use good, descriptive text which helps everybody. For instance, if your website showcases custom sailboats, then a photo with an alt tag of “Sailboat with teak deck” is useful to both people and to your SEO. 

Studies show that visual content is not just pretty, it’s important to successful marketing, so this is one of the places you may want to use professional services for making the best impression. Need advice from an experienced eye? We can help you out or give you a good referral for service. Just give us a call.

Photo by ready made

 

This article is an update to “How to Be Smart about Photos on your Website.” dated 9/14//2015.

 

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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