Selecting high quality imagery for your content
- What's in an image?
- What is beautiful?
- What does it take to find good imagery?
- Understanding the physical space you have
- What are the elements that make a good image?
- Breaking down some examples
What's in an image?An image can make or break how good or bad an image look. Which is why we at Lamb can spend a considerable amount of time looking for quality imagery to use in our websites.We see imagery as being the work horse of the website interface.Why? Because it takes up a large portion of the visual real estate on the page, and it's generally the most interesting and engaging part of the website.
What does it take to find good imagery?1. TimeIn some instances, we can spend an entire hour looking for single simple image. If you want a great image, you are going to have to spend time.2. MoneyThe money you spend will influence the quality of shots It also takes money (or a lot more time if you can't spend the money)
- If you don't have any money to spend - you could try Pexels
- If you had some money to spend - Shutter Stock and iStock Photos are good.
- If getting the perfect shot is the most important thing - you could try Getty.
So, what is a good image?There is general consensus of what could be considered 'aesthetically pleasing' from a low to medium high rated website.However, at higher levels of rated aesthetic('I love this'), things can become a bit more subjective and based on individual thematic tastes, emotions and story, rather than technical photography and communication ability.We tend to look at a balance between the technical composition of the shot in addition to communication ability rather than trying to reach for un-quantifiable 'somethingness' about the perfect image.Aesthetic attributesWe look for images that have been composed well, that have a good use of colour and subject matter.CommunicationUnderstand what the point of the image needs to be. If it to add some visual texture to the page, then don't feel you need to be too bound to the subject matter.For example, if you were build a website around the airline industry you look look at:
- Planes - taking off, in the sky
- Radar systems
- Sky / clouds, weather
- Macro shots of air plan (macro shots are up close shots of something)
Understanding the physical space you haveOne of the biggest issues we find when we are supporting customers with imagery is an understanding of what the implications of cross device compatibility are.This complicates an already difficult subject of aspect ratio.Fixed aspect ratioIf you have an image with a fixed aspect ratio, then you need to choose an image that will match the exact shape of the image as it presents on the front end. You don't need to worry about how the image will present with the vastly different heights and widths of a responsive image.Responsive aspect ratioThis is very common in will width banners, particularly on your home page. These can present a serious issue when trying to find something that will work on an iPhone through to a full sized desktop machine.Ideally, you would be able to define two images a landscape image for desktop, and a near square version for mobile. This means the landscape version of image doesn't need to cater to for such a broad range of device sizes.If you have the one image version used across all devices. Find an image where the subject is placed near the center of the image will mean that the communication of the image will survive having 1/3 of the image clipped on the left and right hand. Ideally the image wont have too much happening on the extreme left or right of the image.Important note: And text in your images on desktop tends to be completely unreadable on mobile screens.
What are the elements that make a good image?
- Clarity of subject
- Depth of field
- Palette matching
Quick demonstration of imagesLook at the following images, what is worth noting?Here are our thoughts:
Additional Resources for image selectionThere are zillions of resources online that can help you improve your creative and design capability.[email protected].
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