When it comes to web aesthetics, photographs serve as visual cues that give an additional layer of meaning to the text and other web elements. For one, these help visitors understand technical instructions. These help in eliciting emotions, as well, which may drive visitors to accomplish what you need them to do. Whilst photographs are an important element of a website, hiring a professional photographer can be pricey. For this reason, many website owners in Australia resort to stock photography.
What is stock photography?
Stock photography basically consists of existing photos — already created and published — made available for use by paying a fee to the stock photography websites managing them and the artists that produced them. This acquires you the right to legally use the photos in different ways, while the artist or photographer retains the copyright of their work.
Stock photography websites are a great resource to get cheap yet high quality photos that you can use in your designs. They’re perfect for advertising and marketing, for commercial creative projects, for promotional work, for websites and blogs, for publishing and more.
Is it illegal to use stock photography in your website?
When it comes to the use of stock photography in Australia, you can use stock images for most personal, commercial and editorial purposes. While people have gotten into legal troubles for reusing images found on the web, creators and photographers are happy to allow re-use of their images as long as you’ve paid them or asked for their permission.
If the stock photography is under Royalty Free license, then you can certainly use it for a wide range of uses. Images with Rights Managed also enable the same possible uses except it’s limited to one use per license.
Some stock photography websites or stock photo agencies let you use the images only as part of a greater design. You’re not allowed to display the images just as you downloaded them, but rather you’ll need to edit and modify them so they’re customised to your project. You will also need to know the types of modifications or edits you can make to the images (such as adding overlays, cropping, adding your own products, etc.) and where you can use them.
Keep in mind that all licenses come with specific restrictions in the way you can use the photos. It’s always crucial to read the license agreement thoroughly and fully understand the terms before using stock photography in your website. To ensure you’re using stock images in a legal and acceptable way, learn the restrictions for Royalty Free images and the forbidden uses for Rights Managed images.
Photographers and stock photography websites will have different restrictions and guidelines. To make sure you don’t run into legal problems in the future, make sure you’re familiar with them.
How to use stock photography in your website
Stock photography, however, has established a tarnished reputation. Some web design purists say that using stock photos is one reliable way to render your website generic, but this problem only occurs if you don’t use stock images with creativity.
At SEO Services Australia, we offer more than just professional SEO services. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of stock photos for your website:
Start with your Web Design
Before investing in any kind of stock photography in Australia, always start with your web design. Think of it this way: your website is the house you’re building and the decor inside is the stock images you’ll use. The stock photos make a big difference but they won’t determine the entire look of your website.
Let your web design dictate everything else. Once you’ve got your design down pat, this will help you in your search for images among stock photography websites because you’ll know exactly what to look for such as:
- Types of images
- Image size
- Image orientation
It’ll be much easier to narrow down your search and find the right images to add personality to your website.
Do away with Overused Pictures
Ladies who smile while eating their salads, office bosses engaged in scripted conversations, and kids on the beach—these are only some of the generic photos you’ll see across multiple websites. Often, these are royalty-free, meaning more people have access to them. Avoid clichéd images by upgrading your subscription at the image source.
Also, choose stock images that your brand style and colors. Instead of using generic photos that don’t fit your brand at all, start your search with your brand in mind. That way, even if you find beautiful stock images, you won’t be tempted to spend your budget on stock photography for your website that won’t work for your business.
Use Stock Photo Subjects as Metaphors
When it comes to conveying messages on the web, you have to use some metaphors to make things more interesting. You can do this by using stock photos. For instance, instead of using a photograph of an office person to depict a leader, you can use an image of a pack of wolves following the alpha canine.
Choose Photos with Enough Space for Typography
Chances are you’re going to insert some amount of text into the pictures, so you might as well choose images with enough space for typography. These photos usually follow the Rule of Thirds, which ensures that the elements in a photograph are properly distributed or placed. This is possible by leaving an amount of negative space.
With added text, you can make stock photography more interesting so they stand out. You basically create images that people will recognise as yours, without having to take the photos yourself. It’s also a great way to get the most out of the images so you can buy less stock photography but still have as much flexibility.
Get SEO Going
Prep your images for SEO so that they can help people find your website online.
Stock images will typically have names that reflect the photographer or the stock photography websites where they’re from. After you purchase and download images, rename them to something search engine-friendly before adding them to your website.
You can also add some more SEO juice by inserting keywords or keyword phrases on your website’s back-end and by adding captions or alt text to the images. This works differently on each website platform, but you’ll be able to find how-to-guides to help you out. For instance, WPEngine has a comprehensive tutorial on WordPress image alt text.
Leverage the benefits of stock photography in your website with SEO Services Australia
Stock photography in websites has many perks for businesses but the main benefits are the savings in time and money. Hiring a graphic designer or photographer to create custom images is both time-consuming and expensive. Getting the necessary skills and equipment to create images yourself presents the same problems.
As tackled in this article, images from stock photography websites are ready to use. As soon as you ask permission or pay for a license, you can download the stock images and use them within the accepted terms.
There are also plenty of ways to use stock photographs for your website. With our tips, you have a better idea of how to choose and use stock photography on your website so you can create a memorable online experience for your customers. In a world that’s getting more visual by the day, boosting the eye-catching appeal of your website is an effective way to succeed in growing your business.
On top of these rules and tips, don’t forget to ensure that the images you use are optimized! Contact SEO Services today if you want your website and its elements, including the stock photography you use, to be optimised for SEO. We know all the tricks to get your website on the first page of Google.