Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Think of the last image that triggered an emotion – one that made you laugh out loud, be inspired or be shocked. Pictures tell 1000 words so they are extremely powerful in connecting with the viewer, especially on an emotive level. People buy on emotions, and validate with logic so great photos are a critical part of almost any successful business.
What message are you conveying?
Given images speak 1000 words, consider what audience you are trying to attract, and what messages are being conveyed. Do any people in your picture allow your target audience to picture themselves (or their family or friends) in the image? Do the demographics suit your target? Are the people smiling, happy, sad, …?
Look at background details. An overseas plug, a left hand drive car or a US Dollar will give away they are stock and not your business images.
If you are selling products, ideally maintain consistency in your shooting style, have well lit images, focus on the products and remove any clutter. Having at least your core images professionally shot is likely to increase traffic through your website.
As soon as a word is written, a photo taken or a graphic created, copyright is created automatically in Australia and many other countries. In Australia that automatic right (unless given away under contract or certain circumstances) lasts for 70 years after the death of the creator. This is a very cutdown version of a complicated area, but covers the basic premise. Note images do not need to have the © symbol or be watermarked for them to have protection.
Where can you source images?
In an ideal world where money and time were no object, then you would arrange for your own images to be shot or sourced, exactly per your requirements. In reality, small business owners often need to use stock images. DO NOT simply Google images and take from there, you will be breaching copyright. You can instead go to stock photo libraries and buy images. There are also Creative Commons (CC0) sites like pixabay, pexels and unsplash where you can obtain free images BUT be careful as these sites rely on the integrity of those uploading the images. If in doubt you can perform a Google image search. If you see the image belongs to Getty’s especially, do not use!
Naming your images
Photos and images play a major part in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It is hard for Google to read your image and what it is (even though it is pretty clever), so you need to label your images something useful. For instance instead of logo.jpg use Western-Sydney-Business-Centre-Business-Advisors-logo.jpg. Using keywords will help you to be found by Google and appear in search results. There are other fields you can update.
Sizing your images
It is best to set your images to the correct maximum size you need to avoid unnecessary size, which if used on your website will slow down your site – which is bad for user experience and for Google.
Need help with selecting images or regulations such as copyright you’re not familiar with, please make an appointment to see one of our business advisors for up to four hours of business advice at no cost with no catches! Part of our Business Connect service is to connect you with specialists that can help you, where our generalist advice doesn’t go into enough detail. Book now!