Save money on your website #2: Photos

When it comes to building a website on time and therefore on budget, photos - good ones - are often the cause of an avoidable bottleneck. Your smartphone may have a 22 megapixel camera but it's still a cameraphone and it doesn't necessarily turn its owner into a photographer- no matter how clever the technology. Indeed with a few exceptions - outside shots in good light where the subject doesn't move - home produced photos will rarely be good enough to use on your website; and they certainly won't match the clarity and composition of those that come from the camera of a professional snapper. There are other exceptions of course - Instagram-style pictures that have been filtered up the wazoo can sometimes be effective, and deliberately scrappy photos in the naive style have their place - but on the whole if you want a professional job, then use a professional.

That can mean hiring a photographer (we know some great ones right here in Brighton and Hove) or using what's called a stock photo from a picture library. Although the latter have a bit of a reputation for cheesiness, there are so many libraries offering such a wide range of photos and photo styles that we can almost certainly find something that works for your website.

So here are our top photographic tips for your website:

  • use good quality, professional photos where possible - this is especially important for people shots
  • If you want a slideshow of images, try to pick ones that are the same dimensions (rather than all different shapes and sizes)
  • If you want a gallery of thumbnail images that appear in a lightbox when a visitor clicks or taps on them, then you can mix and match images of different proportions
  • If you've got a photo that looks a bit fuzzy to you, don't use it - it'll look fuzzy to everyone else as well!
  • label your photos, give them names that make sense so it's easier for us to work out which one is supposed to go where
  • if your photos are supposed to include a caption, make sure you provide one (and try and make sure it's roughly the right length)

If you can hit all these marks with your photos, incorporating them into a website will go much more smoothly and increase our chances of bringing everything in on time and on budget. Next time: text.