How do you choose the right images for your websites, blog posts or articles? The pictures that make people stop and take a closer look at the rest of the content. The images that manage to awaken people’s feelings, and at best, make them share your content. What defines good images?
The easiest thing in the world is to pick bad stock photos. The web is overflowing with services that offer them. You can even find several stock photo services, where you can download them for free.
But what is the difference between a good and a bad stock photo, and how do you find a good picture if the easiest thing in the world is to pick a bad one?
Avoiding bad images on your website
Let’s start by describing a bad stock photo and what factors help to rule it out.
First and foremost, image quality is important. You may think it’s unnecessary to mention, but you’ll be surprised how many people actually compromise on the quality of the photos they choose to support the written content they publish.
With so many websites online, that allow high-quality images to be downloaded, this should not be at all a topic of discussion, yet people get lazy and perhaps even cheap when it comes to images and choose the fastest and cheapest solution.
All too often the picture choice becomes too concrete. For example, choosing a stock image for an online guide about SEO, where the letters S-E-O are written across the image in large font. Or the classic meeting image of suit-wearing employees, armed with laptops, seated around a meeting table, often in a large meeting room with giant windows (understandably because they are in a skyscraper), — this image is a classic that is often chosen to accompany the company description on the company website.
Unfortunately, clichéd images are a mistake that too many people often make. Choosing the same type of image that has already been viewed across hundreds of websites is never a powerful solution — it devalues your unique content and, at worst, discredits you.
Are the rights controlled?
Another angle of a bad stock photo is those where rights are not controlled.
Or there may be rights in relation to the provider’s home country, but if, as a Danish company, for example, you use free images from an American service, you may be in trouble. And unfortunately, Danes will occasionally be fined for copyright infringement, despite having acted in good faith and following the instructions of these pages.
Of course, we’ve made sure that the images you access at JumpStory are pictures you MUST use without getting caught. You can read more about this on our FAQ page.
How to choose good images for your text
When you have spent a long time creating good content, it is crucial that the image you choose to accompany the written content is at least the same level of quality as your text. If it can even lift the content further, you’ve done it right — you’ve found a good stock photo.
There are endless possibilities online to find exactly the right image to support and contribute to your fabulous piece of content. It takes a little longer to find images with high authenticity and the right message, but it will always pay off in the long run to invest the extra energy and time it takes.
It pays to think out of the box and to avoid leaning on what everyone else does. Instead, try to be creative and focus on the unique so that you, and especially your content, are remembered.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to your image content is to choose something that evokes emotions from your audience.
It is, of course, preferably the positive feelings that you should look for when looking for images to awaken something in people, but depending on your other content, sometimes evoking slightly heavier emotions can also make sense. Sometimes it can be powerful to awaken bittersweet memories from the reader, and it can be precisely those feelings that make your content exceptional and be shared over and over again. That’s what good pictures can do.
If it is appropriate in context, do not be afraid to peak your content with a slightly humorous edge. Content with a funny or comic angle has a much greater chance of being shared on social media and can give your website and content a more human feel, something that many appreciate in these times when everything is becoming more and more digital.
Optimise your images
In the search for good and authentic images to support your well-written content, you may find images that might be the right ones, but they may still be missing that little ”something”.
It may be that the colours are not quite right, or that the picture is a little empty; perhaps a poster on the wall, a vase of flowers, a laptop on the table, or something else, would complete the picture and make it perfectly perfect for the purpose for which you need it.
You can always edit the stock photos you choose to use to suit your purpose. Whether the colours need to be adjusted a bit, whether the image should be optimised with elements from another photo or eye-catching graphics, only you can limit how much a given image can be optimised to match your website and your content perfectly.
In addition, always look for visual content related to colours and design on your website. Style and balance in colour scale and visual design help to entice visitors to stay a little longer.