Why you need a good picture

The goal of brand storytelling is to create a bond of love and trust between your company and your users. Great pictures play a major role in generating the love part. Because visual is emotional.

To choose the ultimate picture - whether for a website, an ad or a blog post - you must try to combine 3 effects:

  • enhance your product - if it’s premium, a premium image can justify a higher price at first glance.
  • share an experience - do you want your users to feel joy, simplicity, richness, perfection when they use your product?
  • help your target identify - show them the kind of lifestyle they aspire to live.

For instance, Media Temple doesn’t sell the servers behind their web hosting service, but the passionate people making it a daily reality for their customers.

Another example, Maptote doesn’t sell tote bags, but a cool lifestyle. 

Where to find inspiration

When you search for a photo, bear in mind these 5 tips given by 500px:

  • proper keywording: begin with broad topics, then narrow your research to keywords that are as specific as possible based on your initial findings.
  • prefer unique pictures that tell a story - vs. photos that everybody has seen already, describing a static posture.
  • natural people in natural environments - rather than stereotypical people in stereotypical environments.
  • negative space in the picture - it makes it easier to add text and buttons without spoiling the beauty or the meaning of the picture.
  • minimal color palette helps integrate the picture in the website without standing out too much.

Here are the websites that I use when I need an inspirational boost:

  • Google Images (of course): just type broad keywords, then dig deeper.
  • Pinterest: a place where many designers gather creative inspiration in thematical dashboards (including me).
  • Behance: a place where designers showcase their portfolios, including lots of personal projects displaying imaginary websites. Like this one that I love.

The toolbox

Contemporary semi-pro pictures

Splashbase: Free high res photos and videos (loops) 

Unsplash: Free high res photos

Flickr: Free and paying photos (their new search feature makes it really enjoyable to look for pictures)

500px: Paying photos (check out the Eclectic & Exclusive gallery for really original pics for just $50)

Vintage pro pictures

New Old Stock: Free vintage photos from public archives  

Life: Iconic vintage photos

Professional vintage sports photos

Easy-to-use free photo editing tools

Canva: great for instant filters and adding text.

Pickmonkey: lots of fun options to customize your pictures and give them a consistent look and feel.

Squarespace: add Getty Images for just $10 on great website templates.

This article explains how to put text over images, effectively and beautifully.