In the era of visual communication, authentic quality imagery – one of the undying trends of the past and future decade – is a must. Just look at these facts:
More than 90% of communication is visual.
We think in pictures: images are processed by our brain 60,000 times faster than text.
Three in four of us are visual learners.
But not just that. High-quality images also increase conversion, engagement, and credibility of whatever they go with. It’s important to select the right images that fit your projects, which is when stock photography platforms become a reliable source for visuals for many professionals.
Why Use Stock Photos?
Although there’s no universal recipe for using stock photos on websites and blogs as tastes vary, the benefits are many:
Time and money saved. Buying stock photos on Depositphotos, Shutterstock, 99club, and photo agencies alike is much cheaper than working with a professional photographer. Flexible membership and buying options allow you to pay only for what you need.
Accuracy. It doesn’t take long to select the images you need from vast photo archives of dozens of millions of items, especially with the use of advanced search options.
No hassle with copyright. All stock photos are royalty-free, and you are protected by the terms and conditions of your photo stock agency (note that taking images from Google isn’t safe unless you’ve obtained the permission from the copyright owner).
Before You Start
Check how you’re ranking so far with Google.. For this, go to Google Analytics and navigate to Acquisition ->All Traffic ->Source/Medium ->Google images/organic. There’s no official commentary on this, but it’s generally believed that the number of people coming to you from Google Images should constitute about twenty percent of your overall traffic.
#1 Appeal to the Subconscious
Since the majority of decisions are subconscious, it’s no wonder marketers place so much emphasis on visuals and design. What emotions are you trying to evoke with your photos? This is important to consider as well as where you are going to use the images (website, blogs, ads, social media, presentations, merchandise), and what you’re trying to communicate in order to inspire users to act.
Every color influences us in a specific way. For example:
Warm colors (red, yellow, orange) – happiness, call to action, danger.
Cool colors (blue, green, purple) – creativity, beauty, security, sadness.
It might be useful to do an extended search on this topic and find out what colors you should use in your overall designs and how images go with them to influence users on a subconscious level. .
#2 Take your time to find authentic visuals
It goes with saying that you should avoid cliches. Explore beyond the first search pages of your stock photo agency. Keep in mind the following points:
Images on the first page(s) of search results are usually used by many.
Paid images on microstocks can also be used by someone else other than you (images are available to users worldwide).
Advanced search settings will help you find what you need much quicker.
#3 Avoid Staged Photos
Remember, your ultimate task is to make your audience interested – what good will corny photos with fake smiles do in that regard? You need candid, natural photos with slight imperfections that translate authenticity in the snapshots. People have long learned to see through fake emotions, so be careful with that.
#4 Have visuals support your selling point
There are millions of ideas to captivate the reader while keeping the connection with your product. For example, you can place the product in the background, create a scene where you’re selling a good time with your product, show your product in use, and so on. Some of the ideas will require adjusting your photo in Photoshop, Lightroom, or web editors.
#5 Follow Visual Trends
The visual trends for 2020 are authenticity, unconventional beauty, vertical imagery, and vivid colors. Explore the trends and find out which of them you use in your imagery.
#6 Keep the Image Size Reasonable
It’s only reasonable to use the images that fit the maximum resolution on the webpage. You can crop images to any desired size, but it’s not wise to pay for a quality image that you won’t use.
Ideal Image Sizes for Social Media
Facebook – 1200×628 for posts, 1080×1920 for stories.
Twitter – 16:9 (1024×576, 1280×720, etc.).
Instagram – 1080×1080 for square images, 1,080x 66 for horizontal images, 1080×1350 for vertical images, 1080×1920 for stories.
#7 Keep the Webpage Loading Speed Under Three Seconds
Research by Google claims that 53% of users leave websites that take more than three seconds to load. To keep your loading speed at bay, don’t use heavy images unless completely necessary.
In addition to conventional image resizing and compressing, you can boost your image loading speed by using a content delivery network, which caches images at edge servers located between the web server and the user.
#8 Use Little SEO Tricks
Among three common types of images – JPEG, GIF, and PNG – choose JPEG for high-quality images, GIF for animations, and PNG when you need to compress images (PNG images are compressed without quality loss).
Add title text and alt text to help Google crawlers to index your images. Add only relevant keywords and avoid packing them with keywords for the sake of SEO.
Manage your image sitemap using these instructions from Google.
#9 Edit Stock Photos
The time saved on taking pictures may be spent on editing to fit your new images into the visual style of your project. There are dozens of programs to help you with that, from classic Photoshop and Lightroom to free web editors – FastStone, Pixlr, GIMP, etc.
#10 If Nothing Works, Change Your Plan
If your photos are not converting, your articles are left without comments, and new users don’t come, then it might be reasonable to reconsider your visual content curation. It might be that you are overly focused on a single style of images while overlooking others possibilities, or you are using too many photos, or maybe you need infographics to better illustrate complex ideas.