48 hours of video is uploaded every minute to YouTube. At that rate, nearly eight years of content is uploaded daily.Source: YouTube
Web Wise: Is That Photo Really Necessary?
All websites need photos and other graphics to provide a pleasing design to visitors. They break up large tracts of text and, more importantly, convey further explanation of the mission, purpose and story of the site’s owner.
However, not every business has the deep pockets necessary to hire a professional photographer to bring its vision to reality. That opens the door for stock photography, which offers professional, polished images at affordable costs.
Unfortunately, though, the use of stock images falls into predictable clichés – such as the standard mechanic with a wrench or the smiling call center employee. Now, these images have their appropriate uses, but they’re so overused that they become ineffective.
What should you be looking for when you are searching for good-quality stock photography to help tell your story – regardless if it’s online or in a printed mailer to new residents?
1. Free vs. royalty free: Free is just that – no charge for its use. But be sure you have the right to use it on a commercial site, rather than just for personal use. Royalty free stock images are for a fee, but allow you to use the images when, where and for as many times as you choose without having to pay additional fees.
2. Do not use search engines to download images for your site. These are usually copyrighted materials, and you can end up in legal trouble for lifting images without consent. Select a few free or low-fee stock photography sites to help you find the images you need.
3. When possible, use photos of your staff and your facility. Nothing personalizes your brand better than photos of you and your staff. Maximize this impact by showing your staff at work and interacting with customers. If possible, find a photography student or newspaper stringer who can give your photos a professional look at a lower cost than hiring a professional photographer. But remember to get the necessary releases to use the photos when and where you choose.
4. Pay only for what you need. If you intend to use a photo both on your website and on printed materials, purchase the higher-priced 300 dpi image. But if the image will only reside online, select the lower-priced 72 dpi image.
Facebook’s Timeline feature has rolled out for brands and business pages, and photo editing provider Aviary recently created a free new app for users to create a perfectly sized cover photo. Search on the Facebook site for “Aviary.” To use it you’ll need to approve the app. Be sure to apply the appropriate security settings on who can use and access your photos. Happy cropping!
ASA Web Ways
Professional photography and graphics are great ways to punch up the effectiveness of your website. But don’t fret; there are plenty of resources available that are very low cost, if not even free. The trick is to know what is free for use on your site, and when you need permission to use it or to pay for its use.
Stop by the ASA Member Community’s Member-Shop Issues forum for some great tips on how to determine use and some links to free and low-cost website graphics.
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