There is nothing more impactful on a website than big, beautiful photography. The key to captivating website photography is having quality, well-shot images that are of a high enough resolution and which convey what you are wanting to project. Companies that manufacture or market products usually have professional photography that can be used, but for many nonprofits and small businesses, especially those that provide a service, photography can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty of options. Here are six ways you can get photography for your website:
There are millions of professional photos available online through stock photography companies like iStock, Shutterstock, and Getty Images. Most of these provide options for every budget—from the ability to purchase image usage rights on a per-image basis to monthly or annual subscriptions which allow you to regularly change your Website's photography to keep it fresh. Stock photography houses also provide search tools that enable you to find images based on keyword searches, orientation, colors in the image, close ups, silhouettes, and more. In most cases, you will want to purchase a Royalty Free license, which generally can be used as you wish and is cheaper than a Rights Protected image.
Hire A Photographer
Having your own photography shot may not be as expensive as you think. Many photographers will work with you to maximize your budget, and often you can make choices which can help keep costs low. For example, shooting at the photographer's studio vs. shooting onsite, limiting the number of locations or shoots you will do, carefully planning your shoot so that the photographer's time can be spent shooting (and not standing around while you make last minute decisions on types of shots or locations). Photographers will often provide you with a half day or full day shoot rate; others will provide an hourly rate or set project price.
Check with Suppliers
Do you resell someone else's products or services? If so, your supplier may have a library of professional photography that they make available for your use. Many manufacturers provide image libraries for their clients' use, and even some service companies have begun the practice. In addition, some suppliers may offer cooperative advertising funds which can offset the cost of having photography shot or to help with the cost of your website development.
Local CVB, City, or Chamber of Commerce
Did you know that most cities' Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) maintain a library of high quality photography of the area, street scenes, skylines, etc.? That said, policies vary greatly from town to town; some will gladly allow local businesses to use their photography with attribution, or for a small fee, while others will not make any photography available for commercial purposes. While it is unlikely that you will want to solely use these types of images on your site, local CVBs and Chambers of Commerce can be a fantastic source for stunning local photography.
Public Domain Images
Shoot Your Own
If you are building a site that uses large, feature imagery, I generally do not recommend shooting your own. However, if you are using outdoor photography (where you don't have to worry about poor lighting) or are simply providing supplemental photography for use throughout the site, shooting your own is a viable option. Most cameras and even smartphones have such high resolution that if you can stage the shots properly, you have a decent chance of creating some usable material.
Have another idea or source for great photography? We'd love to hear it—let us know!