9 Golden Rules of Choosing Images for Your Website

9 Golden Rules of Choosing Images for Your Website

There’s no question that humans are visual creatures. Fully aware that a single image can stir up a wide range of emotions, advertising companies have capitalized on imagery since the birth of their industry.

What kind of emotions are the images on your website provoking? Increase conversion and aesthetic appeal with the following golden rules.

1. Don’t use cliché stock photos.

Cliche Photo Example

You know… Those “employees” that look way too happy to be in the office? There is a time and a place for cliché stock photos, and that all ended about a decade ago.

Nowadays cliché stock photos can look outdated, rushed, or even spammy. Don’t worry if your employees aren’t as squeaky clean as the stock photo models – customers want to see the real faces of your business.

Selecting photos for websites
There… Doesn’t that look better? Photo courtesy of our client Southern Maine Remodeling.

2. Focus on branding.

What do you want your business known for? Class and style? Fun and family? Imagery is your tool to establish a brand identity.

3. Review licensing.

Using images on your website without permission is not only a discourtesy to the photographer, you could end up getting sued.

Take a lesson from the infamous Kardashians. Last month, a lawsuit was filed against Kendall and Kylie Jenner after they used images of Tupac Shakur in their clothing line without permission. An expensive mistake that nobody is quite immune from.

So next time you’re about to grab a photo willy-nilly off Google Images, take a moment and ask yourself, “Is this worth getting sued over?”

4. Showcase your images.

Picking the right photo for web design
See the rest of our design for client J.B. Gottstein.

After you’ve found a beautiful image, don’t be afraid to put a spotlight on it. In our designs here at OSC, we’re particularly fond of large hero images like shown above.

5. Consider hiring a photographer.

If you can’t quite find the right images, sometimes your best option is to hire a professional photographer. If you’re working on photos for your new website design, it’s certainly worth investing in an hour long photography shoot with your employees on the job site.

6. Use images that your audience relates to.

Photos containing people should be relatable to your audience. A company like Forever 21, a young adult’s clothing company, isn’t likely to feature senior citizens or infants.

7. Use faces.

Choosing photos for a website

Smiles sell. Also known as the smile appeal, smiling faces in marketing transmit a message to customers that your product or service makes people happy. Emotions are contagious, even if just in a photo.

8. Remember that pixels matter.

By far the most important part of choosing images for your website is selecting images with high resolution. When adjusting the size of an image, always keep dimensions the same and crop if necessary. If you increase an image past it’s original size, you’re bound to decrease the quality.

9. Get images from these fantastic sources.

If you don’t want to pay for each and every photo, there are plenty of free, legal options. Check out some of our favorite sources:


Your website is your opportunity to get a message across – are you using the right images to support it? See what we consider picture perfect in our portfolio.

Salena is dedicated to creating quality content unique to each client. Besides writing, she assists the team in executing inbound marketing campaigns, social media updates, and search engine performance monitoring. To occupy her free time, Salena enjoys reading, cooking and drinking coffee.

View all posts by Salena Poussard

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