In designing a site I always ask for as many photos as I can from a client. The more images you have for a site the more visually appealing the site can become; but if a client does not have any images then we go to a photographer to take pictures for the customer or more commonly we go to a stock photography site. The old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is very true when it comes to web design.
When developing a piece of marketing whether it is a brochure, billboard, flyer, or even a web site. Society reads on an 8th grade level, which lets us know how visually-based our society has become. So when designing a web site the more pictures you can use the more you’ll be able to draw in your visitors.
When developing a web site; I always start out with a two hour meeting where we go through a creative strategy process where we ask the client a great deal of probing questions; such as, what colors do you like, what type of feel are you going for on your website, are you selling a product, and so on. (More to come on Creative Strategy in my next article) Once I have gathered this information I then go on and construct a light-box of images whether the images are from the client, a photographer, stock photography web site or a combination of the aforementioned sources.
So when you begin developing a web site for a client it is very helpful to start out by presenting them with a light-box of images. This is a great way to spawn ideas for the development of the site as well as get additional direction from the client. This allows you to develop a visual story for the client and will help visually layout the site with the images you have chosen. For you newbie’s out there I am sure you are wondering by now what is a light-box? Well, here is the official definition: “A folder used on stock photography site to allow a user to organize digital photos.”
When picking photos for a light-box there are several great stock photography sites out there; such as, www.istockphoto.com, www.bigstockphoto.com, www.shutterstock.com, www.rubberball.com, www.jupiterimages.com. I personally use www.istockphoto.com because the image quality is superior and the price is very reasonable when purchasing photos. Istockphoto.com also has a built in light-box which you can create for a specific client and then send the client a link to that light-box so they can review the images that you have chosen.
Here is an example of one of the light-boxes that I created for a client. Click Here
When purchasing photos make sure to keep a copy of all photos not only for the client that you have purchased them for but also to keep a copy for yourself. I have done this for the last 10 years and I have built up quite a collection of photos for my own library of images. I use these photos as my go too photos for clients before I purchase any additional.
Once the client has chosen the images that he/she wishes to use for construction of their web site I begin designing a Mood Board for their website. “What is a Mood Board you ask?” Well here is a link to the article that gave me the insight on Mood Boards.
Best of Luck in designing and developing your own web sites, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or comments in regard to this article.