There are times where I beat up on graphic designers. And there are other times when I completely support the advice they give. One piece of graphic design advice I completely agree with is that every company should make use of professional photography. High quality photography is one of your best web site investments. In terms of my usability roots, photography is an important part of high quality content. If you are designing or redesigning your web site make sure you take time to consider the photography.
Today Everyone's a PRO
In today's world of readily available digital cameras it is easy to get photography for almost any project. If I'm working on a web project and ask for photography the client usually responds with "I have a guy who does photos for me all the time, he's great." To which I respond, "Is he/she a professional photographer?" Nine times out of ten the response is "No they are not, but the photos are decent." Here is my honest assessment: Professional photography gives web sites a professional feel. Amateur photos make a web site look amateur. Over the last 16 years I've found the previous assessment to be completely true.
Getting a client to spend money on a photography can sometimes be a difficult task. In my own personal experience every client who spent money on a professional photographer usually grumbled about the price up front and praised the photos afterward.
There are rare occasions when you find an amateur photographer that takes professional grade photography. The easiest way to assess the quality of photography is by going to your graphic designer or web development firm to get an objective evaluation.
If you can't afford a professional photographer stock photography is highly recommended. Some of the photos might not be an exact fit for your web site. I would argue that you could make an exception for the perfect situational photo with a professional looking photo. Stock photography has become increasing more diverse and affordable.
There is one important caveat. My stress for using professional photography applies to company and business web sites. If it's a personal or family web any photography is good photography.
Using professional photography is a great investment that all companies should honestly consider.
Inexpensive Stock Photography - iStockphoto