When looking to achieve the perfect website there are a number of key factors you have to consider. In the same way that the perfect dessert requires quality ingredients combined in the exactly the right way, web design requires quality content to build upon. Firstly, we look at developing, or expanding on, a quality brand. Having an engaging brand image is the vital first ingredient. We then look at crafting the web layout, incorporating into the structure everything important to your target audience and ensuring a seamless user experience. Engaging content follows, either from you the client or from a dedicated copywriter. Either way, the words are important. Finally, the ingredient often forgotten, is photography.
The way in which people experience the digital market has changed. Imagery and visual entertainment is king, as the sheer volume of content forever grows and the attention span of perspective clients shortens as a result. Most companies now realise that a website is critical to engaging with that digital market. The key is then to differentiate from the crowd and place your own website, and therefore company, at the forefront of your marketplace. One of the most obvious ways to do this is through professional photography, moving away from the libraries of stock photos and into a completely unique image.
At Polar Creative we understand the difference between needing a brand and embracing your identity. Here are a few tips to helping small businesses discovering what is important to them and how that is reflected through their branding:
As with anything, quality has its cost. A common complaint from clients is often that having already forked out on branding, a new website and written content, that photography is a step too far in terms of the marketing budget. Understandable. Unfortunately for this argument, it depends how you view ‘cost’. As a marketing company, we are concerned with ROI for our clients. When working with stock imagery, we will often be tasked with securing 30-40 images, costing roughly £50.00. Job done, right? The problem is that these images will likely have been used before, by competitors, and will show absolutely no personality or chemistry with your overall brand image.
Invest in a photographer, with experience of your industry, of the digital market and with the technology and talent to truly represent your company ethos and character, and the added value is immense. Not only do you have between 15 – 20 personal, unique images that can be used across your marketing collateral without any risk of being replicated, you have a refreshing difference that you can offer potential clients and visitors to your website.
As a design agency, we combine our skills with others from across the marketing spectrum to create something special for our clients. We therefore understand exactly how a partnership within a project can work. We would say that, although the designer you work with doesn’t necessarily have to be present at your photo shoot, they should still have an input. The designer can supply wireframes and initial designs that give the photographer guidance as to what space is available for imagery. The designer then also has an assurance that the photos will be perfect for the website later in the project.
Equally important is understanding the impact that responsive websites have on photography. Only through working with a dedicated photographer with digital website experience can your ensure that the photos you use are scalable across multiple devices, from a PC screen, to tablet and smartphone. There is nothing worse than having a stunning image that looks pixelated and undistinguishable on a smaller screen.
In our experience, a quality photographer costs in the region of £300-£500, though this of course depends on the scope of the project. For the added value it brings to a website project though, we would recommend every single time that you invest in a professional for your imagery. A web designer’s talent is in combining the ingredients to bake something delicious. Remove one of the ingredients for a cheaper alternative and something won’t taste quite right. If something isn’t right, then you can’t guarantee that your customers will feel fed.