The content is the reason why we surf the web. The content is the bread of many websites. The content is the instrument and the aim. And if you want your business to succeed through your website, then bear in mind: the content is everything you have.
After saying “the content is all you have” it might be kind of a weird thing trying to define what the content is. But it is necessary. So, let’s open it up! Any kind of information, in any kind of format, whether it is video, audio, text or image, all of those things are considered to be the content. And the purpose of this information is, obviously, to inform, to entertain, to engage and to teach. Without the content, your website is just a cover. Like an empty book cover. If it brings no informational benefits, then it loses its sense for the consumer.
The type of content is not equal. Please, no content racism. But, let’s take it seriously. To have the web pages overloaded with the text isn’t impressive. On the one hand, it is fairly difficult to struggle reading all those long pages. On another, not always a word is the best tool to describe something. Content with visuals is a lot more attractive, informative, easier to consume and probably, having two or three images, the length of the text can be shorter.
If you want to pin one’s attention to your website, the visual part has to be of a proper quality. And you might ask yourself “where am I supposed to take so many photos?”. The cost for work of the professional photographer is scaring. For projects on a low budget, it is not a salvation. But, is that necessary to hire a photographer? Today’s smartphones have turned into camera phones, which allows taking brilliant photos.
Remember, it is not necessary to take your own photos. Sometimes the textual content doesn’t need any exact visuals. In that situation, videos, photos and other material act as a decoration. There are a lot of free and paid platforms, where photographers are sharing their works on different thematics. Here are some good sources to get images for your websites:
- Visualhunt.com — photos only. Totally free.
- Pixabay.com — photos, vectors, videos. Totally free.
- Stockvault.net — photos only. Has a paid content on a separate platform.
- Rgbstock.com — photos only. Totally free.
- Unsplash.com — photos only. Totally free.
- Freepik.com — photos, vectors, icons, textures and patterns. There is some paid content called premium.
- Shutterstock.com — the paid platform for Stockvault. You can view the pricing page here. Shutterstock has a huge base of photos, videos and vectors.
- IStockPhoto.com — view the pricing page here.
- Dreamstime.com — there are free photos sections. And of course, pricing.
- Stock.adobe.com — Adobe speaks volumes. And the pricing page.
- Marketplace.500px.com — There is a free photos section. And the pricing.
We want to emphasize the importance of knowing the copyright. The thing is, some of the licenses on the images do allow to use the image only as a part of informational strain. The authorship plays a crucial role here. Some licenses (CC0, CC BY) allow editing and using the image for any purpose, some of them (CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA, CC BY-NC-ND) prohibit commercial usage. That is why study the copyright before using the image or at least contact the author to get the permission.
Taking your own photos
Okay, so taking your own photos in the modern world does not always require photo school license, expensive camera and renting out the studio. As well as the secrets of a good photo are not hidden in the professional literature (at least because this literature can be found on the internet). Of course, you will need some practice. But, there are benefits in it.
So, for a shot, you will need:
- A smartphone with a good photo camera. Of course, the quality of the photo is not comparable to the expensive professional cameras. Nevertheless, they give you a good opportunity to take a high-resolution shot. There are too many models with the great cameras these days. Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC are showing the best results due to the tests on the cameras. Even low-budget smartphones like Meizu are supplied with qualitative facilities. But, the camera is only a 40% percent of success. The golden rule here is “post-production is a king”.
- A good mobile application. They are not widely spread, but, using alternative to the standard application can bring additional functions to the camera of your smartphone. For the Android devices, it is Camera ZOOM FX which is available on the Google Play for 3 dollars. And Camera+ for iOS devices.
- A set of light. Any person that has tried to take a photo whenever in their life, knows that light plays the main role. If you take the photos of your production, you can use natural light. Using natural light will help you to pierce through the inexperience, placing different lanterns in various places and angles. As well as it will make your colour scheme more pleasant to the eye.
- A working plane. Depending on the type of a subject you are going to photo, it can be a table or just a floor with a good covering. You can use natural objects as a working plane. Don’t be afraid to experiment on this issue. Grass or granite, brick walls or good-looking wooden boards, everything can look stylish. If we talk about clothes on the photos, remember, clothes should be shown on the person. It makes easier to depict and convey the real parameters easier. You don’t have to hire a professional model for that. The trending thing of the last years: using usual people as models. It helps to show your products in a frank way, which is more close to the spirit of your consumers.
- A tripod. Let’s add a grain of professionalism to your work here. Even if you are using the smartphone, human factor can be decisive. Protect yourself from it. Fully functional and helpful tripods cost a dime, but they will increase the results of a good photo instantly. On Amazon, their cost can vary from 15 to 25 dollars.
- A PC or a laptop. The truth is, the post-production stage still plays a great role. Forget about the filters on the photos. They are easily recognizable, thanks to the Instagram. And they can make your audience feel like you are trying to hide something. If you are familiar with photoshop or some other tool for processing photos, it would be extremely profitable. Dependent on the style of the photo you want to get in the end, you can play with the graining, depth, light, sharpness.
When you get everything ready for work, make sure you know what exactly you want to show to your audience. For some smartphones there are available different types of lenses, that will make interesting effects and give your work a breath of individuality. Here are some general tips for the process of taking the photo:
- Concentrate on taking a sharp photo, rather blurry one. Your audience surely wants to see everything in details. Don’t use the zoom, better move the camera closer to the object. Digital zoom may cause worsening of the quality of the photos.
- Focus your aim. Cameras with auto-focus are good, but let your eye decide what looks better.
- If you are using the artificial lights, place it in the way to highlight the minor details. The style of a photo can be of any kind, but you should keep it in mind, that too much darkness is never a plus, when somebody is trying to see the details.
- Experiment with the angles of a photo. Sometimes you will need to photo the object from different angles to make sure you caught the needed “impression” on the picture.
- Don’t be afraid to use a macro. The macro photo is a photo on the more close distance. It allows to capturing the most diminutive details.
Without the text, web pages would be completely not informative. Eventually, the word caused the appearance of human civilization. But, the text without visuals will turn your website into a boring collection of long-reads. Taking good photos is possible even without serious investments. And, with experience, you might be able to improve your results.
Share your experience in self-made product photography!