7 Reasons Why You Want Images On Your Website

Website images are just as important as video on your website. Invest in some great photography to keep visitors on your site longer and coming back for more!

Think your website images aren’t as important as video? Although videos have become important elements in your websites, don’t let the popularity and lure of videos blind you to the enduring power of great photographs and well written captions.

Here are 7 reasons you want to include photos in your websites:

1) A dull, drab site doesn’t entice.

You’ll want to include images that will capture your visitors’ interest, illustrate your services, products and message and arouse them to take action: i.e., opting in to your list, buying your product, shopping at your store, etc. We’ve all become accustomed to visually stimulating websites, so you have to strive for visual excellence.

2) Video is a powerful tool but sometimes your visitor doesn’t have the time to watch it.

What I love about photographs is that a good one can tell a story in one shot. With a two sentence caption, it tells a story that can be consumed in la few seconds. Right after I roughed out this post, I had a comment come in on this photograph I had posted in Facebook.

“I love the fact…you love photography, like I do and in addition to that you are creative with the posts that accompany your photos.”

3) When you do include captions, you can put your tags and keywords in there as well for more SEO juice.

4) Another wonderful thing about photographs, images and illustrations on the web is that they are easy to use and don’t take up much bandwidth.

Photos should be optimized for web delivery so that they are served quickly, but this process is simpler and faster than optimizing videos. You have no browser viewing issues with photos like you do with video, i.e., iPhones and iPads can’t view Flash files.

5) Additionally, showcasing photos that capture you and your business in the best light go a long way toward establishing your brand.

6) Google knows people like to look at images and will reward you with a higher page rank for providing this kind of content.

Although computers don’t read pixels, they do read the image title so make sure you include your keywords and tags in the name of your images. I am surprised at how many people overlook this one simple Google-friendly way of getting more keywords onto their site.

7) Photographs are a great way to deliver links, which Google likes.

Add valid links to your photos whenever you can. Most people are used to images taking them places and will expect your image to link to more information. If they click and just your image opens up, they may get confused and frustrated. If you aren’t going to link this photo anywhere within your site or another site, make sure your image won’t be clickable to avoid a possible visitor frustration.

Have you come across some great use of images on a website you’d like to share? Or do you have a clever, enticing way you have included photographs on yours? Leave your comment below!

HDSLR Cameras VS Phone Cameras – What is the big deal?

Photography How To: Camera VS Phone – What Should You Use?

Last year we went on a vacation and brought along our Canon Eos Rebel DSLR. I was happily snapping away during a particularly spectacular sunset when I overheard someone behind me telling her friend, “Why do people want to bring those big hulking cameras on a vacation?” She was implying that I was a dinosaur for using a “real” camera instead of their cell phone camera, like everyone else around me.

That gave me a lot to stew about. I guess I’m still stewing.

I seriously got  into filmmaking and photography over 40 years ago, so I am pretty sure I have a little deeper perspective on the subject than she does, and I’ve spent some time thinking about this issue.

I’ll tell you why I think there is a time and place for a “real camera” and a cell phone camera.

Shortly after that vacation experience I uploaded my photos to my Facebook page and received all kinds of praise and positive comments about my sunset photos. I’m really enjoying using my Canon and posting photos to Facebook, Trip Advisor and various blogs and websites, and I always get great feedback on my photos.

To me, there’s just no comparison between the quality of a snapshot taken on a cell phone and a photo from an 18 megapixel dedicated camera with a high quality lens, coupled with the knowledge of how to creatively use exposure, depth of field and composition to create a professional image.

I also use the photos I take in my videos so I want the highest quality I can get.

Now I recognize the convenience of a the cell phone camera. I use mine all the time. So I get that.

But that lady apparently didn’t appreciate that there are tradeoffs when you take your photos on a device also shoots videos, plays games, checks email, surfs the web, sends and receives texts, is a GPS and, oh yes… is a phone. There’s a reason you don’t see professional photographers shooting weddings, ads, magazine covers, wildlife photos, sports, news, etc. with a cell phone.

In my opinion, I wouldn’t dream of taking a trip or hard earned vacation WITHOUT my HDSLR.

Here’s a quick comparison of the pros and cons of using a dedicated camera and a smartphone or pocket camera:

Pros Of Using An HDSLR Camera

Besides the fact that you can shoot beautiful, film-like video footage, there’s a lot to like about these types of cameras.

High Definition Single Lens Reflex (HDSLR) cameras are incredibly low priced for what you get. People are shooting feature movies with $2,000 HDSLR cameras that look like they were shot on Panavision film cameras costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This is partly because of the large image sensors these cameras have. Some have sensors equal to 35mm film, the same as professional movie cameras. Whether used to shoot still images or videos, these large sensors create very high resolution images with a wide dynamic range and lots of data that can be creatively manipulated in post production.

These large sensors also mean they are better in low light. Most come with a powerful built in flash. I use fill flash almost all the time, even when shooting outdoors. You can also add accessories to them such as an accessory flash.

HDSLRs offer control over shutter speed, aperture and film speed, the essential components photographers have been using creatively to create stunning images since the dawn of photography. You can choose from a wide range of high quality lenses for any situation. Most of these cameras are mini-computers with very sophisticated processing options that far eclipse what you can do with a cell phone.

All of the above points were referring to digital SLR cameras. I have friends who still love to shoot film and slides. I’ve shot tens of thousands of photos and slides myself. I love the look of film. Kodak stopped making my beloved Kodachrome and most photographers are going digital, but whether film or digital, a dedicated camera offers more creative control, hands-down.

Cons Of HDSLR Cameras

As I’ve shared, I use the camera on my iPhone A LOT. I especially like to use it when I don’t want to carry around a large camera. It is convenient, while an HDSLR is bulky and conspicuous. Carry a few lenses with you and you’ll need a gadget bag, lens cleaning brush, extra batteries, etc. That can be a pain.

You can’t upload your images directly to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram directly from it. All it does is take a photo or video. Because the photos are so large, you probably have to resize them before sharing on the internet, and you’ll need a computer to do that.

Worst of all, you can’t make a phone call or send a text from it.

Pros of Smart Phones & Pocket Cameras

See a UFO or Sasquatch? Use your cellphone, by all means.

Most everyone carries their cell phones with them, so you always have a camera handy. Because of this you may be able to capture that once-in-a-lifetime photo that you can’t get any other way. Definitely an advantage.

Also, you can email and upload your photos and videos and share them immediately. There’s a great deal of power and convenience in that, no argument.

Cons of Smart Phones & Pocket Cameras

As I’ve mentioned, they generally lack the creative control over depth of field and motion that you get with shutter speed and aperture, and the smaller sensors are less sensitive in low light. They also don’t have the onboard image processing power that the HDSLRs offer. Most do not have a flash or only have a weak flash, at best.

My suggestion if you’re serious about taking outstanding photos and getting those once-in-a-lifetime shots is to invest and carry both!

Recommended Resources

EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm and 75-300mm Lenses Bundle – retails for $499 at B&H.

<EOS 7D Mark II DSLR Camera with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 STM Lens – At $1,849 (with lens), this is a powerful, professional camera. It is one of the more popular cameras among filmmakers. If your budget can justify it, this is the one I’d get.

(As you can see, I’m a Canon fan. Nothing against any other brand, I’ve just worked with Canon equipment most of my career.)

The Glif iPhone Tripod Stand – At $10, a must-have, in my opinion, if you want to do serious video and photography with your iPhone.

So, I’m curious.

Any other “dinosaurs” out there who carry around an HDSLR?

 

How To Make Your Book Cover Or DVD Stand Out

As I mentioned in my post on using photographs in your press releases, photographs are still very important today. Even with all the growth of online video and music, physical DVDs and CDs are still around and so is the need for the packaging art that comes with them.

One of our professionally designed DVD covers and discs

Videos are not the only way people are digesting information. There’s still the old-fashioned written word. You’re reading this aren’t you?

Photos can say so much, and you can’t put videos in books or on your CD or DVD covers.

If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you’ll notice that if we don’t have a video to share, we always include an image or two in our blog posts. Not only do they act as illustrations, statistics show that people will read and share your posts more when there are images. It may be the attraction to get you to read further.

The same is true with DVD, CD and book covers.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that is exactly what we do. The title and copy on the DVD or book are very important but having a good strong cover image will grab a person’s attention. That, along with the title, are what draws me to pick up a video or book I’ve never seen before. Do you find that true for you?

HowToMakeMoneyWithVideoeBook

Here’s an example of one of our eBooks

In the digital world, you want to do the same with your digital video downloads and eBooks. We’ve done testing on the eReader books we publish and found that adding a nice cover photo increased our sales dramatically. You also want to always include an enticing description as well.

Adding images to the reports you sell or giveaway takes them to a more professional level and it isn’t hard or expensive to do. Many stock photography sites like Dreamstime have a large collection of free images you may use. If one of those doesn’t appeal to you, spending a few more dollars will get you what you are looking for.

We use Photoshop to add titles and copy to make our eBook and DVD covers. If you don’t have access to Photoshop, another good option to use is Pixlr.com which is an open source free downloadable software.

If you’re going to self-publish a printed book or DVD, I strongly recommend hiring professionals to design your cover. That is one area where investing in your image will truly set you apart from the rest.