Making Website Imagery Count

Andrew Yang
by Andrew Yang 18 May, 2017

Visual tastes are so sophisticated today that stale corporate imagery or overuse of stock photography can mean a potential customer will never read your message. The great news is, technology is on our side. It's easier -- and more affordable -- than ever to source high quality, even custom images that can help you elevate your brand and convert.

For an example of how quality images can turn browsers into buyers, let's take a look at the travel industry. A simple custom imagery upgrade can improve click-through rates for even historically less well-known destinations (think Slovenia) bringing them close to click-through rates for popular travel destinations like England and California. Through testing, one company found that original 360-degree images increased time on site by up to 34 percent. Another found Asia-based customers responded best to bird's eye views of city skylines, while Americans prefer quiet neighborhood shots. Therefore, they are able to deliver the right imagery to the right audience.

The above examples come directly from an exciting new frontier of photography, a burgeoning industry called "photography-on-demand." In order to do repeated testing of what works, marketers need a constant supply of fresh imagery, but until now, refreshing original brand imagery more than seasonally was untenable. With photography-on-demand, business can find and hire photographers, locally or internationally, quickly and easily. Depending on the scope of your project, photography-on-demand currently has two main flavors: self-service or custom-on-demand. Here is how each works.

Self-Service Directories: Do you just need one or two photographers locally? Easy. There are now several international directories that function like photographer matchmaking services. Look for one that allows you to search people by location and specialty. Then check portfolios, references, fee structures and make sure you are aligned on creative vision before signing the photographer.

Custom-on-Demand Photography: If your needs are more complex (e.g., you have multi-city or country shoot needs, or your business needs on-brand executive bio pictures and front-of-office shots in 10 cities across the country), investigate several photography-on-demand services and ask about their processes. Brands like Airbnb, Lonely Planet, Google and others have been on the forefront of using such services to access skilled photographers without hiring each individually. Thus, they get multiple shoots far more affordably than hiring multiple photographers or flying one photographer around the country or world.

Interview companies that can take your creative brief and quickly find you 10, 20, or 100 or more quality photographers in multiple locations to deliver the images you need in a dashboard or portal where you and your whole team can quickly choose the best ones to test against your audience.

Your imagery is your business. Make it count.

About the Author

Andy Yang is CEO of 500px,a premium photography community funded by Andreessen Horowitz, Harrison, Metal and ffVC. Launched in 2009, 500px is a global online photography community and the world's foremost photography on-demand platform. Images on 500px represent the work of over nine million professional and hobbyist photographers. Through 500px for Business, 500px works with Fortune 50 companies as well as thousands of creatives who use community-sourced images in their campaigns and products. Previously, Yang was an investor at Extreme Startups and a venture capitalist at Relay Ventures.