The Benefits of Good Photography in Web

By James Kwon

Whether you’re looking online or in a gallery (or an online gallery), good photography is definitely eye-catching. Excellent images can be mesmerizing and sometimes even moving. So when designing web sites, why do most people just skimp on photos and pass it off like it doesn’t matter? You may not realize it, but having good, hi-res photography on your website can really make a difference with your visitors and potential customers.


Sure, they employ the best photographers on the planet and send them to the most beautiful locations, but that’s their MO. Their whole brand is built on riveting photography that tells acaptivating story. Besides, how else are we supposed to learn about the drastic climate changes in Point Hope, Alaska, or the real face of Ebola in Sierra Leone? The point is that they rely on the stills as the main tool for communication instead of words. The intimate photos are what drive the emotions. You can really get a sense of how the people are feeling or what they are experiencing. And they do a great job of promoting it too. If you don’t follow Nat Geo’s Instagram, you should.


As the 2012 Summer Olympic Games were kicking off in London, Jack Klamar did a “shoddy” photoshoot with some of Team USA’s athletes. Once they were released, the feedback was not good. I don’t know if he was going to rely on a lot of editing in Photoshop afterwards, but the lighting was all wrong; the shots came out dark; compositionally, the angles were weird; he had the athletes in awkward poses, along with other glaring mistakes. Even though they weren’t used for messaging for a website per se, Klamar was highly criticized for the shoot and some people referred to it as an “embarrassment to the country.” Either way, poor decision making (and just overall bad photography) got in the way of compellingly telling the athletes’ stories as they represented the country in their quest for gold.


Other than photojournalism, no industry or type of website relies more heavily on good images than ecommerce sites. Images have a direct influence on whether people buy online or not and good product shots can really set yourself apart from the competition. Let’s take a look at the big companies for a minute. Stores like Macy’s, Target, and Old Navy look like they have invested time and money trying to show off their inventory. Macy’s allows you to zoom in extremely close to really check out the fabric of the clothing; Target does a nice job with the exposure and color in their shots; and Old Navy’s lifestyle photos really captivate the shopper and make them feel like they are really there while still making the clothes the main focus.

On the other hand, a huge company like Walmart seems not to worry as much about showing off what they are selling as the others. I don’t know if it’s that the amount of products they sell is too great to control the quality of images, or they rely more on the sale prices to really drive the consumer, but for a company that size that does as much in online sales as they do, they really seem to just phone it in with the product photos. They look almost user-submitted with the sub-par lighting and coloring; they’re taken too far away so you don’t get any good close up shots; and some of the isolated whiteshots are kind of awkward where the items are just floating. Additionally, they upload just one static size of the photo so you can’t zoom in to get a good look of what you are buying. Being one of the largest companies in the country, maybe Walmart doesn’t really need to worry about good photography, but it doesn’t lead to a good user experience.

Compelling photos should lead to repeat visits, and just makes for a great online shopping experience while building trust in the brand. Don’t you want your customers to trust you? Some other smaller brands that invested in their online presence also include:

BEO Play

Harry’s Shaving Products


The Munchery


So if you’re thinking about getting your company off the ground or have a garage (or warehouse) full of unsold inventory, contact Figmints. We can help you tell your story through photo, video, web and branding to propel your business ahead of your competition.