Extras & Tools
Choosing Images For Your Site
Images to promote a product or service
Product images have a tough job to do. They are competing with our memories and expections of evaluating products in the flesh. For this reason, they need to provide us with as much of the sensory information that a two-dimensional image is capable of mustering as possible.
In real life, we can observe a product from multiple angles. Depending on its size and weight we can pick it up. With one grab for a tennis racket we can see how the grip feels, know the weight of it, pretend to serve and hear its swish. In short, we can interact with it. This helps us to visualize ourself using the product. Where clothes are concerned, we can try them on and see how they look on our body, with our weight, height, and coloring. We can examine the texture and feel of the material, see how it moves as we move. With food, we can inhale the aromas. With gadgets we can press the buttons. We can explore.
To mimic this behaviour in images alone is difficult, but here are some tips for achieving this:
- Use multiple images showing the product from multiple viewpoints
- Add close up images of products, or allow them to be viewed at a large size
- Show the product in the context in which it is likely to be used
- Be sure to include images of any variations in color and size etc.
Above: This example shows a quilt from a shop called Anthropologie. As you can see, little thumbnail images within the product description allow the visitor to view the quilt in a variety of ways.
Above: One of these viewpoints shows the quilt in situ on a bed.
Above: The large version of the image is very large indeed. This is helpful in order to evaluate different aspects of the product such as its quality and texture.
Above: With products that can be worn, it is very helpful to see real people actually wearing them. In this image for Boden we can see a range of their collection at a glance, and then explore further to see the garments in detail.
Above: This example is from a shop called Mungo & Maud, which sells upscale clothes and other products for dogs. It portrays the item being modelled which is important for any kind of attire, be it human, canine, or other.
Images to promote services are different. With images to promote services, the messages we need to portray are less material, less physical. They are more psychological. The user will be asking, "Can this company provide this service in a way that is reliable, capable, trustworthy?" They will be looking for reassurance. Below are some examples of images to promote services that send a positive message.
Above: Companies tend to focus on the best aspects of the services they provide. Note the example above for Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance. The photography featured on their website shows healthy, happy, vibrant people in the outdoors and not those who are sick or injured and cooped up in hospitals or waiting rooms.
Above: The homepage of the United States Postal Service features this image to complement its address redirection service. It shows a mother unpacking boxes and finding her child's teddy bear. I'm not sure moving house is always this relaxed, but this choice of photograph suggests that their service helps make a move more stress-free, and promotes feelings of safety and wellbeing, as well as confidence in the service that is being offered.