Although visuals might not seem like the most important part of a website, they play a significant role in how the audience perceives content. According to Top Design Firms, 40% of consumers value images and color the most when viewing a company’s website.
Images for website design make a site look more visually appealing, help captivate an audience’s attention, and enhance the text content, adding depth to it. To achieve these results, you only have to do two things: select the right images and optimize them for better website performance. Read on to find out how!
How to pick photos for website design
Before choosing the right visuals for your website, you need to know where to look. The best option is usually stock content websites. They offer you a variety of high-quality illustrations and photos for web design that are ready to use and require little to no editing.
Images on these websites are royalty-free. Sure, some types of licenses provide more flexibility than others, and therefore, it’s important to always read the conditions of using a particular license. However, you can be sure that when you download visuals from image stocks and use them for personal or commercial purposes without trying to sell them, you are safe from legal issues.
As for selling—some licenses allow this too, but you usually have to pay an extra fee and modify images, e.g., crop a part of the photo and use it in a collage.
Where to find high-quality images
Since 2009, the Depositphotos stock content marketplace has been helping companies and individuals find trendy photos, vectors, illustrations, animations, 3D graphics, and other web design pictures. The platform features 230+ million royalty-free visual and audio files, including 70,000 free-to-download photos and videos.
In addition to a royalty-free license, Depositphotos offers an Extended license that allows you to sell your products using visuals downloaded from the platform. To quickly find needed images, you can browse trendy collections and thematic categories carefully put together by Depositphotos content curators. Moreover, the advanced search filters, including search by image, location, color, or number of people allow you to find specific HD pictures in the library in a few clicks. You can check it at Depositphotos
Unsplash offers a variety of photos for website design, taken by professional photographers in different corners of the world. The pictures are eye-catching, authentic, and completely free. The Unsplash license allows you to download and use visuals without attribution for personal and commercial purposes. And if you like the work of a particular photographer, you can always contact them and offer to start a project together, or create visuals specifically for your design. However, the Unsplash library is smaller compared to other image stocks; it only offers over 2 million photos, which means you might not find the visuals you are looking for.
The Pixabay stock content platform offers free royalty-free photos, vectors, and illustrations available for commercial and non-commercial use. Although there are no specific collections to help you pick images for the right occasion, you can still filter them by color, orientation, size, and type. When using Pixabay photos in your creative projects, no attribution is required.
Which file format to choose
Paying attention to the file format when choosing pics for website design could save you from a lot of trouble later. Some formats can be easily scaled without noticeable quality loss, while others become blurry. Some preserve the original coloring and brightness, while others support fewer colors.
Nonetheless, there are no good or bad formats. Each one can be a perfect option, depending on your needs and goals. Here are the most commonly used file formats:
- JPEG. Images and photos are often saved in JPEG because this format is perfect for color preservation. However, it’s not the best option if you aim for good scalability, as such pictures lose their quality when compressed. JPEGs also don’t support image transparency.
- PNG. This format supports transparency, which is great for logos and websites: you can add effects like shadows and even round the edges of images. PNG is suitable for photos, graphics, and texts. This format has two types: PNG-8, which supports fewer colors—256 max, and PNG-24, which supports an unlimited number of colors.
- GIF. Most animations are saved in this format. However, it supports fewer colors than other formats, so it’s not the best fit for bright and colorful images.
- SVG. This format has the best scalability. You can compress it to a tiny size without quality loss and enlarge it without any problems. SVGs can also be animated and are generally the best fit for websites with adaptive layouts.
How to optimize an image for a website
Image optimization can significantly boost your website’s performance and ensure that the users will have no trouble viewing the visuals you’ve used.
To optimize your visuals for web usage, you have to resize the images and compress the files if necessary. Make sure that the size of all pictures is the same. For instance, 5,000 pixels wide might be too much for a website page, but resizing an image to 2,000 pixels or less could reduce its digital weight, and it will look good or fit your design. You can compress the files in two ways:
- Manually in Photoshop. Open your file in the program, choose to Save For Web, and adjust the quality of an image. However, make sure the quality is no less than 60%.
- Automatically with the help of smart online compression tools. TinyPNG, CompressJPEG, and other programs allow you to reduce the size of your visuals online quickly. Simply upload your image to the program, wait until the tool automatically compresses it, and then save it to your device for further use.
Moreover, you can optimize your visuals using a free AI-powered Image Upscaler and Free Background Remover. The Depositphotos platform features handy, web-based tools for upscaling your pictures and eliminating their backgrounds. The upscaler not only doubles the image size, but also enhances the photo quality and resolution by brightening colors, sharpening details, and reducing noise. Background eraser offers an automatic BG removal process and editing brushes for adjusting your final transparent images.
To sum up
If you want to use high-quality images for web design without any licensing issues, turn to trustworthy online stock content libraries. They provide different types of images: photos, vectors, illustrations, and many other appealing visuals that could enhance your content. To avoid problems with scalability, quality loss, and slow webpage loading speed, pay attention to the formats of the images you use. Some of them require little or no optimization already. However, some have to be optimized either manually in Photoshop, or with the help of online image compressors, upscalers, or background removers.