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This is a headshot of Jillian McBurney.

Here at REM I am surrounded by websites on a day to day basis.  Because of this I understand how important it is for businesses to use clear and appropriate images that are well composed, on their website.

This blog is going to be a 3 part series.  First I’ll discuss the importance of clear and bright images, next month I will discuss composition and the following month I will discuss the value of choosing the proper images for your site.

Clear & Bright

All images on your site should be clear and bright.  This seems like an obvious statement however many sites that I come across are using images that are blurry or dark or both.  Ideally, every company should either use stock photos, images provided by a supplier (which are often professionally photographed) or photographs taken by a professional photographer that they have hired directly.  This isn’t always possible and most of the time I imagine it is because a budget hasn’t been set aside for it.

Below are some common areas that I see poor image quality and some strong reasons to upgrade these images.

Product Shots:

Whether you are selling products such as jams and preserves or jewelry, or whether you are marketing your services such as decorating or tattoo artistry, if your images are dark, murky and distorted, they will not showcase your products or skill adequately.  This could result in a loss of sales.

Staff Photos:

I believe that corporate images that are bright and clear make people look more approachable.  If your staff photos are dull and shadowy, it may make your staff look unfriendly and unprofessional.  This could also result in a loss of business.

As I mentioned above, the best way to go is to hire a professional photographer since they will have the skill and equipment to do the job right.  If you choose not to hire a photographer, here are some tips on how to avoid dark and blurry photos.


  1. Don’t use your cell phone to take photos for your website.
  2. Don’t enlarge images past their original size.  For example, if the size of your image when you first download it from your camera is 640 x 422, do not resize your image to 800 x 528.  Doing this could cause your images to look pixelated and blurry.
  3. When resizing your image, be aware of the aspect ratio.  Most photo editing programs will automatically fill in the width of an image if you provide the height or vice versa.  If your photo editing program does not do this, look for an aspect ratio calculator on line or switch to a program that does do the calculation for you.  Images that are not properly proportioned will look distorted; either too tall and skinny or too short and stalky.
  4. Turn on the lights.  Turn on as many lights as possible and open up the curtains to allow more light into the room that you are photographing in.  If possible, have your subject face the window.  Or place your product on a surface facing the window and take the picture.  Using natural light is typically more even and more flattering than interior lighting and flashes on most point-and-shoot cameras.
  5. Use a tripod.  If you can, use a tripod to hold your camera.  This will prevent a blurry image, especially if the camera is using a slower shutter speed.
  6. Don’t get too close to your subject.  If your camera doesn’t have the capability to take close up photos, it is best to stay back.  You can always follow up by cropping out your surroundings with the aid of a photo editing program.  It will require a bit more work but at least your photos will be clear.

The images used on your website will reflect the quality, attention to detail, professionalism and service that your company provides.  Website images should not be dismissed and taken lightly.  Some people believe, “Pictures speak louder than words.”  What do your images say about your company?


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