Real Estate Marketing Academy

[Video] Marketing Academy Secrets: How to Choose the Right Photos for Your Website

By Seth Price

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In the third episode of our “Marketing Academy Secrets” series, we reveal some best practices for choosing and editing photos for your real estate website.

The Web is a visual medium, and the better the photography and the more compelling the images on your website, the more likely it is that you’re going to convert your site’s visitors. The challenge that people have when setting up a website is how to get really good images without spending lots of money. Fortunately, we have lots of tools at our disposal. And even at its worst, your smartphone — at least at a high resolution — can give you a decent photo to start with.

The first thing to do is to think about the library of digital images that you have. You probably have many beautiful images of your geographic location. Cull through those and pick out the top five or ten that best capture the mood or tone of your business. You’ll want to make sure that the resolution is at least 75 DPI (dots per inch), but preferably it should be higher. You’ll also want to make sure the width of your image is at least the width of the layout of your website. Typically that can be anywhere from 600 pixels wide to 976 pixels wide, sometimes wider — up to 1200 — but generally not wider than that.

When you have images that are OK…they have a high enough resolution, but they’re not necessarily compelling, try using an online tool like PicMonkey. It’s a free online photo editor. Let’s say you have a photo with nice scenery, but maybe the color doesn’t pop. With PicMonkey, you can put a tint over the photo (or add a little glow) and then put text over it. For example, if you were based in Phoenix, you could take a picture of the desert, add a tint, and put the word “Explore” on top. We actually did just that, using PicMonkey, when we set up our Phoenix theme. We took some royalty-free images, added a tint to them, and then we added a text overlay. It’s a really nice way to create a compelling message as well as a unique image.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/placester-wordpress/blogs.dir/4307/files/2013/07/Painted_Desert_badlands_Tawa_PointFineTooth-Beautiful-250310.jpg

You always want to make sure that your images are royalty-free. So, don’t go to someone else’s site and download their images (it’s illegal!). You really want to have the rights to use images and you also want to be unique. So, take your own photos or search for “royalty-free” or “Creative Commons” images. Definitely read the fine print and make sure that you actually get the rights to use images on your website. I personally suggest taking lots of photos and, if you’re working in a higher-end market or you have the budget, hire a professional photographer. Really take the time and the resources to do something that’s just outstanding for your business. Remember: Every time a new visitor comes to your site, they remember that first glimpse. If it’s interesting at all, they’re going to continue. If not, they’re going to leave, and that’s the last thing you want to have happen on your website.

Another important thing to remember is that your photos and images should always be cropped to the right sizes for the containers they’re going in. Containers are web design elements that images fit into, whether they’re thumbnails, portraits, blog post images, or header images. You always want to make sure that your images fit in those containers perfectly. If they don’t, your website will think that it has to crop the images for you and you’ll end up with something that’s not as visually appealing. So, there are a few tools that you can use. Preview on a Mac is great. You can also use some web tools. Picasa, for example, has some really great photo-editing functionality. And remember: Always match an image’s pixel dimensions (width and height) to the dimensions of its container so that it shows up exactly how you want it on your website.

Do you have any website photo tips, tricks, or best practices that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

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