If you’ve decided it’s time to revitalize your website with updated images, your next step is to find stock images, take them yourself, or hire a photographer.
Whether you’re finding free stock photos or taking new ones, the key to finding images that work for your website is just that: Find images that work for your website.
Not every photo you use will feature well-known photography composition guidelines, like symmetry and leading lines. When choosing new images for your website, consider these six elements of a good archery photo: size, background, expression, depth of field, storytelling, and rule of thirds.
Remember to take and upload your photos in the highest resolution possible. The ideal photo size for a website is usually around 800 pixels wide. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
Your website manager can tell you the ideal photo dimensions to fit the site’s layout. Once you know these dimensions, you can make a large photo smaller, but never make a small photo larger. Pixelated or blurry photos are immediate turn-offs.
Photos showing facial expression can liven up a photo tenfold. When people see others excited to try archery, they will become excited, too. Photo Credit: ATA
Expression in an image is more important than every element except the photo’s size. Face it: Even the best expressions are lost if the image is pixelated. Use pictures of people shooting archery, holding bows, pulling arrows, etc., and make sure everyone is smiling and having fun. A technically imperfect picture can be forgiven if the subject’s expression captures the viewer’s attention.
3. Depth of Field
Changing a photo's depth of field gives a photo a new look. This photo focses on the archer and the target rather than the spectator in the foreground. Photo Credit: ATA
A shallow depth of field lets you to focus only on the element you want to showcase, and blurs the rest of the image. Blur caused by a shallow depth of field isn’t the same as using an image that’s pixelated or blurry because of a shaky camera. In the image above, note that image focuses on the archer and puts the spectator out of focus. This picture would work as a stock photo on an archery website.
Photos tell your shop's story by showcasing your services and highlighting how you run your business. This photo, for instance, shows that you sell equiment, operate an archery range and potentially offer lessons and coaching. Photo Credit: ATA
Telling a story with images on your website is like showing what you want to sell. However, telling a story can highlight the subject’s emotion to engage the viewer. Showing what you want to sell would show youth archers lined up, holding bows, and aiming at targets while a coach with a friendly expression watches. Another photo story could be two young archers laughing and high-fiving, showing off a “Robin Hood,” or enjoying an archery party.
5. Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds usually adds interest to archery images when the archer is placed near an intersecting grid line. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo
This photography rule is probably one of the best-known and most used. The rule says to imagine your image divided into a grid of nine equal parts, and place the subject you want to highlight near one of the places the lines intersect. As with any rule, this one can be broken. However, the rule of thirds usually adds interest to archery images when the archer is placed near an intersecting grid line.
A plain background behind your subject matter brings out the details within your photo. The background above, for instance, clearly showcases each part of the bow in detail. Photo Credit: World Archery
Pay attention to what’s in the photo’s background. If you’re taking photos at your archery shop, rid the background of any trash or distractions that would draw the viewer’s eye from the main point of your photo.
Jerry Ghionis, a world-renowned wedding and portrait photographer, says: “If you don’t like it, crop it. If you can’t crop it, don’t shoot it.”
When you’re searching for stock photos to use, or taking archery photos, pay attention to the background. Crop out what you don’t like, move the camera or your subject to eliminate distractions. You might be surprised how easily a poorly placed deer antler, a pile of trash, or just one person looking the wrong way can distract from what you want to sell.
Having a professional-looking website and engaging social media is the first step you can make toward earning credibility as an archery business and attracting new customers. Today’s customers will research your company online before taking the next step and visiting your store, so it’s vital that your website and social media accurately reflect who you are, and the services and products you offer. For more tips about establishing your website and marketing your business, explore the ATA's Retail Growth Initiative, then contact Nicole Nash, ATA's member outreach manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.