Alicja Colon

Photography for Websites

The topic of today's post comes from Siddharth's (@sidd82) tweet:

Custom Photography

“@FocusLabLLC Big fan here! Quick question: how do you approach photography for a website design project? Before, during or after? Salute!”

Honestly, it’s pretty crazy the array of shapes this question could take: are we crafting custom photography? having photography handed to us? or sourcing stock photography? Each direction has its own methods and outcome. Lucky for us, however, regardless of the source of the images the fundamentals of each step are the same.



For Focus Lab, we first start with defining the photography styles. As an extension of branding, photography styles define:

  • emotive messaging
  • subject directives
  • composition
  • lighting
  • color
  • post processing

Directions for primary images, such as hero or marketing materials, secondary images, and headshot styles are exclusive in a company’s brand photography styles.

“Photography styles create a canon to which we measure the level of an image’s fit with the brand strategy.”


Regardless if we’re crafting the image or selecting one from stock, in addition to photography styles we consider the ratio of the image and composition in relation to the overlaid CTA (Call to Action).

Sometimes hero images fill the entire screen, whereas other times it needs to be squat and long. Maybe the CTA is in the middle or the quote is on the left, negative space is needed for the copy to be neatly tucked within the image.

As you can imagine finding a stock photo that meets all the above criteria is a challenge. I’ve spent 8+ hrs finding stock photography for one project before. It can get hairy, for sure.


Once the images are gathered I pass them on to the designer for the final review. Though I have an understanding of the aesthetic and emotive direction - the designer has the best understanding of objective.

From there if it’s a stock image I’ll edit it based on the photography styles. If it’s an image I created from start to finish, the designer will crop, save for web, and pass on to the developer.


I’ve enjoyed summing up Focus Lab’s approach to photography for a web project. Got more in-depth questions feel free to tweet @MadeBySidecar to get your question in the queue.

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