Stock photos have been and likely will always be an integral part of web design. Specifically in landing pages, stock photos are of particular importance, often used to help explain a product or service and provoke an emotional reaction from the visitor. The multitude of ways that designers choose to apply photography is incredibly varied, and relies greatly on authentic, high quality stock imagery.
There are some clear trends emerging when it comes to selecting and implementing stock photography in landing page designs. In an era where there is such great variety of high quality stock image options, designers are finding more unique and exciting ways to utilise them in their landing page designs.
In this article, we are going to analyse the latest trends around stock photos in landing pages which look set to continue through the rest of the year and into the future.
Transparent backgrounds in landing pages has risen to prominence, adding a unique and dynamic feel to the design. It allows images to provide beautiful, clean contrast against a multitude of different background colors and designs.
The transparency applied in the above example allows the photography to remain prominent, without dominating the entire hero section. The background and overlapping pattern elements combine excellently with the transparent background photography and complete a polished hero design.
Minimal imagery is incredibly effective when implemented with care. So much can be achieved through lighting, focus, and space.
The above landing page example from TEDx uses minimal editing to create a black and white photograph with great contrast and an illuminating splash of color. The attention is drawn to the lady’s face immediately and the expression of her engaged in delivering a talk. A busier stock photo with a background and explosion of color would distract from this and lose its effectiveness.
Muted color photographs operate in a very similar fashion to minimal photographs, whereby the lack of bright dominant colors allows for the focus to be retained on the items in the foreground. Muted colors offer a more relaxed version of the sometimes stark minimalist photography trend, and allow for a greater sense of positivity and carry-through of branding colors.
The trend is becoming more and more prominent, particularly in fashion industry landing pages where they are able to contrast with apparel products with great effect.
Emotional imagery is very much a product of user experience experts and research into the psychological effects of including such photographs, and measuring the impact it has on conversion rates. When a user sees a photo such as above, detailing the emotion of getting the keys to a new apartment, they often can’t help but to connect with that positive reaction and become more inclined to further explore what the platform has to offer.
This trend looks set to continue for a long period as user experience designers continue to push for the importance of such elements in landing pages.
Authentic representations of people
Authentic representations of people in landing page imagery is now extremely important. Where once, stock photography looked like this (see below), companies are now looking to provide a more accurate representation of users – someone prospective users can relate to.
Many landing page designers now look for imagery that looks real, non-generic, and is not edited to the point where it looks entirely unrealistic. Natural backgrounds, diversity of subjects, and natural emotions are important aspects to consider in achieving such authenticity.
Spacing in landing page design photography, particularly around the hero section, has progressed considerably since designers began adding text over imagery. By ensuring careful placement of the stock photos and their contents, the combination with text can be highly effective and offer excellent contrast, as in the example above.
The colors also play a large part in achieving results with this trend, allowing for the typography and photo backgrounds to blend seamlessly while remaining on-brand and maintaining a high level of readability.
Symmetry is a lesser developed stock photo trend in landing page design. Still in its infancy, it entails using expansive, balanced photography, roughly reflecting at the midway point. It can achieve some remarkable effects; structure and balance in particular. The uniformity the trend can add to a landing page can be extremely pleasing from a visual standpoint, and create some interesting effects when applied in combination with branding elements and typography, as Jetty has done in their implementation.
Stock photos look set to continue as an integral part of modern web and landing page design. As more high quality stock imagery continues to make its way to designers, the ways in which they creatively apply it will continue to develop alongside the forefront of web design trends.