Are you looking to create a compelling online presence? Incorporating beautiful and evocative images into your website and social media posts can be a wonderful way to connect with your audience; by conveying emotion, showing what you do, improving your user’s experience and helping to tell a visual story about you and your work. But when we’re starting out, we’re new to website creation, there are some important factors of which to take account. I have written this guide, because I made so many mistakes when I started out in designing websites and creating images for advertising and social media.

Finding Free Images

  1. Your Own Art / Images

So a great source of art work for your website can be your own, Photographs that you have taken, art work that you have done, pictures of you making art.

  1. Your Client’s Art

Taking photos of groups and/or the artwork of individuals to share or use to promote your service is also possible. BUT please ensure you have the clear and preferably written permission of your clients to share their art and them.

  1. Royalty Free and Low Cost Stock Images

So finding other people’s images can really add something to your website, ebook or social media post. Canva has made this process so much easier, offering photos, graphics, gifs and videos to jazz up your presence. You can search images, resize them and add effects all in the one program. Just remember that if you choose to create a product that you want to “sell” like a book, under Canva T&C’s this needs to be free images, not ones available under the paid program called Pro. However, we do get tired of seeing the same images that appear when you search for art therapy, so investigating other sources of stock images is an idea. You need to look for “royalty free images”. This means that you don’t have to buy a licence to use the image. Some places where I have found great free images for my work are Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay offer a treasure trove of images on various topics. There are other sites as well. Just search for “Free royalty-free stock images”.

  1. Artificial Intelligence Images

Now we have the option to use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to create very specific images. The most popular site is Midjourney. It takes a bit of work to learn how to navigate the site and write prompts that will give you the look and feel that you are after. But it is an exciting new way to create your own artworks for social media and websites and promotion. Here’s one that I created using Midjourney. It can be hard to find good therapy images or even creative images with older people so AI is filling that gap.

woman sitting at a desk painting

Choosing Images – Tip When selecting the images for inclusion, make sure they are relevant to the content, enhance the story and add values to the client’s / user’s experience of your website. Sometimes, you will add images that are purely decorative but make this a deliberate choice. Preparing your Images before you upload them It is imperative that you prepare your images before you upload them to your website or social media or add them to your promotional material.

  1. Sizing the Image Correctly

Canva has made life so much easier when designing posts for social media. They have templates for all types of social media posts. But when it comes to websites, there are different sizes for different parts of your website. Whether it’s a banner, a blog post image, or images used to illustrate your about page and services page. Check the recommended dimensions and resize your image for the purpose. This is usually expressed in pixels. I have created a worksheet that I use for keeping track of the image sizes that are needed for my website. It is such a time saver.

If you are creating new images in Midjourney, you can set the aspect ration which will make resizing much easier.

Image Resolution

When you plan to print your image on paper, the higher the resolution the better. This guarantees the quality of the printed image. It is recommended that images for your website be saved as 72dpi because lower resolution is acceptable for the web. But when preparing images for print, you need a much higher quality such as 300dpi. I tend to save everything at a higher resolution and then compress the image file size to improve loading times.

  1. Mastering Image Compression

The speed at which your website loads will be affected by the size of your images. If you upload huge files, they will take a long time to load. So I run all my images through Tinyjgp to reduce the file size without compromising the quality of the picture.

  1. Image Names

Before you upload to your website, ensure that you have named the image in a way that the search engines can understand what it is. So rather than uploading something called “IMG12345.jpg.”, rename it to something descriptive and relevant such as “art-therapy-materials.jpg”. Once uploaded, what do you need to remember

  1. The Power of Alt Text

Alt text, or alternative text, is a key component of website accessibility. It provides a text description of an image for people who are using a readers describe the image or it will pop up when the image can’t be displayed. Keep your alt text concise yet accurate. For instance, if you have an image of a person painting in an art therapy session, your alt text could be “Person painting in an art therapy session.”

  1. Uploading and Placing Images

Now that your images are ready, it’s time to add them to your website. Be thoughtful about where you place your images; they should complement your content and enhance the overall user experience.

  1. Image Attribution and Mobile Optimization

If you’re using images that require attribution, make sure to credit the source on your website. Additionally, don’t forget to test your website’s appearance on mobile devices to ensure that your images scale properly for a seamless mobile experience. Social Media Images When using images on social media, sizing is critical to ensure it fits the site’s post type, as is attribution if you know the source of the image. However,  compression isn’t as important, as the social media sites must adjust for all the image types. So now your ready to start preparing images for your website. Can’t wait to see what you create.

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