The Right Therapist Stock Photo: How to Choose the Best Images for Your Website
Do the photos on your website add to the professionalism of your brand?
Do they attract your visitors and add value, elevating your content?
Do they encourage your potential and current clients to feel included and “at home”? Like you’re speaking to them directly and in a kind manner?
All websites need photos, or more importantly, all websites need the right images. And therein lies the problem: How can you find authentic and original photographs that tell a story without spending a fortune?
In short, how can you find a therapist stock photo — or many — that suits your brand and builds rapport?
That’s a great question, and what this post is all about.
The benefits of using stock images on your therapist’s website
A good stock photo should not be there simply for a splash of color or to break up the text. It should distill a feeling of calm and compassion, speak to and comfort your ideal clients, promote the perception of professionalism and positive mental health, and be relevant. So, while you could use generic, easy-to-find images of sunsets, flowers, waterways, and night skies, the photos you choose need to be purposeful.
Remember, every image says something about you; it’s essential to make wise choices.
Shortly, we’ll share excellent sites where you can access stunning copyright-free, complimentary images that work perfectly as a therapist stock photo.
But before we do, consider why you should use pictures. There are pros and cons that stock images can bring. Adding the right photos on your practice website has various benefits. Let’s look at 4.
Enhances visual appeal
When you add the wow factor to your site with high-quality images, people assume this mimics your practice. Premium images infer a premium practice. Remember, people do judge a book by its cover.
Quality, relevant images also attract visitors and make your site more engaging. An aesthetically pleasing site creates positive first and repeat impressions, encouraging greater exploration of your site and services.
Provides insights into your approach and practice
Photos play a vital role in shaping visitors’ perceptions. They give people visual cues about your practice, professionalism, compassion, approachability, and inclusivity.
Visitors will understand that your practice is inclusive and welcoming if you feature images of a diverse range of people — ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities, and shapes and sizes. Choose pictures that align with your practice’s values and the message you want to convey to your potential clients.
If you share photos with a calming atmosphere, soothing colors, gentle lighting, and plants or nature-themed artwork, people will feel safer than images of a sterile, clinical setting.
Because of the two benefits above, photos contribute to building rapport with potential clients. Visitors who see calming and professional images get a sense of the people behind the practice.
This humanizes your therapy practice and establishes trust — a crucial element in therapist-client relationships.
Boosts search engine optimization
While it may not be your first thought, using photos effectively on your website — yes, including a stock photo (or many) — is a valuable way to boost search engine optimization (SEO).
We explore this in detail in our article, How To Optimize Images for SEO and Boost Your Website. We recommend the read.
The disadvantages of using stock photos on your therapist’s website
As you can see, the advantages of using stock photos are broad. But there are two potential downsides: a lack of uniqueness and the possibility of creating a disconnect with your visitors. Let’s take a look at each.
Lack of uniqueness
Stock photos offer an easy, cost-effective solution. That’s why businesses use them! This can lead to a lack of uniqueness.
Since stock photos are available to everyone, there’s a chance the images you choose are used on numerous other websites, including those of your competitors. This may make your website look generic and fail to stand out in a crowded digital space.
Can create a disconnect with your visitors
We, humans, are intuitively able to detect inauthenticity. We’re hard-wired to notice and react. That’s a problem because many stock photos scream faux. An authentic, genuine approach is essential in any therapy session. Triggering alarm bells is — to say the least — unhelpful.
How can you remedy this potential problem?
Avoid impersonal, overly polished, or staged photos. If you’re considering using a particular stock photo, ask yourself: Does this feel authentic? If it doesn’t, find another one. Trust your gut: it knows.
Seek pictures that accurately represent the real-life experiences and diversity of your clients.
Consider the narrative an image tells about your practice, values, or clients’ experience in a therapy session. Choose only images you feel resonate with your potential clients; those that enhance a sense of understanding and trust in your services.
How can you tackle these problems?
Customize a stock photo or two
Consider altering the stock photos you use. You can add filters, crop them uniquely, or merge multiple images to create a fresh look. Canva is a powerful tool that helps you do this effortlessly. It has free and paid membership options.
Mix and match
Blend stock photos with original content. This could include pictures of your practice, team, or local landmarks.
Don’t opt for the first picture you see on a stock photo site. Search for unique images that match your brand and express what you wish to say.
Some stock photo platforms provide data about the number of times an image has been downloaded. So long as the image suits your needs, choose less popular images for your therapy practice.
Use illustrations or graphics
You can choose or create customized illustrations or graphics instead of photographs. These can be engaging and offer more outstanding originality. Yes, pictures and graphics are available on stock platforms. Just ensure they match your branding.
The right therapist stock photo: Where to find fantastic images for your website
You’re ready to take your therapy website up a notch. To find photos that move the needle forward. Where do you begin? And how much does it cost? The answers are below (and yes, there are plenty of cost-free and royalty-free options!)
Reputable paid stock photo websites
Vast online platforms offer an extensive collection of stock photos. Some of the most reputable ones include:
Known for its diverse range of high-quality images (hundreds of millions, in fact!), Shutterstock is a popular choice. As they claim, “If it’s in your head, it’s on Shutterstock.”
They have various payment options, from one-off packs to subscription plans. They also have standard and enhanced licenses.
Owned by Getty Images, iStock has an extensive collection that makes it easy to find a relevant stock photo for your website.
They provide both budget-friendly and premium options. Choose the quality you need, small, medium, or large, or whether you want a single image, a pack, or an annual plan.
DepositPhotos is a go-to resource for many businesses. Their mission is “to help you push your ideas forward.”
Their payment structures are flexible, with options for pay-as-you-go image packs or subscription plans for more frequent users. They also offer both standard and extended licenses depending on your needs.
Well-loved free stock photo websites
Amazingly, there is also a range of platforms that offer royalty free and cost-free images. Beautiful photos, no less! Let’s take a look.
A crowd favorite, Unsplash offers over three million curated, high-resolution photos contributed by photographers worldwide for free. Yes, including for commercial use.
There are “photos for everyone.”
Tip: They also offer a low-cost membership called Unsplash+ that includes members-only content that is added monthly.
Pixabay provides many choices, with over four million available stock images (videos and music).
This platform allows users to share its images for free without needing to give attribution to the producer, though you can. You can also tip the image provider if you wish.
All the photos shared on Nappy are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. That means you can download pictures, alter them, and share them for free.
But Nappy has an essential point of difference. They say, “We launched Nappy to provide beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people… Nappy makes it easy for companies to be purposeful about representation in their designs, presentations, and advertisements.”
These platforms (and more) make finding the right therapist stock photo easier to elevate your site, heighten your perceived professionalism, and connect more deeply with your visitors. Just make sure you double-check the stock photo and platform’s rules and abide by them.
The stock photo takeaway
The right images do more than add a splash of color or break up text. They enhance visual appeal, provide insights into your practice, promote inclusivity and understanding, help establish rapport with potential clients, and boost your search engine optimization.
So, the photos you choose determine, in part, how your visitors engage with your site and your practice. Yes, they’re that important!
With that in mind, remember that careful photo selection and customization are critical to using stock images effectively. Aim for authentic representation and diversity in your choices, and align the images with your practice’s values and message.
Enjoy the creative process!
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