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Stock photos vs. original photography

Stock photos vs. original photography

Photographs are an essential piece to a business's website.

They allow you to actually show what you do instead of your clients reading about it. For the typical end user, a visual portfolio has more impact than a well descriptive paragraph. With photos being so critical comes the question what kind of photos do you use? There are two answers to this question, either take your own photos or buy stock photos. Of these two answers, which one is better? Let's take a look...

Stock Photos

Stock photography is a common source for website graphics and it is easy to find photos that pertain to most any business via search options. Most popular stock photo websites include iStockPhoto, ShutterStock, and Fotolia among many others. Some of these sites are free and some of them have you buy credit for their photos, but they are all professional photos and there are a lot to choose from.

One problem with using stock photos is that anyone can use them.

Your business could end up with a photo that your competitor is using on their website. This makes your website seem unoriginal from using photos that your clients have already seen somewhere else.

This is a perfect example of Canonical and New Horizons using the same Stock Photograph. It's not the exact same picture, but the people (actors) are the same.

Yet there is nothing wrong with using stock photography, but it might be more beneficial to try to take your own or hire someone to take some for you.

Your Own Photos

Taking your own photos gives you the ability to create what you want your clients to see. It will be unique because you took it, so no one else will have it. Nicely said by D. A. Shaver "...these are pictures for a purpose; not for art". You need these photos on your website for a purpose, not to fill space on your website.

It's better for you to take control and find what you would like to be that purpose for your business and photograph it. Shaver's blog gives some great advice on how to take great pictures for you website. What if these photos don't turn out to look professional or anything like the stock photos?

Well there are many tutorials out there to help edit your photos to make them look professional. Some of them could take more time than others, but in the end it is worth it when you have a completely original website and photos.

Photo Retouching Tutorials

Useful Photoshop Tips And Tricks For Photo Retouching - By Smashing Magazine

Before and after adjusting the levels

This blog lists a number of tutorials including the example above which explains how to adjust the levels of the photo decrease color tints. This blog also includes a tutorial for adding natural increased light, changing skin tones, and reducing noise.

Photo Retouching Tips and Tricks in Photoshop - by Smashing Magazine

Another blog by Smashing Magazine lists even more touch up techniques like the example above, creating bright eyes with exposure. This blog also includes some tutorials on matching skin tones and defining colors.

35 Fantastic Photo Retouching Tutorials - by Noupe

This blog by Noupe gives some quick and easy tutorials to adjust your photos, including this tutorial on how to make your landscape photo less dull and boring. It also has a useful tutorial on how to reduce wrinkles as well as adding color to a black and white photo and how to reduce blemishes with the clone tool.


With these tutorials you can create original professional photos for your website. If you don't have the time to take these photos and to retouch them, stock photos are always an option. Just remember that there is a risk when buying stock photos -- someone else probably already bought it for their website. If you don't have the time, go ahead and use it. But if you do have time, we encourage you to take your own, unique and special images that will only be used on your website.

If you don't think that you can come up with your own creative photos, TBH Creative can help and provide an evaluation of your website with a web consultation.
Let's start talking

Don't overlook the importance of a custom 404 Page

Don't Overlook the Importance of a Custom 404 Page
Does this page look familiar?

This is a 404 Error page -- a user ends up on a page like this when they click on a broken link, a misspelled link, or a link that no longer exists. Users end up getting confused when they reach this page and could decide to just leave your company's website and move on to the next.

Search Engine Optimization: The first step is to do your homework

I want to be #1 in Google.

We understand. The problem is, so does your competition! Appearing at the top of major search engines like Google is not a simple process of adding keywords to your META tags like it once was. Source: Google Webmaster Central, Matt Cutts.

Google is sophisticated.
The people who work at Google are smart and have developed an algorithm that truly results the best websites for given keywords. How in the world do they do that? There are a lot of factors involved, and they are continually changing that 'algorithm' to ensure the results are good and that no one is cheating the system. We want Google to be this way though -- when you search for pizza, furniture, baby stores, consultants or whatever, you are happy that the results give you what you want. And so it all  begins...

Hiring: Experienced Web Professional in Indianapolis, Indiana (March 2011)

Position Title:
Web Professional (Experienced)

Job Description:
TBH Creative is hiring an experienced web professional. If you understand websites for business and a broad range of skills from code to graphics to social media, you might be a fit. This is an opportunity to utilize your experience and continue to grow your expertise.

  • 4-year college degree required.
  • BS in a technical or creative field preferred.
  • 2+ years of experience in web design or development role.
  • Proficient with Photoshop, HTML/CSS coding
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Highly organized and able to work concurrently with multiple projects.
  • Understands how to use Social Media and its benefits for business.
  • Recognizes what good web design is.
  • Quick learning of new things and changing technology.
  • Passion for high quality website work.
  • Highly motivated to learn more about building successful websites for businesses.
  • Comprehension of SEO techniques and strategies a plus.
  • .NET experience and programming skills a plus.
  • Flash or video editing experiences a plus.

Primary Responsibilities:
  • Page by page website work to increase effectiveness and performance of website.
  • Routine daily maintenance of existing sites and applications – from graphics to code.
  • Social media and online marketing assistance.
  • Run and learn to analyze Google Analytic and SEO reports.
  • Research of client competitors and reporting.
  • Content Management System training/support.
  • Formatting website pages.
  • Project specifications/requirements gathering as needed.

Daily Tasks:
  • Perform requested site maintenance as needed for various clients.
  • Design and coding on projects.
  • Research as it relates to Social Media – SEO – Google Analytics.
  • Take ownership of daily project needs and communications.
  • Communicate project status and deliverables with managers and clients.
  • Manage project tasks, timelines, and track/record time.
  • Other tasks as needed and related to online strategy.
  • Attend project meetings with team/clients.

Company Information:

TBH Creative is an energetic and reliable full-service web design company located in Indianapolis, Indiana. As we approach 10 years in business, our reputation and experience speak for themselves. Plain and simple... We design and build high-end web solutions for business.

Our office is located in Northeast side of Indianapolis near Castleton and Keystone Mall.

Compensation will be based on experience and/or expertise.

If you are interested in this position, please visit to apply and send samples of work to No phone calls, please.

IE6: To Test or Not To Test?

This is the question that plagues most web developers. IE6 has been around for 10 years now and I'm sure developers have been hating it for the past 5 years. Not everyone has moved on from IE6 even though Internet Explorer is pushing out IE9 (currently in Beta, but to be released sometime this year). IE6 doesn't support a lot of things and not to mention the amount of bugs that pop up while using it. It also is lacking security features, like privacy. It's so old it lacks many of the new features that appear in current web browsers today.

Subtle web design changes make a big difference

Subtle Web Design Changes Make a Big Difference
As a website designer, sometimes you have to take a step back and think to yourself, what would make this website stand out? What would make it special or unique? You could either decide that you've gone in the wrong direction and start from scratch or you could use techniques to create subtle changes to the design that really make a big difference.

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