Try using larger photos for more impact

Webmaster Robin Sloan created a visually stunning design for, the news site presenting the work of recent college graduates who are Poynter’s summer fellows.

Points South features a much larger photo than most news Web sites would ever dare to run on their home pages. Friday’s picture and the ones that have come before it measure a whopping 600 pixels by 350 pixels, larger even than most news sites use in slide shows. I say this is “stunning” because photos of that size can frame their subjects within a large wide-angle view of the surroundings, rather than being limited to the tightly-cropped closeups news sites use to make pictures fit into confined spaces. A large photo also intrinsically has more impact than a smaller one.

The small picture sizes most news sites use limit photojournalistic possibilities, and that’s a shame. Someday, when everyone is using very large monitors, displaying large photos won’t be an issue. In the meantime, news sites could start using larger photos by simplifying their front page designs to promote fewer stories in the same space. (That’s a natural design for Points South because it only carries a few stories at a time). They could also start selectively serving larger images to visitors with larger monitors.

Even the classic reason not to use large pictures — awful download times for modem users — is less and less relevant as more and more people get broadband. We are seeing site redesigns to support larger ads — how about some redesigns to support larger photos?

POST A COMMENT on “Try using larger photos for more impact”

Your name: (optional)

Your site: (optional)

Comment: (only <a>, <em> and <strong> allowed)

This page last modified on Monday, May 2, 2005 at 1:11 pm