The Power and Effectiveness of Photography in UI Design

Photography has always been a powerful tool for capturing emotions, experiences, and moments. From black and white photography to drone photography, the photographic medium has evolved and blended with other visual mediums, especially in the field of UI design. Incorporating exceptional photography in UI design is an effective way to convey emotions and create an immersive experience for the user.

Why is photography powerful in UI design?

Photography helps designers to convey an emotion or tell a story. When done tactfully, photography can provide a sense of the product or service being offered. It often works as a primary anchor of the design, making the design feel more human and appealing. One example is the website for food delivery service DoorDash. The pictures of delicious food make the customer crave food and order from the platform.

Types of photography used in UI design

There are different types of photography UI designers can use in their projects. The most common types are:

  1. Product Photography – Photos taken with high-quality cameras that focus on the product being sold. These can range from clothing to tech gadgets.
  2. Candid Photography – Photos taken to give users the sense that they are in the moment, part of real-life experiences.
  3. Lifestyle Photography – Photos taken to capture and create an emotional connection between the user and the service/product. These can be used for portfolio websites, hotel booking websites
  4. Nature Photography – These photos are excellent for creating a calming effect and are commonly used in meditation app designs.

How to use photography in UI design

There are a few points that can be considered when implementing photography in your UI design:

  • Quality: Ensure that the images are of high quality and that your site won’t slow down because of large image sizes.
  • Relevance: Use photos that relate to your theme and product. For instance, if you sell makeup, you could use photos of people using your products.
  • Match the Mood: The photos you use should create the desired emotions at different steps of the customer journey. Amex uses photos of travelers in scenic destinations to create a sense of freedom and excitement.
  • Avoid Clichés: Overused stock photos can harm your credibility, instead use unique and original content that fits your brand.

Free Stock Photography Sites

Finding quality photography that won’t break the bank can be challenging, but not impossible. Here is a list of some websites to get free high-quality stock photos:– a free stock photo website with a vast collection of high-quality images.

  • Pexels: Offers a searchable database of thousands of photos.
  • Unsplash: One of the biggest free stock photo sites. New photos added every day.
  • Freepik: Features free vectors, icons, and photos.
  • Burst: A free stock photo site run by Shopify, ideal for ecommerce businesses.


Using photography in UI design can help create a strong emotional connection between a brand and its audience. It’s a tool that can evoke emotions and create stories. However, it should be done with care, ensuring that the photos are relevant and of high quality. Make use of free stock photo websites to save money, or hire a photographer to get unique and original content.

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