Armed with basic information and an ultimate goal, the design process can be viewed as a journey without a map. Along the way new ideas are gathered, guiding the designer toward the end goal.
Imagery can create a huge impact on your website. It can either draw users in, or repel them. A simple image can convey the values, personality/attitude and culture of the person, business or organization behind the site. Ideally, custom photography will showcase exactly what you are trying to promote. However, that can be cost-prohibitive. For the rest of us, there is stock photography.