“Above the fold, if you want it sold” is an old phrasing that still is relevant. The most important space on your website is above the fold. That’s where you put the most important stuff.
What baffles me with the current design trends is the over use of hero images. Beautiful photos covering up the most important space with nothingness.
Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and it’s modern and responsive. But it’s not good web design, it’s art. You cannot defend a design choice by saying it looks pretty or fantastic, because that’s highly subjective and another person might hate that photo you loved so much.
Web design is about shaping content and structure in such a way that it’s neat and unobtrusive for the end user.
“Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold.”
— Nielsen Norman Group
It doesn’t support the business needs
The business is about selling a product or a service, and if that product or service isn’t about displaying high resolution photos then the design is flawed. Your web design should support the business needs and help selling more products, not hide them underneath a pretty photo.
It doesn’t support the user needs
Again, if your website isn’t all about displaying photos the user doesn’t care about the photo. He or she will quickly scroll by it and look for the actual content.
Value the most important place on your website
Be careful what you place above the fold. These items should help your business or help the user. It’s not there to help your web designer display his awesome photos.