We've all heard the phrase 'a picture's worth a 1000 words'. Meaning an image can better convey a complex idea than a written explanation. Images are often a more direct line to our emotions too. It's not just an evocative phrase, there's also a fair bit of science that backs it up. People are visual creatures. We are hard wired to take in visual content faster and more effectively than written content.
The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does text. 90% of the information sent to our brain is visual.
Marketers and professional designers know this and take advantage of it. Anyone needing to do their own promotion can harness the power of awesome imagery using a few simple rules.
Science tells us that imagery is a fast and effective way to communicate. But what we are saying is just as important. Using imagery to encourage positive feelings about your business is the other part of the equation. Are you promoting child based activities? Great, you already have a few of the key ingredients for success at hand. Shutterstock; a large stock image company, published a blog about imagery that elicits emotional responses. I challenge you to read, or at least, look at the post without feeling anything! Here are their top 6 suggestions for emotionally engaging image content. Taking this list into account, providers have got it made. Any one of these combinations are sure-fire winners for engaging your customers.
- Expressions of Happiness
Although taking your own high quality images or employing a photographer will always be preferable to using stock images. They will add credibility to your brand but that can be costly and time consuming. Alternatively, there's a wealth of professional and inexpensive stock sites to choose high quality images from. I'd add one more caveat to the list of things to consider when choosing photography - authenticity. Great images will engage your customers but they must also reflect your brand, to be truly effective.
Creating great images is a skill that requires some practice. Cropping and editing them to optimize their impact is the next step. Today there is a wealth of online editors available to make the job easier. Here are a couple of things to bear in mind.
- Close ups of one or two people have a more emotional impact than middle distance or group shots.
- Using a shallow depth of field (foreground in focus and background fuzzy) can draw attention to your subjects and mimic how the human eye works.
- Think about colour. Often images need a bit of colour enhancement to pop. Upping vibrance and saturation usually helps.
- Check your exposure. Look for detail in both the highlights and shadows. You can adjust exposure up and down and play with contrast to get the right balance.
- Consider using one photo filter style in your images to give them a consistent look.
You can have a great image with wonderful subjects but if the quality is bad it doesn't reflect well on your business. Image quality is one of the most common issues that lets down small businesses. Blurry or pixilated images look unprofessional and can damage your credibility. One trap that many people fall into is not realising that image size is important. Images can not be enlarged without loosing quality. Small, low resolution images look terrible when enlarged. Start with the largest version of you image you have as a master. Use an image editor to crop and save images to the sizes required to avoid surprises. Lock aspect ratios to avoid your images being squashed or stretched out of proportion.
Go, create awesome images
Creating awesome images for your business can be a creative, fun and rewarding task. Take a look though your promotional material and see how your current imagery measures up. If you have a staff member who shows talent or interest, task them with the project. They'll probably enjoy the creative challenge.
One parting thought... always ensure, especially when taking photos of children, that you have signed permission from parents or caregivers before using their child's photo. There are various media release templates on Google to help you draft your own.