“I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.”
— Gilles Peress
The award-winning French photographer may be on to something. Certainly we are fans of words, but photos, images and pictures offer a powerful means for conveying your message as well. So what’s with the crap photos?
Making every image counts
If you want to engage your audience and build your customer base you need to provide content that is informative, and yes this includes the imagery that accompanies your words. They may not be able to verbalize it, but your customers know when you are being authentic and honest, whether through your words, information or imagery. Let them down in this area, and it is highly unlikely you can restore their trust in your work.
So what makes a photo or image feel real and authentic? Relatability is the first thing that comes to mind. Does the photo speak to or reference your customer’s world? Does it tell a story that feels real to their experiences? Finally, does the image have the basic tenets of photography down, such as good focus, composition and exposure? Even if you miss a bit on the technical details, but nail the human element in the photo you are probably ok because people will relate to the authenticity of the photo more than its technical expertise.
Anyone who has ever tried to track down that perfect image knows that there is an art to the search. When you are trying to find a picture that works in concert with your content there are three things you need to keep in mind:
- Be specific—the clearer your search description the better.
- Think emotion—if evoking a mood is your aim, include that idea in your search.
- Talk photography—searching with the right photographic terms can be hugely beneficial (i.e. wide angle or defocused).
There’s a lot of bad stock imagery out there. Yes, it may take you a bit more time to track down photos that are relatable to your customer, but the reward will be great when your clients receive your message loud and clear.