The Importance of Images in Marketing: Tips from the Pros

     

Published: February 24, 2020

The importance of images in marketing and advertising cannot be overstated. Not only will people have a stronger recall of visual content than text, but people also respond the best to a mix of both visual elements and words on the page. Of course, not just any visual element will do—especially when it’s a photograph.

Stock vs. Original vs. Your iPhone
In some cases, stock photography is ok. For example, if you’re adding an image to a blog post or creating something that’s only going to be used internally in your company, stock photos are affordable and easy to get. When is stock photography never ok? When you’re showcasing your actual company. For example, photos on your main website pages should always be real photos of your company!

Plus, anything that’s going to have a high profile should include original photography. Why? Not only do stock photos tend to be a bit cliche in their framing and posing making them easy to pick out, but they’re also not original. That means that a hundred companies can use the same person you’ve chosen to be on the front page of your brochures. (Like that time that both Dell and Gateway used the same person in their promotional materials at the same time to give us all a prime example of the importance of images in advertising.)

Lastly, even though iPhones take incredible photos these days, they will never replace the art and talent of a professional photographer, knowledgable lighting, and skilled editing. Candid shots during your company picnic to put on your company’s Facebook feed? iPhone approved. Headshots to post on the About Us page of your website? iPhone rejected.

Tips for Better Photography for Digital Materials
Now that we’ve convinced you of the importance of images in marketing, there are a few things to keep in mind to improve your photos and get better results. First, it’s a good idea to have employees or anyone modeling in your photos to sign a waiver agreeing to your use of their images in your promotional materials. That way, you won’t run into any legal difficulties down the road. It can also be helpful to pick out photos that you like from other websites or materials to show your photographer what you want.

Preparation is Key
The people and places you want to be photographed should appear “natural,” but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some prep work that needs to be done to showcase everything in the best way possible.

For people, this means wearing clean, well-fitting clothing. Solid colors tend to photograph the best, and we like to stick to dark, neutral colors that include blues, blacks, and greys. If your company has shirts with your logo on it, now’s the time to break them out! Grooming is also essential so make sure everyone’s hair is tidy, beards are trimmed up, nails are clean and clipped, and shirts are tucked in. Accessories and cosmetics should be neutral and kept to a minimum, and you may wish for piercings to be removed or tattoos to be covered, depending on your industry.

For places, it’s all about removing the clutter so your audience can focus on what you’re trying to show them, not all the junk in the background. This means eliminating sticky notes from monitors and clearing away personal items, signs, and other unnecessary items. No personal information should be shown, so take down name plaques, move boxes with client shipping labels, and get rid of anything branded for other companies such as mugs, magazines, and water bottles.

Act Natural
Easier said than done, especially once it’s been said! However, it’s important to avoid over-posing your subjects as it can become a bit distracting. The best photos are “people in action” shots as they will appear the most authentic and will be the easiest for your audience to connect with.

If you’re shooting company spaces or equipment, it’s best to have people in them whenever possible to make the photos warmer and more comfortable to look at. In many cases, this means posing the people so try to encourage a relaxed stance without arms crossed. It may help to give the person something to hold or do as people have the most difficulty figuring out what to do with their hands.

Photography Tips
A professional photographer will probably already know how to take a great photo, but the importance of images in marketing means there are a few details that are specific to this type of shoot to keep in mind.
  • Shoot Wide. First, it’s much easier to crop a photo that’s wide than it is to try to fix one that’s zoomed in too far. Second, many of the spaces in marketing materials are wide, short rectangles.

  • Get that Bokeh. For those that don’t spend all day trying to get effects on their Insta photos, bokeh is an out-of-focus or blurry area of a photo. This effect looks particularly nice on a tight, focused foreground and a hazy background and is achieved with a lower aperture setting.

  • Lighting Matters. Natural lighting will usually look best, but it’s not always possible. If you’re using a flash, make sure colors are consistent across the photo and keep an eye out for shiny objects that will create a flash reflection.

  • Angles are Better. Especially when photographing people. A direct or “dead on” photo can look unpolished, awkward, or like a school portrait. Angles provide visual interest and can look more natural.
The Importance of Images in Marketing
The importance of images in advertising is clear, especially when you’re trying to show real people doing real work in your company. Hiring a professional to photograph your products, people, and spaces may seem like an expense you can’t afford, but remember that the goal of your marketing materials is to make connections with people in a meaningful way to build trust in you and your company. There’s a time and a place for cheap, easy stock photos. However, your most important pieces should always use the best photos you can get.

If you’re not sure where to get started with photography for your marketing and advertising materials, we can help. Give us a call and we’ll help you get the best results!

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