We all know the phrase:
‘A picture says a thousand words’.
When it comes to advertising, the right picture can really sell your business. And likewise, the wrong picture can be very detrimental to your business. Effective imagery is able to engage all of the senses. Whilst our sense of sight is the obvious one, certain images can remind us of certain sounds, tastes, smells and textures that we associate with certain experiences we have had in our past.
When you are choosing imagery for advertising you want to tap into people’s senses and emotions in order to entice them into becoming clients.
In order to do this, it is very important to take into consideration the services/products that your business offers prospective customers, how your business differs from others, who your target market is, and how your product/service relates to them. The more personalized you can make your imagery the more likely you are to engage your customers.
For example, if your business focuses on business services specific to rural and regional farmers, you want to use imagery that shows professionals working in the ‘field’- literally! You want to show your target market that you can relate to them and aren’t just office people. You need to indicate that you have that knowledge of the industry you are working with. Showing face-to-face communication between a farmer and your business is another powerful visual representation. There is far too little direct human interaction in business these days; we rely on phone and email to do most of our communicating, whereas that face-to-face interaction is a key contributor in building trust between a business and a client.
Yet, despite all of this, you still see a lot of businesses using terrible stock imagery. Yes, it may all be shot in high definition and look like high quality, professional photography, but it is cheap and tacky. Staged photographs like this can alienate the people you are trying to attract to your business and they lack the ability to be relatable to everyday life and the everyday person that you are seeking business from.
However, at the end of the day, we don’t always have the time to go out and shoot our own photographs or have the money to pay a professional photographer, so using Stock Images can become inevitable.
Here are some useful tips to remember if you do find yourself in need of Stock Imagery:
1. Purchase from quality stock libraries: Quite often these libraries will have better quality images and a larger selection to choose from, which could result in finding one that is more specific to your business.
Whilst there are plenty of free stock libraries, you do run the risk of selecting the same image as your competitor, so tread cautiously.
There are a few libraries that I have discovered that have been set up by Graphic Designers which contain free stock images that are more visually interesting and of high quality – these are my initial go-to stock libraries.
2. Reflect your brand personality: Aim to give your potential customer an initial impression that reflects your business’s personality. If you are more relaxed about the way you go about your work and interact with your clients, don’t use corporate, business orientated imagery as it will be misleading and could actually be detrimental to the business if one of your distinguishing features is your relaxed, down-to-earth nature.
3. Avoid country-specific images: If you are an Australian company, choose images relevant to the culture and more importantly, landscape – the last time I checked, we didn’t have anything resembling the Swiss Alps anywhere in Australia.
4. Incorporate your colour scheme: Try to match your images with the colours appearing in your logo or the colour scheme evident in your advertising. This will create uniformity and the images will complement everything else, rather than being a distraction that pulls the viewer away from the important information that you want them to get from your advertising.
5. Try and incorporate people: People are your customers, they want to see how they can relate to your product/service, so having imagery that shows people interacting with your product or business in some way gives them assurance that others have used this successfully.
When searching for images, just be aware that many are covered by copyright. For more information on where to find photographs without breaching copyright laws, read our article here.