A picture’s worth a thousand words, by Chantal Bachelier-Moore

I am embarrassed to admit it, but my cat has an Instagram account – and he has more followers than I have! When I’m scrolling through the posts on his feed, I often stop to like an image, only to realise that it’s an advert. I then feel conflicted – do I like a post that’s trying to sell me something – well, it really is an appealing image, that made me stop – and before I know it, I’ve ordered yet another cat toy!

Would I have stopped, liked, and possibly purchased if instead of a captivating image, there had simply been a few lines of text – maybe, but probably not.

You can choose not to read a line of text, but you can’t ‘not see’ an image. Our brains process images much faster than written words and also retain them for longer. These are important concepts to remember when planning your marketing campaign.

Imagery – or more specifically photography - is a universal language and has an immediate impact on our audience. Of course, not all photographs grab the viewers’ attention and hold it. The ones that do are special, and, more often than not, they stand out because they elicit an emotional response in the viewer.

At the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in Minneapolis in August 2016, a paper entitled Picture Perfect: How Photographs Influence Emotion, Attention and Selection in Social Media News Posts revealed that “…a news story must first catch the user’s eye before they can make the decision to engage with the content or scroll on. Photos, graphics and other images in the post play a key role in these processes; social media posts containing static images received almost three times as many shares as text-only posts.”

‘We buy on emotion and justify with logic’ is an oft-quoted saying by the well-respected sales trainer Zig Ziglar. The truth behind this behaviour has now been explained with neuroscience, and has led to the concept of emotional marketing/branding. This is described by the Digital Marketing Institute as a type of marketing that allows your customers to form an emotional connection with your product or service, often through story-telling. And there is no faster way to do this than with the right set of photographs.

Being married to a photographer, I have looked at many thousands of images over the years. I have watched him perform complex post-processing – fine-tuning of lighting and colours, tweaking the tiniest details – that turns an ok photograph into an outstanding image that gets people to stop and stare, comment and share. Even the most mundane of topics can create a spectacular image in the right hands.

If you give as much thought to the messages your photographs convey as you do to the words you use in your copy, you create a winning combination. Images and text go hand-in-hand, they complement each other. The photograph is the hook, the words provide the substance.

Think about what you want to say, and how that can be translated into an effective and affective visual image. Work with a professional photographer who understands your product, your service and your brand as well as what you want to get across, and who can help you to create the impactful images that will convert your audience into your clients.

If you’re interested in talking to us about taking your campaigns to the next level with exceptional photography, get in touch.