Poor image selection can seriously damage a publisher’s reputation and brand. A white paper
from visual marketing platform Olapic found that 55% of UK consumers have postponed or decided against a purchase because of unhelpful product photos, and according to MDG Advertising, 63% of consumers
think good images are more important than product descriptions.
So how can publishers make sure their image searching gets the best results?
1 Think about the end result
Where will your photo appear? On a book cover? A website? A brochure? Do you need to consider how the image will look behind text? What resolution do you require? Having a clear vision of the output will make your image hunt much easier. Create a set of guidelines to streamline the process and you will be well equipped to eliminate unnecessary photos from the start.
2 Don’t be too polished
Many publishers fall into the trap of selecting imagery that feels impersonal or staged. Don’t be afraid to choose edgy, authentic and even non-crisp photos of the kind that populate social media feeds today. Smartphone cameras have changed the way people approach photography, so take note of how consumers take their photographs and then share them.
3 Be consistent in your storytelling
Try not to treat each image search as an individual task. Instead, think of it as an ongoing effort to shape your brand’s overall visual style. Create a moodboard and add photos you have previously used so that you can work towards a coherent style, and have this reference in front of you when selecting images. A consistent look and feel across your marketing materials creates a positive, professional impression.
4 Be flexible in your searches
Some niche searches will always prove tricky on stock image websites, and it can be frustrating to hit a wall. But don’t quit—spruce up your search terms. Play around with abstract phrases or describe emotions; instead of the generic ‘travel’ search, for instance, try ‘backpacker’, ‘wanderlust’ or ‘freedom’. Using specific photography terms like 'low angle', 'long exposure' or 'aerial' can also yield dynamic visuals.
5 Crop well
Avoid using images with bad cropping. Photos should always be as clear and as clean as possible, but you might come across photos that with careful cropping will be the perfect shot. If there’s a stray foot or half a head poking out of the frame, get rid of it; anything which isn’t essential to communicating the story needs to go.
Choosing the right images for your content isn’t easy, but it’s not something that publishers can’t afford to overlook either. By establishing processes and guidelines, and dedicating time to your image searches, imagery can become a big part of your branding and success.
Picfair is a fair trade image licensing company with a library of 4.5 million unique images aimed at high-consumption publishers and businesses in particular. IPG members get 20% off their first orders. Sign up on this link.