Five Tips for Better Communication Through Images

1. Shoot Your Own Photography!

You've got one of the best cameras ever made with you at all times! Don't underestimate your ability to take your own compelling photography. What your amateur photography may lack in quality, it will more than make up for in authenticity.

I'm currently working on the layout and design of a report that needs photography related to police departments. I was unhappy with what I was finding on the stock sites, so I just stopped by my local police station on the way to work and snapped a few shots. Easy, effective and cheap.

 

2. Shoot Your Photo (and especially video) Horizontally

The world is horizontal. Even your two eyes are set horizontal. When you shoot vertically you usually end up missing a lot of details and you end up with a less interesting photo.

 
 

 

3. Use Authentic Images

If you must use stock photography, do your best to find images that are not staged or posed. Look for natural-looking images of real people.

Unless you are writing about handsome businessmen who like to meditate in business suits in the middle of the road, there really is no good use for this image.

 

4. Don't Use Images You Find On Google

This rule gets broken all the time and the companies that own the rights to images love it when it happens. I had a client who got a letter from one of the large stock image companies demanding more than $6,000 for the unauthorized use of 4 photos. He, with his lawyer's help, settled for less, but it was far more than he would have paid for fair use of the images. Don't steal.

 

5. Make Liberal Use of Images

A guideline is to use an image every 350 words on a blog. Documents should strive for an image, chart, table or graphic at least every few pages. In today's attention challenged media world, long, unbroken blocks of text are just too easy to ignore. Frequent visuals help reduce the density of text and, if used well, can help convey meaning and emotion.