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Southerly

5 tips for choosing the right imagery for your content

Insider Insights

20 July 2017

Posted by Gemma Suyat

Anna Moumtzidou has been working in the design industry for more than 18 years. A graphic design graduate, she is currently Art Director of Southerly, a creative content marketing agency, where she has worked on numerous content marketing strategies for multinational clients.

Over the years, I have seen clients really struggle with finding the right images to accompany their marketing. Sometimes they see it as a chore; sometimes they really don’t know where to start beyond simply picking a 'pretty-looking' image. Here are my top 5 tips to help you choose the right visuals for communicating your brand stories.

1. Always keep your brand in mind. Don’t choose an image just because it’s pretty (or funny, or cool or unusual)
Your visuals need to tie in with your brand’s look and feel. They need to resonate with your audience and feel relevant. So, when you choose an image, think: does it match your brand messaging and tone of voice? Does this image convey your story, even if it’s in a more conceptual way? What is the reaction you want to elicit and will the image you’ve chosen get this reaction? Run your choice by a small group of colleagues or friends and test to see if your message comes across the way you intended, especially if you've gone down the conceptual route.

2. Create an emotional connection
Connecting with your audience on an emotional level is the key to effective communication. Your picture needs to tell a story and evoke feeling. You need your audience's trust and trust comes from the heart. Find images that will give you that all important connection.

School children in rural Uganda during morning prayer - praise the lord

School children in rural Uganda during morning prayer - praise the lord Read less

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Julian Claxton

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3. Avoid the handshake
Real life photography is much more popular these days. Clients and audiences have become savvier; they can see through the ‘fake handshake’. If you need a business-style photo, but you don't want to photograph your team or offices, consider a more conceptual approach. Use people or animals, don’t just go down the generic ‘handshake route’. If you really want to stand out, invest time in finding the right concept for your project. Pictures give the first impression and are usually the strongest one. An overused handshake won’t make you stand out in an ocean of content.

A man stares at his smartphone as he walks past a giant yellow poster of an old man with a speech bubble containing lots of numbers on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, London

A man stares at his smartphone as he walks past a giant yellow poster of an old man with a speech bubble containing lots of numbers on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, London Read less

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4. The rule of thirds rules
Choose photographic subjects that have been shot with the rule of thirds, especially for your social media campaigns. Clean, decluttered photos with lots of negative space generally tends to get more engagement than ‘busy’ photos. The rule of the thirds is a well-known photographic technique which breaks the image into a 9x9 square grid. This technique places points of interest in the intersections or along the lines. Studies have shown that when viewing images, people’s eyes usually go to one of the intersection points more naturally, rather than towards the centre of the shot. Negative space (or clear space) around the subject helps to draw more attention to the subject

Black-headed gull in flight

Black-headed gull in flight Read less

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5. Colour coordinate your visuals.
Choosing images of a similar tone, colour or shooting style creates a stronger, more identifiable brand. If you keep up consistency with colours or style, your audience is more likely to recognise your content and be able to quickly identify your brand.



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