There is so much research that suggests online content that contains imagery or photography achieves far higher engagement than posts without.
There are also many studies about how people consume information. Whilst the absolute percentage may change depending on the study the order remains the same. People remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear and 80% of what they see.
So in summary visuals matter.
But that’s not where the story ends. There is no question that strong visuals have the capability of grabbing attention. And I do put the emphasis on “strong”. We humans are visual creatures who eat, shop and make our minds up with our eyes. I know we shouldn’t as the saying goes “judge a book by its cover” but first impressions do count. And not all imagery has the capability to stop people in their tracks or ignite the senses. So before you run and grab your camera, I have a little question for you – Is your online content imagery the best it can be?
Don’t feel you have to cram everything into a shot in order to get the message across. I remember years ago in my retail marketing days being on photo shoots where the abundance of food placed in shot was overpowering. But then that was the fashion of the day. Thankfully in todays content world less is more. So declutter and have confidence that if you have a great product – it can do its own talking. One of my favourite follows on Instagram is Piglet in Bed who have impactful simplicity down to a tee with a consistent on brand colour palette. And how can you not full in love and engage with these little piglets!
Propping & Styling
Whilst simplicity rocks, sometimes a pop of colour and careful styling can equally be effective. The trick here is to always be clear “what is the focus” If it is an amazing plate of food then give it space to own the shot and ensure any propping takes the supporting role rather than trying to take over.
Here is another example of great styling. Chips and “brown food” are not the most appetising to shoot. But relevant propping, in this case the branded grease proof paper, copper pot and a hint of the chips will certainly whet any ones appetite.
If you are the founder / owner of an artisan business or indeed a lifestyle blogger then you really have carte blanche to go full throttle on the “provenance” photography. There is something about products in their natural environment such as French Market or Greek beachside taverna that gives an air of authenticity. Again simplicity is the key. No contrived or posed propping – just natural and raw.
In todays digital world there is now a need for any brand manager to develop a secondary set of photography and imagery guidelines specifically for social channels. This was a trail blazing moment during my time as brand guardian at Premier Inn and the move from “on brand” beautifully made beds certainly took some negotiation. Movement allows a brand to dispense with the sterile and inject some warmth and lived in look. But there is a fine line that can’t be crossed. In this example a messy bed shot still has to say cosy, crisp and fresh and not someone else has been in my bed!
I love this shot. To me it says “sorry this dessert was too good to wait for the photography”
The White Company always seem to feature in my blog posts. This is yet another example of great photography which combines a lot of the elements shown above – simplicity, great styling and atmospheric setting to create truly impactful imagery.
Need some help with your online imagery? As a Freelance Brand Director and Brand Stylist I can certainly help to get you set up with stand out imagery to take on the online world.