How to complement your written and verbal messaging and truly engage your audience

Imagery can be the perfect way to communicate in today’s short-attention world. Impactful, quality images have a unique ability to capture the audience’s attention – and hook them into the accompanying written or audio content.

With websites like istockphoto, shutterstock and pexels offering stock images to anyone with a PC or mobile device, choosing stock seems like a no-brainer. Readily available, you don’t have to look hard to access an impressive inventory of thousands of images and videos, some free of charge, others with costs involved and restrictions on how the photographer or artist should be credited.

So, what’s the catch?

It’s all so easy, and a bit tempting, particularly for small businesses on a tight budget. But make no mistake, there’s an art to spotting and using quality stock images, and it goes beyond simply selecting an image that supports your message. Consider factors like:

  • where the image will appear
  • candid vs staged photographs
  • invoking an emotional response
  • attention-grabbing colour, and
  • image size

These are all critical elements if you want to make the right kind of impact on your audience. And often times, your average Joe won’t have the skills to make the best selection.

There’s an art to spotting quality stock images.

Imagery deserves as much thought and scrutiny in selection as the written content that it supports. You must share images that spark the interest of your target audience in order to truly get the attention you want for your brand. For instance, if being environmentally conscious is a key component of your brand, it’s likely your audience will respond to imagery of natural elements and green tones. Finding bold, quality and relevant visuals that resonate with your current and prospective audience is crucial – and where the skill lies.

Typically generic, stock images are created to appeal to a broad range of audiences – not necessarily your audience.

Popular images – particularly those from the free sites – tend to pop up more than you’d expect. The chance that an unrelated business or even one of your competitors is using the same image is a risk, and the knock-on effect to your business is that you’ll appear standard or common, offering no point of difference.

Unique and well thought out imagery choices not only demonstrate your business’ personality but helps to build your brand’s visual identity.

Consistency is key.

When you stay consistent and connect images with your messaging, your brand will have more staying power. Your audience will become familiar with the types of images, colours and patterns you use, and will associate them with your brand and business for years to come.

Authentic, bespoke photography is ideal.

If your budget allows for it, investing in a dedicated photography shoot is the most effective way to visualise your brand or message. A professional photographer’s knowledge on lighting, staging and composition will guarantee high quality photographs. And the authentic, personalised photos a bespoke shoot produces will add a human, amiable factor that really cuts-through, connecting to the audience in a way that stock simply can’t.

Used correctly, images – whether that be stock or bespoke – should support your brand’s messaging and Tone of Voice. They should complement and effectively convey your brand in a memorable and engaging way.

A few key points to consider when choosing imagery:

  • Editing or manipulating stock images is a great way to create a ‘series’ or set that’s unique to your brand
  • Consistency across all platforms is key
  • Always use high quality imagery; settling for less could damage your brand
  • Try and source candid photographs as these resonate better than staged photographs
  • There are several Australian stock sites with an authentic, localised range (eg. austockphoto.com.au and stockimageaustralia.com)

 NEED A HAND WITH YOUR NEXT PROJECT?

If you’d like to discuss how Orion Creative can help create images for your business, get in touch for a chat! We have an in-house photography studio and skilled photographers keen to create bespoke images, and our digital designers love working their magic on stock images too. We’d love to chat about how we can create unique, personalised images that perfectly complement your brand.

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