I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but a picture really is worth 1,000 words. It’s an old saying yet it still rings true, especially when applied towards digital properties. So when it comes down to the details of your website, a picture can end up being worth thousands of dollars.
One of the greatest values of photography is its ability to immediately communicate emotion. From a simple glance, the human eye is able to understand moods, thoughts, feelings and even intentions. Being able to direct the feelings and emotions of a web visitor is essential for conversion factors and the success of a site. But it’s also important to remember that poorly executed photography can be equally ineffective.
The placement of a photo with comforting, and calm feelings at the beginning of an e-commerce site can immediately ease any user into a trusting relationship with the site. This can be a key factor in converting users into making an online purchase. Or take for example, the commonplace photo of the ever-popular family; a man and wife, with two smiling children. This image, despite its commonality, is a symbol of commitment. The family-style image can convey a company’s values of commitment much more effectively and immediately than any long, drawn out mission statement or paragraph found within the lower pages of the website.
We could examine countless examples of successful photographic solutions that allow for a positive emotional connection between your website and its users, they are everywhere. But it’s most important to remember that with each photograph, your ultimate goal is to initiate an emotional response. From this response, you should expect a beneficial reaction. So, photography and its qualities of how and what it communicates are essential in setting the stage for success throughout your digital platforms.
Understanding that all photography is not great photography is also an important topic to examine. The 1,000 word rule still rings true here, especially when a photo may be highlighting detrimental or negative features of its subject(s). Ever notice the visible difference between the hamburger on the backlit menu and the hamburger that comes out, wrapped up in yellow paper? Very, very rarely do those two images look the same.
The idea, that both hamburgers would taste the same is relevant, but the perception that one of those hamburgers tastes better is the key factor here. If given a choice, nearly everyone would choose the image on the menu over the image in the wrapper. And whether consciously or not, the human brain experiences an emotional response to the more attractive photograph. The brain understands that crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes and a perfectly cooked patty is nutritionally more beneficial than the flatted, soggy and lopsided alternative.
If you need further proof to the value of photography, look no further than the rapid increase in popularity of pictures of food. Countless social media accounts and websites are devoted to the display of food. People post vintage shots of cake slices, pasta dishes and pizza slices with little more accompanying text then ”#NomNomNom”. A picture really is worth 1,000 words.
If you take away nothing else, take this: Invest in photography. Spend the time, effort and amount required to properly display your goods or services to your customers. You will never be able to communicate the same emotional connection from snap-chat that you would from a professional photo-shoot. If you’ve taken the proper steps to develop a successful company and its products, don’t sell yourself short by under-developing your photography.
All photos courtesy of Rebecca Lupton – she’s just awesome.