Pictures that speak a thousand words

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Have you ever looked at a website, or a social media profile or a blog post and gone, “Wow! That is so beautiful,” and then stared off into the distance mesmerized by it?

What about the reverse of that? Have you ever been to a website of any kind and just looked at it and said, “Urgh!,” and then hit that back button as fast as you possibly can?

There is one thing that can be done badly or it can be done really well and it determines whether you have a wow or an urgh reaction. That thing is the pictures.

If you own a business you want to create the right impression. The same goes for building a following on a social media site, or creating a blog post about your subject of choice. Choosing the right images can make or break that first impression.

Heck, let’s be honest here. This isn’t just about websites, it also includes any printed media you can name.

How do you choose the right images? Well, it is not so much about choosing the right ones (although that is a factor), but how do you create them. If you are thinking of using photos, do you take them yourself on your cheap as chips camera, or hire a photographer? What kind of message are you trying to send to people viewing your content? Can you do it justice on your own, or will you be giving the wrong impression?

Take this past week as an example. I had the pleasure to go and do a photo shoot with a client over the weekend. No, I didn’t take the photos myself. I have neither the equipment, nor the skill. Neither does the client. Instead I arranged for some photographers to take those all important shots and having seen the results today I am glad I did!

Imagine if that was your company. Now imagine if it was a rival company with all the glossy magazine style photos, while you had some snaps you took yourself.

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

The key thing to remember here is to play to your strengths. If you are great at taking photos or creating works of art, brilliant! If you are not, don’t feel ashamed to ask someone else to do it for you, even if it means spending a little money. This is your reputation and your livelihood I am talking about.

While on the subject of playing to your strengths. If you are an expert in your field, but have trouble getting your point across with written words, then seriously consider getting a copywriter to put your thoughts into words for you. It will pay dividends.

Alan Stainer