Is that photograph really going to work?

Most of us bloggers think in terms of words rather than images. It goes with the territory, I think, given that most of the smart blogs are written, not recorded, videotaped, or even produced in a graphics editor.
If you’re working on a marketing campaign, advertisement, or considering adding some photography on your site — a portrait of either yourself, someone you know or a model — is the picture going to convey the image and idea you desire, or will it detract from the site?
As a photographer myself (see my portfolio at Colorado Portraits), I think a lot about portrait work myself, which is why when my friend and colleague Don Crowther of 101 Public Relations wrote about this topic, I was darn interested in seeing what he had to say.

In his blog posting Tips for Using People Photos That Get Results, Don offers up the following criteria for the most effective possible images for advertising or publicity campaigns

  • A picture of a woman
  • Mid to late 20’s
  • Attractive, though not necessarily sexy
  • Dressed nicely, but not sexy.
  • Smiling lightly, though not a toothy grin
  • Ideally her body should be turned at a bit of an angle to the camera
  • Her eyes should be looking directly into the camera
    • The last point, about the eyes, is particularly important. As Don explains “there’s something, particularly in men (eye-tracking research) that shows that our eyes are drawn to eyes that are looking at us. So a model looking into the camera … draws your eye to hers.”
      There’s a lot more detail and some pretty darn interesting theory in Don’s original blog entry, so I encourage you to go read it.
      Link: Tips for Using People Photos That Get Results
      Then come back here and tell us what you think!

One comment on “Is that photograph really going to work?

  1. The author says that the photo content marketing tips have “something to do with young childhood experience of wanting mom’s approval and later life experiences of getting checked out from across the room.”
    That could well be true, but we seem to be missing something of people’s motivations that probably has a major impact here: most people see themselves as good and certain advertising (especially visual) appeals to that desire for goodness. They do not want to be attracted to blatantly sexy advertising (regardless of whether they actually are or not). Being drawn to the “motherly” type of photo makes many feel wholesome.
    As for the eyes, I agree completely. A photographer friend of mine does not like shooting close up face shots showing little but the eyes, because for him it does not say anything, it tells no story. He only takes them because his boss wants them. I disagree, though. We should ask ourselves why eyes and faces have so much appeal (as is shown in the above research). I love reading eyes and faces in photos, and I am probably not the only one out there. Eyes remind us of our own stories, people we know, and certainly tell stories on their own; the eyes are a wonderful communicator of the human condition.

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