Strong Visuals Tell a Story

visualsStrong Visuals Tell a Story

Some of the best opportunities for marketing your messages occur in random moments.

It was a hot summer day in 2004. My concentration level was low as I sat at my desk in the fund development office of an inner city community center. Hearing the rhythmic beat of drums in the gym below, I headed downstairs where children were dancing to African music. Caught in the moment, I joined the conga line. An adorable boy tugged at my shirt. “You need to stop dancing because you’re terrible at it,” he both pleaded and proclaimed. When I asked why I was so bad at it, he responded: “First of all, you’re white. Second, you’re old.”

Feeling rejected, I stepped off the dance floor. But all was not lost. I turned my attention to taking candid photos of the kids. One of these shots became a visual story line for a development campaign. This appeal generated sufficient funds for a creative arts program at the center.

This candid shot is another example of a photo with a story to tell. Rolling Stone Magazine photographer James Minchin, caught a moment with Jon Hamm texting while on the set of the Mad Men television series. The juxtaposition between a smartphone and Don Draper, circa 1960’s created a story that went viral.

To engage your audience through photos, follow these tips:
Forget the desk. Unless your CEO’s desk is in the White House oval office, photos of a person behind a desk are a sure-fire ways to create distance between the messenger and the message received.

Keep it tight. Close-up action shots draw viewers in better than panoramic views.
Editing is your friend. Take advantage of the myriad of photo editing options to enhance the creative value of your photos.
Keep it social. The best photos are those that start conversations and spread among friends. Provide links and functionality to make it easy for people to email your image to friends, embed on web pages and blogs, and post to their social networks.
Make it search engine friendly. Assuming your images are going on the Internet, use keywords and titles when naming your files and surround them with keyword-rich content.
Keep dancing. Some of the greatest moments in film are those that aren’t choreographed. While there are times when staging is called for, the true story of behind your organization or businesses is often best told by candid footage taken in real-life situations.

Marianne Canter is President of Canter Consulting, an integrated marketing communications and fund development firm. You can follow Marianne @canterconsults.

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