This is how to pick the best photos for content

A picture is worth a thousand words. This is an adage that implies a single still image can convey complex ideas. It’s important to pick out the best photos for content and make sure it matches the headline.

For example, when you look at this image of strawberries:

  • Did you imagine being at a strawberry field picking strawberries yourself?
  • Did you see how the strawberries look juicy?
  • Did the color pop off the page?

Authentic images in your content can help you better communicate to your audience. Images can help bring the words in your content to a new level. We are visual learners, so images help you tell your stories.

Good visuals help your audience place themselves into your story. The wrong visual can send the wrong message, while the right message can increase your reads and views.

Finding the right photo is challenging. It must help your headline tell the right story.

How do you find and select the right photo for your content?

Here are five things you should think about when picking a photo that will resonate with your audience.

1. Relevant

Your photos must be relatable to your audience. Put yourself in the shoes of the people who consume your content. Use real-world images so your audience can relate to the image and believe that they may see that in their life today. If you pick stock photos, make sure it doesn’t come across as one.

Your image should freeze a moment in time. Your image should be relevant to a person, pet, place, or items that resonate. If the photo you pick is relevant to you, most likely, it will be relevant to your audience. The images you select should reflect activities that your audience does in their daily life.

2. Emotional

You need to be drawn to the photo and connect with it on an emotional level. We are emotional creatures and love to connect with other people’s emotions. When your photo brings out feelings, the image shines.

To find emotional photos, look for familiar environments that your audience can relate to. If the image is of people, find them doing something, so it looks natural.

Also, with people, make sure you can see their eyes. Emotions are often communicated through the eyes. Pick photos where the audience has empathy for the people or objects in the image.

3. Technical Composition

You must pick a photo that is high in quality. The image must have the right amount of light — not too dark or light. It also must have a focus on the right people or objects that are conveying emotion.

Where a person or object is in an image is essential. This can help an image become attractive. The background can play a significant role in how the main person or object is arranged in the photo. The main thing needs to be the “star” of the show, and the background needs to complement it.

4. Authentic

Your photo must feel authentic. You can tell if a picture is forced. For example, a group coming together for a high five is not that realistic or authentic. However, a friend sitting in a coffee shop waiting for a friend is authentic.

Your audience demands reality as instant communication dominates our lives. An audience is looking for things that they can relate to, and after decades of celebrities being photo-shopped, many people don’t want that unrealistic look. We want real people doing real things.

5. Specific

Images can tell the story more than text can because the image is specific to a situation, location, or topic. Can your audience answer several questions about your content by just looking at the photo?

Focus on utilizing images to illustrate a point and provide visual relief in large chunks of text. When you are writing your article, ask yourself:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What are the main points of the story?
  • What is the value of the story to the reader?

Your photos should be able to answer all these questions and more.

Bringing it all together

You should think about five things when picking a photo that will resonate with your audience. Be relevant, find the emotions, review the technical composition, be authentic, and be specific. If you follow these tips, you can make sure you pick the best photos for your content. Your images can make or break you when it comes to views and reads, so make sure you choose them wisely.