Embracing the power of visuals

An Increasingly Visual World

From mobile photography to virtual reality, the norms of communication are changing. We are becoming more accustomed to not only consuming but creating visual content everyday through apps like Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter. We tell our daily stories, expressing who we are by documenting and sharing our experiences visually.

By the end of the year, it’s expected that 84% of all communications will be visual. This is why it’s so important that photos play a major role in telling a brand’s story.

Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

Why Visuals?

Our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

To help put that into perspective, that’s the difference between the time it takes to take one step and the time it takes to hike to the top of Kilimanjaro.

As our world has become more visual, technology and innovation have grown with it. These days a professional camera is in everyone’s pocket.

Back in 2007, the average smartphone on sale had a 2.5MP camera, today the average smartphone has a 10MP camera.

As our world is changing, so should the way we communicate with our clients and users.

Sourcing Photos

When it comes to sourcing custom photos, the best option is probably to hire a professional photographer. They’ll provide personalized, high quality photos, and you’ll have more creative control over the photos than most other options.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

But sometimes, especially when you’re first getting started and may have time or budget constraints. An easy option, then, is to just take them yourself. Chances are, you or someone on your team takes photos (even if it’s just as a hobby or on your phone). Some of the benefits of doing is are that:

  • It’s personal (shows your perspective)
  • It’s accessible
Photo by SHTTEFAN on Unsplash

If you’re not a great photographer, though, you’re still on a budget, and you’re looking for higher quality photos, there’s Unsplash. Our community of 85,000 photographers has generously shared over 530,000 free HD photos that can be used for any project.

Selecting Photos

Successfully using visuals to communicate isn’t just about using quality photos, it’s also about using the right ones. When choosing a photo:

Look for photos that have space for copy. These can be great for blog headlines, announcement text, logos, etc.

Use photos that evoke emotions like nostalgia, excitement, and awe. Readers will be able to connect more with your message if they’re able to relate to the imagery being used.

Creatively use or don’t use color. This is a great way to make text or logos stand out from the background image. Bright or minimal colors are great for these situations.

Use photos that are different or attention catching. If you make your reader do a double take (and the photo is still relevant to the message), you’re on the right track.

Get Creative

And finally, be creative in the ways you use the photos:

  • Create a collage
  • Add text
  • Include graphics
  • Combine photos

There are a lot of cool and creative things you can do using photos. If you need a little help, though, you can:

  • Use free apps like Over, or tools like Canva to easily create quality graphics and spice up your photos.
  • Find inspiration by browsing through the thousands of collections created by the Unsplash community or scroll through the countless creations already Made with Unsplash.
  • Ask others for help 🙂

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Unsplash ✌

This article was adapted from a talk I gave at an event in NYC this year.