A picture is worth a thousand words

Time is short. On average, we spend 2-3 seconds looking at a print ad. It’s longer than we give digital ads, and we’re more likely to see ads when they’re in print than online, but our haste sets advertisers a challenge.

Eye-tracking research shows that unless searching for a specific product, a reader is more likely to look at the picture first.  Using the right image is therefore fundamental to an ad’s success. The AJ creative team’s expertise in image selection underlines its importance in boosting sales. Here are a couple of pointers:

Match people and setting to your target market

We often choose images including models to attract attention and offer relevance and empathy. Many of our clients produce age-based, needs-driven products so the ads need to feature realistic models of a suitable demographic. Using imagery that speaks to your target audience is vital.

Make product shots clear

Product shots must make the product and its features clear – don’t lose it among the clutter of its setting. Framing, composition and lighting, alongside visibility, are key to showing a product at its best.

AJ has widespread experience in delivering top quality photography. We work with a small selection of photographers, each specialising in different areas, offering a range of expertise to suit our clients’ requirements. If you need to outsource photography or looking for a fresh approach, we can help.

Stock images offer an alternative to commissioning photography when your time or budget is limited. There is a range of options available, with royalty-free imagery and rights-managed options. Quality and cost varies, so AJ can advise on what’s right for you and help you source what’s required. Our experienced studio team can also work with purchased images and successfully ‘comp’ your product into royalty free shots, thereby providing a perfect image.

Traditional stock libraries, such as Getty, offer a variety of images with better technical quality. They can offer the ideal solution when you are looking for very specific images, perhaps featuring a specialist subject or product, or when you need better editorial standout. These higher standards come at a price, particularly for rights-managed images priced per insertion, so can be a great solution as long as you have the budget to match.

In contrast, microstock image libraries, such as iStock, are ideal for sourcing low cost multiple shot options. The libraries are extensive so are ideal if you’re looking to use different shots for different media, e.g. press ads and brochures, or testing a range of images. Ease of use, accessibility and the lower cost of microstock image libraries can come at the expense of quality; editorial standards are not as high and technical standards can vary considerably. Lower cost inevitably increases use so you risk seeing your chosen image elsewhere, reducing your exclusivity.

Whichever way you source images, the message is clear. Don’t say it, show it. Billboard ads, the ultimate time-pressured attention seekers, have been described as a punch in the face. Print ads are similar – you have two seconds to deliver your right hook – and we’re here to help you deliver the knock out blow.

Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or email lesley@aja.co.uk to learn more about how AJ’s creative expertise can help you.