before-and-afterSometimes words alone seem inadequate to communicate your message. As many designers are learning, photographs can add power and impact to a layout. Just as computers have made using illustrations and drawings as easy as clicking a few buttons, advances in scanning, printing, stock photos and other imaging technologies have made photos accessible to graphics designers.

Photographs bring realism and authenticity to your marketing material. Photos offer a few things that other kinds of illustrations and artwork can’t match. The most obvious is that photos seem real they offer concrete visual proof to back up your text. This is why newspapers and magazines use photos for hard news stories, but use illustrations for more abstract articles. Numerous studies show that readers are more likely to believe a story, statistic, advertising claim, or other assertion if it features a photo. A good photograph captures our attention, conveys emotion, and tells a story.

autoPhotos can also evoke a greater sense of urgency and drama from readers than illustrations can. If you try to recall the most important events of the last 50 years, odds are you associate the events you remember with photos you’ve seen. Black-and-white photos are generally considered to be more authentic or “real” than color photos.

Half the battle of producing professional, attractive layouts with photos is making sure you choose the best shots available. You don’t have to be a shutterbug to know that not all photos are created equal. A good photograph stands apart from the rest because it both feels right and looks good. It captures our attention, conveys emotion, and tells a story. Photographers must expose and print the photograph properly, meeting basic standards of clarity and quality. A combination of the artistic and technical produces a winning photo.