As a visual person in a generation of visual people, I require visual stimuli in order to generate a response. Images, videos, and graphics reel people in from a world of otherwise lifeless content.
When scrolling through Facebook or Medium or any other social media platform, what will grab your attention is an image. You’d likely scroll right on past the post otherwise.
While videos and graphics have their place, photography seems to be the most relatable. It’s a moment frozen in time, there to remind you of the past, present, and even the future.
Photography captures emotions and holds that memory until you return to it. Like classic art forms, it can evoke nostalgia, dread and an entire world of emotions all at once. Because of this, photography is an extremely capable marketing tool.
Utilizing photography in your marketing has several benefits. First of all, as previously stated, it grabs attention. Most of us can only process a limited amount of information. A photo engages a user and quickly conveys the basic idea of your post. It sets the tone and encourages favorable perception.
In addition to the obvious visual benefits of photography in marketing, it is an incredibly handy tool for search engine optimization. You can optimize your article in several different ways via your photos.
So, what do you need to know to get going?
Stock photography is great and useful in a snap, but using a stock image to promote a unique idea won’t get you as far as a custom image could. Think about it – everyone else on the world wide web has access to the same image, meaning the image isn’t as impactful and your idea isn’t as original. Hire a pro or pick up a camera and see what you can do.
If you aren’t creating your own images or need a specific image quickly, be sure to confirm the copyright usage of any photo that you pull from the internet. Some photos you’ll need to purchase a license for usage, others you’ll need to give attribution to the image-creator, and plenty of other copyright situations to consider. To avoid running into any copyright issues, purchase stock photography or use sites likes Freepik and Pixabay.
Make sure your images are full-size and high-resolution. Stretching or enlarging an image on a blog post will generally make the photo blurry and grainy which sacrifices quality. If you were reading a blog post and saw a poor quality, blurry image, you might click out; I know I would. Poor quality in images could equate to poor quality in content.
JPEG versus PNG
JPEG is a lossy compressed file and degrades over time with every new save. Think of JPEGs like a piece of paper. You can fold it several times over but if you unfold it, it’ll have several creases. Refold the piece of paper again and then unfold it again, it’s even more creased and wrinkled.
That’s not to say JPEG doesn’t have its uses. It’s commonly used for photographs and realistic images. Anything like lines, text, or icons will see grain like in the graphic below.
PNG is a lossless compression file. It’s good for lines, text, and icons that JPEG can’t handle. While it also produces a larger file size, it’s also better for overall usage, especially on the web, due to its lossless compression.
Figure 1 – (labnol.org)
SEO is Key: 4 Ways to Optimize
SEO is incredibly useful when it comes to photos, as mentioned above. It also gives you a chance to properly label and organize your images in every possible way.
Alt tags: When an image is posted on the web, there is one main reason for using an alt tag: There are many reasons an image cannot be hosted/shown and will not appear on the page. Alt tags are textual placeholders, so you know what is supposed to be there. Alt tags also help communicate the contents of an image for SEO. Be descriptive and use keywords.
Captions: Captions are pretty straight-forward. As with any photo, you’ll want to give it a captioned title. Captions are another good opportunity to optimize for SEO. Be descriptive and use keywords.
Categories: Categories are also pretty straightforward. Not only do they help with SEO, they’re also great for organizing your photos and posts. Another great opportunity to use keywords.
Metadata: Metadata is like a skeleton key – it’s useful everywhere and for everything. Like it sounds, metadata is the data held within an image. It holds the date created, the location (if that’s an option), file size, copyright information, keywords, and so much more. If you are going to utilize any of these SEO suggestions, utilize your metadata. It will apply to anywhere and everywhere your photo is posted.
TIP: If you host your images in a large gallery, it may be possible for you to bulk update your metadata via CSV. Check with wherever your photos are hosted.
Now that you have your own set of images, what else can you do with them besides just posting them? My personal favorite is to use Canva. With Canva, I use my images to make custom graphics for blog posts, social events, etc. They add a little extra personality and pizzazz. In a world of graphic imagery, personality and pizzazz are very important. Another similar option you can try is Adobe Spark. These are great for social media, like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and any other platform.
Caitlyn Smith is a web designer by day and a photographer by night. She handles the designing and coding of landing pages and emails, as well as managing some of HiP’s social media accounts. Caitlyn is a lifelong creative, dabbling in many avenues of artistry. In her personal time, she loves hanging out with her cats, going on photo shoots, traveling, weightlifting, and modifying her Volkswagen.