The right picture is worth a thousand words; the wrong one will ruin your content
It’s funny how these expressions travel. You may well be Swedish and boast that Ibsen first wrote this aphorism, in a somewhat more convoluted manner, or Chinese and claim that Confucius was its creator.
Alternatively, you might encounter a Frenchman who will be adamant that Napoleon coined that phrase.
The reality behind that is probably that none of these people ever said that, or if they did, it’s very likely that they repeated someone else’s statement. Being famous has its advantages.
Regardless, a picture genuinely is worth a thousand words, provided it stands out from the crowd. It is an essential and integral part of your content. It makes it easier to read (and remember, and share).
Without pictures, your text will not appear very exciting. Enhanced with images, your stories will capture the imagination of your readers. That is to say, provided you chose them well.
Here are my tips for choosing exciting pictures for your online content.
#1 Metaphor over description
When choosing a picture, one is always tempted to select an image which will depict precisely what your piece is about. Talking about cybersecurity, for instance, might lead you to pick out a picture of a hooded man in darkness tip-tapping on his computer. Alternatively, you may opt for an allegory, a metaphor. That of a lock, or chains will convey the idea of protection. Another metaphor will be used for the depiction of vulnerability.
#2 An angle in your text, an angle in your pictures
If you want to stand out, your content must be angled. Otherwise, you will end up expressing exactly what everybody else has written already. You will have worked but will not have a chance to be read. There is already so much content out there, if you add to it, try and bring added value through numbers, research, critique and last but not least, good pictures with low or Dutch angles for instance.
#3 A little filter works wonders
It you have already downloaded some pictures from Jumpstory, you might as well add a bit of value to them. What about those filter effects from the Jumpstory editor like the Polaroid effect? You may also use a tilt shift filters such as https://tiltshiftmaker.com (Photoshop can do this too). It makes for great impact on landscape pictures, mostly when they are taken from above, and with pictures of crowds like the one below.
#4 Animations may also be classy
Animated Gifs are all the rage. All my students use them when I ask them to set up their Twitter accounts. And let’s face the music, the result isn’t always very compelling. Yet, animations maybe classy too. The Pixaloop app can do miracles with clouds, for instance.
#5 A horse of a different colour
Yet another tip for you to make your pictures stand out: colour pictures can be easily downgraded, with a lot of effectiveness, to one or a few selective colours. Black and white pictures can, conversely, be colourised, therefore adding strangeness to the scene at little cost. Playing with colours isn’t very time-consuming and is a good way of sprucing up your content so that it doesn’t look like anybody else’s. Here is an example with the emboss effect, using the Jumpstory editor.
I have just given you five simple tips to enliven your content with images. There are many more, the possibilities are endless. On the contrary, badly chosen or trivial pictures and copycats will do nothing but ruin your content. A picture is only worth a thousand words when it has been selected with care.