A few years ago I was sitting with my kids flicking through my husband’s old photo albums.
It was memorable because we were all well, giggling.
It’s a glorious old sort (the album that is *chuckles*) with white backboards and images – yes, actual 5’ x 7’ photos and even some Polaroids – sandwiched under sticky, clear cover sheets. Remember them? Perhaps not.
And what was so funny to us all?
Well, everything. Memories for me, discoveries for them and laughter all around. In the space of just a handful of years the world had changed so much, that my own kids had never seen half of the everyday items in the photos.
It’s not until you look backward through the lens of today, that it makes you realise how much has changed.
The photos pulled us into another story – the clothes, hairstyles, cars, houses, gadgets, the things he did, the places he went – were all from another era. They represented a person we’d never known.
Those photos allowed us to connect with the pre-family man – evoking emotions of surprise, interest and admiration – in short; they added another dimension to the personality we already knew.
That is the power of an image.
We collectively reviewed his life, loves, adventures, highlights and low points. And it was all through photos. Not a word was needed to explain the expressions on the faces, the emotions in the eyes and the antics of the situations.
So, if an image alone can do that, imagine the collective might of the right photo, in the right place, with words evoking the right emotions.
Where can you apply this?
It can be applied in your marketing, your blogging and your writing. Just about any form of creation.
The right photos can involve your audience far more than just words. They can make them feel things.
Here are five powerful reasons why photos create such reactions:
1. We learn visually as well as by hearing and feeling
Neuro- Linguistic Programming (NLP) works on this basis. The theory is that we primarily experience the world, learning and absorbing information/stimuli through one of the three sensory systems – eyes, ears or touch/feel. And that means … if your creation – say a blog post – includes an evocative photo as well as a story, you’ll connect with the 60 percent that are visual learners. If you can include all three in your work, you’ll hit the jackpot.
2. They evoke memories and connections
Take for example, the image above. I never sat in a barrel/bucket like that, but I did have a very similar rabbit. Seeing that image transported me back to the time I spent cuddling, nurturing and sheltering in a safe place with that toy (which I have since dug out and it now sits beside my bed).
3. Photos can summarise your thoughts
As the title of this post says, a picture is worth a thousand words. They can beautifully sum up everything you want to say, without saying a thing. Let’s face it, some images can be beautiful unto themselves, and words are merely the support act.
4. Words alone can fall flat
A great image is like the curtain raiser. It introduces your words and can tie them all together into a far stronger message. Photos can also act as metaphors for the ideas wrapped within your words – they help unravel the deeper meaning and allow the words to resonate more strongly. Words alone can sometimes sound hollow by comparison to their song in unison with a great photo.
5. They can make circular connections
Occasionally a photo can make you think about something in a new light – a surprising light – that you’d not thought of before. My hubby (yes, photo album man) was recently searching for new images for his website and my suggested search terms (lateral, related but slightly obscure) were totally different to his (obvious, literal and predictable). Simple, slightly less obvious photos are worth hunting for to make your readers think more, feel differently and perhaps slightly wonder.
What’s your snap-shot on this?
What about you? Have you seem images that evoke a powerful reaction and emotion in yourself?
Does looking through old photo albums transport you back to places, smells and sights that you experienced?
How have you used them in your posts, creations and writing?
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