Guide to Effective Imagery

  • Introduction

  • Meaningful Imagery

  • Match your Brand Values

  • White Space

  • Feature People and Real Emotions

  • Your Dimensions

  • Optimise your Alt Text

  • Use Colour Strategically

  • Represent your Audience

  • Test what Works for You

  • Conclusion


Effective imagery is key to great content. It’s what will attract readers and lure them into reading the copy. Imagery has the power to alter emotions and how an audience will react to or feel about posts. Great imagery is enough to make the readers feel something, and feel that they want to share this emotion with others.


Images need to add meaning to posts


Without adding meaning, the imagery may seem unnecessary or, put simply, bad. It stands out when a company has bad imagery and chooses to use poor images on their posts, on their website, etc. However, it doesn’t stand out in a positive way. It has the risk of negatively impacting your brand and your brand message.

Do you know how to create effective content and get great imagery?


Meaningful Imagery

It’s said that around 300 million photographs are uploaded to Facebook each day. And that’s only one social channel…

This, automatically, shows the importance of getting imagery that actually has a meaning and is enough to evoke emotion. Often, the images that people mainly stop for are the images that have some sort of meaning to us or that create a certain feeling. People are searching for content that goes beyond a neutral emotion, content that they can immediately connect with and already feel positive about the content before even reading the copy.

You may not be actively hoping for more and more people to share and engage with your posts, but using meaningful imagery can most definitely cause this. The New York Times’ Customer Insight Group actually researched into reasons why people share content online, they are as follows…


1. In order to bring value and entertainment to others

2. To define themselves to others

3. To stay connected

4. To feel more involved with issues

5. To support causes they care about


If you’re striving to connect with your audiences by using even one of the approaches above, you’re more likely to get an increased amount of engagement in the form of shares, etc.

Simply having imagery that means something to people will automatically improve your content and boost your reputation. Imagery that means something to someone won’t go unnoticed. People will stop to purposely look at the content with the imagery that matters to them.


Match your Brand Values

You will have defined your definitive brand values by the time you’re looking to post great content, hopefully. It’s important to live these brand values and show that you're truthful to them.


Your brand message should be present within any of your content


It should be obvious what you believe in and what you are hoping to achieve from your brand. People need to be able to understand your brand values from the content you put in front of them. Understanding it and recognising that you are consistently injecting it into whatever you do further evokes trust and confidence within your brand as you’re perpetuating who you are and what you believe in.

Persistently sharing content that imitates your brand values enables you to develop your brand and communicate who you are; without constantly forcing your product or service in front of people. Showing your human side is much more effective than promoting your products or services. It allows audiences to feel a connection with you.


White Space

White space is a popular approach to a lot of things - a website, a blog post, etc. But have you ever thought about including white space within your imagery?

White space brings a focus onto a particular area and helps viewers to see what you have deemed as one of the most important parts on that page. If you’ve deemed it as one of the most important parts, it’s obvious you want your readers to see / read it. White space draws people's attention to a certain important element immediately. 


White space is a powerful way of drawing people's attention to a particular element


In terms of imagery - white space can actually be utilised. This may be in the actual image, the image itself may be on a white background with one main focus. Or it may just have a border around the image to draw someone’s attention to the centre of the image as it’s been purposely pointed out more than anything else. Either way, white space works in the same way as it does for content in terms of imagery. It’s a way to ensure that the focus of the image - or just the whole image altogether - doesn’t go unnoticed.

White space may also be the element that helps your imagery stand out from the rest of the crowd. There’s such a vast amount of imagery and content being published each day nowadays that it’s easy to get lost in a sea of images.


Feature People and Real Emotions

People tend to look for authenticity. They wish to find those brands and businesses that are authentic, genuine and real. People don’t want businesses constantly promoting their products or services - this is not what they’re interested in in terms of content. When it comes to content, people want the truth. They want a brand they can trust and a brand that they know is real.


When it comes to content, people want the truth


One way to evoke real emotion is to feature real people that are showing and sharing their emotions. Even if this is captured in an image. People see others smiling, they feel happy; it’s a psychological effect that most people feel when they see another person feeling an emotion. Alongside this, it’s always good to talk about emotions that are very much real but that aren’t mentioned a lot. If this goes hand-in-hand with your brand values, it’s a good topic to touch upon as it makes people feel and it immediately conveys your brand as an understanding, trustworthy and human brand.

Try to focus on real things. Focus on humans, focus on being a human, and so on. All these small factors add up and give your readers a humanised brand to trust. You may decide to post about emotions that you know your audience can and will relate to, as well as feel that emotion and want to share the emotion with others. Talking about real emotions can build a positive brand sentiment - adding real value to others lives.

Your Dimensions

For social media

Every single social media platform has a different optimal photo dimension. It’s a good idea to research and look into these optimal image sizes to ensure your images are displayed the correct way and how they should be. The images need to look good to the people seeing them, whether it be on a mobile or desktop.

Some social media platforms will cut off the sides and top of images, but clicking on the image will show you the whole image. Due to this, it’s good to always keep the focal point in the centre where the most crucial part isn’t cut off. You want your readers to be able to see the image without having to click and expand.


Landing pages / web pages

Every single landing page is going to have different image dimensions as they are unique and individual sites. It’s important to ensure you’re aware of the sizes that are required on your landing pages and web pages, to ensure they’re fully optimised and responsive.

It’s definitely worth ensuring the images are the correct sizes as, if they’re not, it could either take a while to load, not load properly, cut bits off, look blurry, and so on.


Optimise your Alt Text

Optimising your image alt text allows Google and/or other search engines to fully understand the images you have used. Search engines normally cannot read just images, but alt text enables them to read what the image is and acknowledge how the image contributes to that particular page.


Alt text helps search engines fully understand images used


Alt text is usually utilised by those who are visually impaired. It allows them to know what image is being used and visualise it in their head. So, as well as it being beneficial in terms of search engines, it also makes your website much more accessible. Having an accessible website enables audiences to put more trust into you and it shows your authenticity.

As mentioned, alt text allows search engines to understand what the images you’ve used are. From an SEO perspective, search engines will be able to know where to rank the images/your page in image search results. However… alt text is not an opportunity to cram more keywords onto the page. It’s simply about a brief description of the image - if your keyword fits in naturally, that’s perfectly fine, if not, don’t force it to.

Use Colour Strategically

Colours are also a way to evoke emotion. People automatically derive feelings from certain colours, and this can be utilised to your advantage in your image strategy.


Colours evoke emotion


Everyone will associate colours with different emotions. Not everyone will see red as danger, blue as sadness, and so on. This can also be true with brands using colours, too. Red can be used as a sign of urgency, not danger. This urgent colour may persuade people to take an action or continue reading. Every individual will have various perceptions of colours, but even so; these individual perceptions allow for different types of engagements and reactions.

If you’re choosing to integrate colour into your imagery strategy; think carefully about image choice and if it will actually evoke a response or gain attention. Even if it only gains more attention than most of your posts, it indicates that your audience prefer colour based imagery.


Always think carefully about image choice

Represent your Audience

Having imagery that actually represents your audience - or imagery that your audience can see themselves in - works very effectively. It enables them to feel an automatic connection and feel as though that particular post is creating for them.

It’s easy enough to get imagery that your audience can resonate with. If you’re a business selling dog toys, you’re most likely going to use imagery with dogs in to evoke emotion and relatability. You want your audience to be able to see themselves in the images you use as it will allow them to see themselves using your business. If your audience sees themselves in the image, they’re going to enjoy the post more and are more likely to engage.

Some more examples...

i. B2B selling

Business people can see themselves in imagery such as business meetings, single business people, business people working together, and so on.

ii. Selling a music app to teenagers

Images such as teenagers listening to music or even just screenshots of the app can work effectively and allow teenagers to see themselves.

iii. Advertising your new restaurant

Any imagery can work for this that involves food and/or people eating the food. Food immediately gets people's attention. 

Test what Works for You

This goes for absolutely anything. You must experiment and test what works for your business. Not every piece of advice will be relevant to every business, but this is. Each and every single business needs to test what works for them and what doesn’t. This involves seeing how imagery can affect conversion rates, engagement, interactions, and so on.


Without measuring and testing, you’re not going to know which approach is best for you


You have to understand and acknowledge which approach is most effective and which improves your business the most. Without understanding this, you’re going to potentially keep using imagery that your audience don’t like as much - which could have negative consequences. You need to see what your audience enjoy.



Imagery is, quite possibly, the main element to a lot of content. It’s the element that gets people interested and intrigued to continue reading. It’s important to get your imagery right and ensure that your audience enjoy the imagery you’re using.

Images are extremely powerful. They have the power to evoke emotion, spark conversation and create connections. People will often look to connect with and resonate with an image. Even if this is through an emotion created or through recognising themselves within the chosen image. If an image you’ve used does all of this, or even does one of them, your chosen image is great.

Be sure to test and experiment with images and decipher what works best for your business.


Imagery is extremely powerful; get yours right