Today we’re in an all-consuming visual interchange, where visuals rule as the language of the 21st century. Photos, graphics and videos are now integral to our daily life, led by smartphones, and fueled by the changing way we consume and interact with media.
The main catalysts for change have come through social sites and apps such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram where consumers spare time endlessly scrolling and browsing photos and videos.
As a result, expectations for how images look has shifted, and consumers now seek out authenticity in images, by way of photos that feel real, relatable and regional.
Brands and content marketers globally are taking note. Campaigns are becoming more authentic and real, “street casting” is used more often (as opposed to hiring professional models) and more photographers are shooting with a reportage-style candid aesthetic.
What does this mean for brand imagery?
1. Choose the right shape
Your customers are looking at you on their mobile phones and tablets, so your imagery needs to work in that format – the square image has been championed by Instagram whereas the more recent trend is towards images cropped to a letterbox format (2.39:1). The elongated panoramic offers a new angle on stories that are told often.
2. Relax your style
Your customers are looking at hundreds (possibly thousands – there is no true irrefutable research) of images a day on their social media feeds. The look of user-generated content is more relaxed and has not been professionally set up, so the mobile phone snapshot aesthetic is the style that feels comfortable. This is what your customers enjoy looking at.
3. Use everyday people
Your customers are spending time looking at viral videos and images that feature the everyday. As a result, all this user-generated content has broadened the appeal of individual, interesting, diverse people in images.
4. Favor the story over perfection
An image that tells an engaging story or is visually appealing will have more impact than an image that is technically perfect. Modern audiences forgive blur, flare and aberrations in favor of authenticity.
5. Try first-person point of view
Mobile technology has enabled a more intimate view of everyday life. As camera technology has become more portable and also wearable, new viewpoints are engaging our attention. The first person point of view brings more emotion and feeling to the moment.
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