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Woman with camera - virtues of good photographs

Virtues of Good Photographs

If you’ve read some of my past blog posts, you know that I’m currently making my way through graduate school in addition to working at AWG. One of the classes I decided to take this semester is Visual Communications. This class has covered everything from traditional photojournalism, to emerging forms of infographics, to the study of advertising images that persuade customers.

Most of my everyday focus at AWG is on digital communication channels. Although the tools we use are always evolving, the basic principles and thought processes that guide our marketing strategy haven’t changed much. One of the books I read this semester, The Great Picture Hunt by Dave LaBelle, was published in 1989. The lessons I learned in this book are foundational building blocks that can also be applied in our social media world.

Photos and videos capture the most attention on social media. These pieces of content drive engagement among customers and can tell them a lot in a short period of time, which is important in our quick-paced, scrolling world. So what makes a photo good, something someone will stop scrolling past, click on and stare at for a while?

According to LaBelle, here are some key virtues that good photographs contain:

  • Emotion
  • Real Moments
  • Simplicity
  • Composition – how the elements of a picture are arranged
  • Unusual angles
  • Captivating subject matter
  • Humor
  • Action and reaction
  • Originality
  • Interaction
  • Body Language

We often ask our retailers to send us photos inside their stores for social media or websites, and often these retailers aren’t sure what makes a good photograph. You don’t have to have fancy equipment; a cell phone will do the trick. Keep the above virtues in mind when finding subjects to photograph in your store. Check out the gallery below for examples of angles, action and other virtues. For additional examples, check out LaBelle’s book. Much of his writings are about traditional photojournalism, but the basic principles can be applied to today’s mediums.

Why do I work at AWG? “I work with an amazing team that values creativity and innovation. I enjoy tackling new opportunities and challenges each day that, of course, always involve food!” -Cara