Exercise Your Visual Storytelling Super Power With Photo Essays

“Pose for the camera, now flick!”

We’re sure Chinese Philosopher, Mozi, couldn’t surmise the pinholes he created in a darkened room would evolve into the cameras we have today. From the The Daguerreotype Camera of the mid-1800s to the Reise of the early 1900s, down to shakin’ it like a Polaroid, the ability to capture moments in time has become the fabric of cultures around the world. But it was Nicéphore Niépce in 1816, who we can attribute to the first successful photograph.

Since then, photographs became interactive ways to tell a story. Each image sparked a memory that led to a narrative and a rabbit hole of backstories that kept you engaged in conversation for hours. Over the last few years, Marketing Strategists realize this same community sharing is ideal for small business marketing. Creating intimate communities around products and services is important for small businesses and startups to best engage their target audience. Although considered an “overused” term, narratives engage the audience with a storyline they can connect and follow.

It’s all about relatability.

Posts we like: The Best Photo Essays of 2017

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Visual storytelling brings life words on a page and allows the audience to create their own experience as if they were there and even imagine themselves in the still shots. Studies reveal web content with visual engage audiences up to 180% more than without. Although there are many visual storytelling elements to design, photographs are cost-effective and create immediate and long-lasting impact over time. Impact is a core outcome in all business. You want people to respond to your call to action. Click and learn more. Swipe through and comment.

Engagement is key.

Photo Essays help to propel a message forward and simple for even a non-tech savvy person to do. With Smartphones leading the way in technology, photo ops are easy and essentially seamless. Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat provide the opportunity to master visual storytelling. Even the publishing platform, Medium, creates space for visual storytelling. Clear that image and text go together like PB&J.

So how can you get it done? What are the ways you can tap into your visual storytelling super power? We’ve compile four ways for you to begin using photo essays to craft your community conversation:

  • Royalty Free Images. Who doesn’t like royalty free images? Sites such as Unsplash and Pexels have become the saving grace for bloggers and web designers alike. If you have a graphic design hand, these images are perfect to “remix” with your own branding elements. Looking for create a color scheme? Type the color you want and watch the images flood. Mix the royalty free images with your own to create contrast but make sure the images aren’t too far off, then they’ll confuse your audience
  • Filters. Whether royalty free or in-house, impressing your brand aesthetic on your images creates visibility and a signature. Your audience immediately knows it’s you and engages. Don’t go overboard. For signature filters and design, VSCO is a great tool. Although considered an intermediate design app, it’s user-friendly with filters that can be adjusted to create the ideal look.
  • Elements. For the sake of this post, we’re going to call text, animation, and icons and such, elements. Sites such as Canva and Spark Adobe are perfect to add design elements to your image and create a strong brand image effect. Add shapes, animation, and text to further the narrative of your brand. Spark Adobe has image templates specific for IG Stories to add further customization.
  • Dollar stores and thrift shops. Designing on a budget? Dollar stores and thrift shops are great places to get set design elements. Doing a post on flat lays? Scoop up a few pens, notepads, glass jars, and faux flowers from the dollar store. Even places like Amazing Savings and Tuesday Morning have low cost items to add to your images. Feeling crafty, find a desk or patio set and make your designs there. But you gotta be quick! Snap real fast and make a dash.

There are many ways to create visual dialogue. Join the conversation on Instagram and share some of your favorite tips.

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