How to use stock images for visual storytelling

Who said that illustrated readings were just for kids? The truth is that the brain retains visual information 6.5 times faster than text. In conclusion, images are suitable for everyone despite age. But, what is visual storytelling? As stated in the name, it is a story told using visual media. It could be in the form of pictures, videos or even illustrations.

Although visual storytelling has been around since cavemen drawings, it has recently become quite trendy again as many brands have started implementing it to engage with their customers on a deeper level. However, the whole purpose of visual storytelling is not to just add an image here or there, it is about making sure that the image is powerful enough to stand alone and translate itself to the audience with as minimal text as possible. If the audience is able to understand your visuals in this way, then you are doing it right because they are successful in connecting with your message. Sounds like a challenge, doesn’t it?

Visual storytelling

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So, whether you own a blog, a website, or even if you’re a freelance designer or marketer, it is crucial that you have the ability to convey a message with visuals as it may make or break your creative credibility. This is when stock content actually comes in handy and can rescue you from making the wrong decision with non-comprehensible images.

Here are some tips that we hope you find useful to tell YOUR story for your next project:

Be authentic

Be real. People connect with what is familiar to them. So show the real you or the reality of your product and brand. Show real emotions or situations that adapt your audience with the ability to identify with what you’re trying to say. Choose an image that portrays your honesty and authenticity. Even if the image chosen turns out to be an illustration, you must believe that it can help portray feelings too.  What do you think this image is trying to transmit? Challenge? Competition?

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Add a human touch

Having a more humane touch or live interaction in your image can help you establish an emotional connection with your audience, especially nowadays. Technology is advancing little by little every day, so you must preserve human interaction as it could bring a great sense of emotion to your project.  

Visual Storytelling

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Give Context

If you’re not planning to use many words in your design, make sure to translate the context of your message clearly. For example: If you show a picture of a cake but the goal is you want people to understand that it’s not just a cake, but a delicious one; then you could position a person enjoying it at a birthday party while other people look at it with desire. That is how you tell a story with just an image. Now, what story do you think this image is telling?

Visual Storytelling

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Be relevant

Always relate your visuals back to your brand and target audience. Give the audience what they want to see. The point is that the visuals are authentic. By being relevant, you create a connection with your audience. While the image might not be the most beautiful of the lot, at least you are relating your meaning to the audience and you know that that is what they want to see. To which audience do you think this image can be relevant?

visual storytelling

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Good quality

Make sure that the content you have chosen to use is of suitable resolution, and is overall very well executed, if you’re looking for photos, make sure lighting is adequate. It is very easy to fall into the category of bad quality content, especially if you’re scouting on a free image site. But I kid you not, investing in good quality, paid content is making an investment in your projects and will result in positive benefits in the long run.

Visual storytelling

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So now you know. The message you want to tell with your visual content is as important as the words you use. Now go and challenge yourself to tell a whole story with just one image!

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If you want to get your hands on some amazing visuals, sign up now on StockUnlimited and get unlimited downloads of 800,000+ stock photos and vectors graphics for as low as $4 per month with our 3 years subscription plan!

Visual storytelling

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1 Comment

  1. Peter Vukcevic

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Italia! It’s very important to relate visuals you use to the brand and target audience. Visuals should be authentic and help your brand connect with the audience. Definitely a tip that everyone should apply.

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