5 Ways to Make Your Images More Impactful

Sometimes you come across an image that makes you stop and stare for what seems like an eternity, an image that stands out so much from the others you can’t help but be in awe. However, other times you get stuck scrolling on Instagram and nothing seems to be jumping out at you, they all seem to be blending into one. So what makes an image grab your eyeballs and glue them to the screen, and how do you make your images do exactly that? I’ve put together my top 5 tips to make your images more impactful, so read on my friends and you’ll soon be the cause of many a drool face emoji!

 
By having the subject jumping between the rocks and shooting him from a lower angle to place him high in the sky, it adds an element of danger and wow factor, allowing the viewer to stop and ponder if they would be bold enough to make the same leap. This is how a connection is made within this image.

By having the subject jumping between the rocks and shooting him from a lower angle to place him high in the sky, it adds an element of danger and wow factor, allowing the viewer to stop and ponder if they would be bold enough to make the same leap. This is how a connection is made within this image.

 


1. Create a Connection/Tangibility

We’re all emotional beings and if we look at an image and ‘feel’ something, that’s when we stop for a moment and take it all in, that’s a connection. Whilst our attention span seems to be shortening by the day, an image has a very fleeting moment to peak your interest and pause you from scrolling right by. If in that moment an emotion is evoked, a sense of wonder, a simple WOW, fear, happiness, even envy, or the dreamy wanderlust daydreaming, the viewer is more likely to engage with your image and remember your work – you’ve made an impact.

One simple way to help create this connection is to allow the viewer to imagine him or herself in the image.  If there is a person standing in the distance soaking up a breathtaking view, the landscape not only draws them in and adds the WOW factor, but by placing a human element you’re creating tangibility and an opportunity for the viewer to place themselves within that scene. You have now created an opening for an emotion to be evoked, a connection to be made.

Half a step and a 3000 ft drop is all thats separates you from the valley floor. Would you peer over the edge?

Half a step and a 3000 ft drop is all thats separates you from the valley floor. Would you peer over the edge?

A lonely Norwegian road with the perfect incline for wide carves and views to die for whilst you rip them. Can you imagine yourself there?

A lonely Norwegian road with the perfect incline for wide carves and views to die for whilst you rip them. Can you imagine yourself there?

I’m shivering just thinking about the coldness I felt that day. Can you feel it too?!

I’m shivering just thinking about the coldness I felt that day. Can you feel it too?!

 

2.  Post Processing

I quite often hear beginners claiming they don’t want to edit their images too much, they want to keep it raw and as real as possible, which is totally fine (National Geographic will always blow me away for this style of photography).  However, I believe you’re missing a HUGE opportunity to put your personality into your imagery, an opportunity to put your stamp on it, to be unique and stand out from everyone else that has a camera and claims to be a photographer. I am not saying you have to be a Photoshop wizard, but some simple touch ups in Lightroom or another basic editing program will allow you to make your images pop a lot more, to be stylised with your favourite colour tones, to help recreate the emotion within the scene. Remember that you’re telling a story with your image, and just like nobody likes listening to Aunty Julie ramble on about her daily chores with no punch line, nobody likes looking at an image that doesn’t make you feel something or is telling a story we have all seen a million times.

Post processing is an opportunity to tweak the image to have maximum impact on the viewer, a chance to blow the viewers mind, so get creative and tell the story in the most engaging way possible.

The raw image straight out of camera - no post processing.

The raw image straight out of camera - no post processing.

The processed image with my favourite colour tones, softened light, and areas of the image emphasised for better storytelling - all curated to my personal style and taste.

The processed image with my favourite colour tones, softened light, and areas of the image emphasised for better storytelling - all curated to my personal style and taste.

  

3. Setting the Scene

If you could dream up the perfect cosy camping atmosphere on a cold night what would it look like? Maybe it’s sitting around a fire with friends, wrapped up in a blanket, fairy lights illuminating the camp spot, a glass of wine in one hand and a marshmallow stick in the other? Fair chance whatever it is you dream up will appeal to others and create that desire to be within that scene – the connection we talked about earlier. So now you have dreamt it all up, make it happen, invite some friends around, hang the fairy lights, roll out your favourite blankets, and prep the wine and marshmallows. Don’t be afraid to direct your friends, to place props (such as an axe or lanterns) in areas that add to the scene, and after you get your shots don’t forget to enjoy the hell out of all the work you put in to create it, because after all that’s your perfect night right?!

Whilst some people may screw their faces up at the thought of a stylised scene, I believe if it is something that you would genuinely enjoy, use, or participate in then stylise it. Again you’re telling a story, so make it intriguing, and live the life you’ve dreamt about!

Yes this is completely set up, but did we enjoy this after I put the camera down, you better believe it!!!

Yes this is completely set up, but did we enjoy this after I put the camera down, you better believe it!!!

The van will never be as clean as it is whilst doing a photoshoot in it, but who wants to look at a messy van?! Tell the story and sell the dream, the dream you’re actually living, just a slightly tidier version!

The van will never be as clean as it is whilst doing a photoshoot in it, but who wants to look at a messy van?! Tell the story and sell the dream, the dream you’re actually living, just a slightly tidier version!

 

4.  Changing Your Perspective

We spend all day viewing the world from eye level, but how often have you climbed a tree to see what the view is like from up there, or laid on the ground to see what our feet are looking at? Not so often hey…  That’s why an image from a different perspective other than eyelevel is so appealing, because it is often from an angle that we have never seen before. That simple point of difference is what can make an image unique, and make it stand out from the crowd. There is a pretty common saying that if you don’t look like an idiot whilst taking a photo then you’re not doing it right, so go lay on the pavement, climb on top of the rooftop, just make sure you look as stupid as possible and you should be all set!

Placing the camera right on top of the line not only gave the image a great leading line and depth within the image, but also a perspective that nobody ever see’s from their car seat.

Placing the camera right on top of the line not only gave the image a great leading line and depth within the image, but also a perspective that nobody ever see’s from their car seat.

Still one of my favourite shots because we have all seen images of people snorkelling with marine life under water, but I have only ever seen one other from above!

Still one of my favourite shots because we have all seen images of people snorkelling with marine life under water, but I have only ever seen one other from above!

Poking my camera through the tree and using it frame the subject helps draw attention to the model and also adds another element of intrigue to the image.

Poking my camera through the tree and using it frame the subject helps draw attention to the model and also adds another element of intrigue to the image.

  

5.  Your Audience

Ultimately it is your audience who will determine if they like your work or not, no matter how much you push and plea, it’s their choice. So try and understand your audience, figure out what imagery they like best, and what work is building your following. While it is still important to create the imagery you have a passion for, and staying true to your creative self, if you can mould both your love and your audiences desires into one path then you onto a winner.

 





Jess Bonde