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As a graphic designer, my job is to design brochures, business cards, websites, flyers, direct-mail campaigns, and other advertising tools my clients can use to reach their key audiences. Stock photos are great because they help get a reader’s attention in a way words alone can’t. And it’s not just attention I need. I need our audience to take action, too — to whip out their wallets and buy the product — so the photos need to help make the text more convincing in a BIG WAY! My first suggestion if you’re the photographer is to photograph MORE people in DIFFERENT ways using facial features and distinct expressions. Statistics show that folks really do LOVE to see faces and they enjoy “looking into the eyes” and seeing people. I find that when I see people shots in brochures and ads, it allows me to think of how that service or product might relate to me or my personal needs. So I always try to incorporate people photos in my ads. Here is a look at using a large, interesting photo with a unique person or facial shot to capture the reader’s attention quickly. EXAMPLE #1: We were working on a direct-mail campaign to promote a product that makes your teeth bright and white. The product is called FLORABRITE. My client wanted me to find a shot that had a man holding his hand up, almost like he was saying STOP. I found this great stock photo and used it in my design.   I love how the man’s facial expression is critical and urgent but not too SILLY or MEAN. I also like how the photographer included the entire upper torso of his body and did not chop him off at the shoulders. This gave me the choice of where to crop his body to fit my needs. Add to that the man’s clean, crisp clothing and I was sold. I flopped him around so his eyes were looking right at the reader and near the words in my headline, and this was the end result… EXAMPLE #2: Below is another front cover stock photo option for 
the same product: As you can see, his face and the feeling you get when you look at it are very different from the face on the man holding his hand up. His eyes are glaring right at the audience. THIS MAN IS MAD. He is VERY angry and it shows without a doubt! I could not have pulled this off with a “kind of” angry man stock photo. That twist makes a difference for sure and it goes all the way and then some. Below you can see how the cover worked out. Again, the background was clean, his clothes were crisp and clean, and he got my point across to support the text… Here are two more photos I like and have cataloged for use later… EXAMPLE #3: I have seen the stock photo above used a couple of times in advertising or brochures and it always gets my attention. One way to really grab the eye is to introduce something out of the ordinary and this shot has it ALL in my opinion. The people are LESS staged studio models and MORE real-life people. You almost feel like you have already met this couple. I think they look like some of my relatives, actually, so I am quickly drawn into the photo and want to know more. This would make an interesting cover shot but would also work well inside a brochure. The OPEN and HUGE laughing that is going on and the good times can be deeply felt. I can almost hear the story or joke that has been told. It puts you in a situation and ties you into the photo — you are a part of the laughter and happiness. I also like the finger-pointing; it gives some direction and movement. It’s a good idea to consider all of these elements when taking photos. EXAMPLE #4: Consider very realistic daily events for stock photo content — like this woman sneezing. I have been asked to add a stock photo to various campaigns so that we can effectively show the effects of cold and flu symptoms. Some products that I do designs for are linked to making folks feel better and get sick less often. I have searched for many sneezing photos and I really like this one. The success of this shot is due, in my opinion, to the stark white background, the facial tissue, and the shirt the woman is wearing. Although she is sneezing — which just gets me thinking GERMS — the shot is actually very pristine and clean in feeling. This photo has crisp, sharp edges and LOTS of action going on very quickly. I enjoy the fact that she is NOT looking at me. I like that her eyes are closed and it’s REAL. I can feel that sneeze and I can also feel the texture in the fibers that make up the facial tissue. This photographer also did an excellent job at cropping and positioning. I could purchase this stock photo and possibly make it work for a front cover, a space ad, or a banner ad on the web/internet. I could run some words or type on top of that left-hand side for a flyer or brochure. Maybe the writer has some bulleted copy about a product that keeps your allergies from ACTING UP LIKE THIS and I can list those hot bulleted items at the left, on the pale but interesting background. This photo gives me TONS of good, successful options. It is a workhorse photo indeed. Consider a few of these tips and tricks when snapping your next round of facial/people/expression shots. I am hoping you can find a way to create a unique and memorable twist on an old look. And stay tuned for another designer stock tip tomorrow! Share on Facebook

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