If a photo speaks a thousand words, what are the photos in your ads saying? Whether you sell a product or service, your main photo or “hero” image is going to garner most of the viewer’s attention. Studies show it’s the very first thing that gets noticed. Here are some tips to make sure your photos are speaking the right words for your business’ image.

  • SUBJECT MATTER should be sharp and take up the majority of the photo area.
  • RESOLUTION is high priority in choosing your image. Nothing makes you look unprofessional faster than a pixellated ad. Ideally, you want 300 dpi at actual print size.
  • DEPTH OF FIELD refers to what is in focus and what is out. Your subject matter should be in focus and depending on the photo’s style, the rest could be soft focus (blurry) or sharp. This is a style preference, but as long as your subject is in focus that is what really matters.
  • LIGHTING be sure your subject matter is well lit. Can you see the important details? A general rule is a photo will always print a bit darker that what appears on screen. Keep that in mind if your photos appear dark on screen – you’ll want to lighten those up a touch so they print clearly.
  • PROPORTIONS does your image fit the size of the ad? Is it large enough to print at full resolution?

Depending on where you got the image from, like a stock image website, most of these issues will have already been handled by the photographer. But if you’re shooting yourself or using amateur photos, the above tips can make or break your ad design.

If you’re just starting a new business and are selling a product, you might consider taking your own product images. With a few items and some practice, good quality product photography is achievable. See more on that in an upcoming post on DIY product photography.