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Call me biased. As an amateur photographer, I swoon over amazing photos. But let’s look at the big picture – I’m certainly not the only one that has a strong reaction to stunning images. From advertisements and art to online and print media, imagery is used in countless ways to spark emotion, incite action and leave a lasting effect on the audience. It’s a beautiful thing!

It’s also critical to how we as professional communicators, help clients and brands convey messages in the most effective manner possible. While you may not personally be an all-star photographer yourself, there are certain elements you can keep in mind when evaluating images for your own communications efforts.

Where does one get started ? When choosing images, it’s important to consider proper photo composition elements and user guidelines. Here is a handy list of elements and user tips to keep on-hand.

  • Rule of thirds
  • Leading lines
  • Patterns
  • Symmetry
  • Depth-of-field
  • Cropping
  • High-resolution
  • Compress the files
  • Give credit to the source

If you are not a photographer, stock photo websites can offer more options than you can imagine based on your needs. A few of my favorites include: Getty Images, Stock Xchange and Flickr’s Creative Commons. Armed with the tips above and these online resources, you can easily incorporate imagery into your content for a lasting effect. Go ahead – give it a shot!

Photo credit: Megan McMullen

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