The importance of images, graphics and photographs for authors

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As writers, we rely on words to create imagery in the minds of our readers. Each noun, each verb, each adjective is chosen to paint a vivid mental image of our characters, setting, action and emotion. Words are the tools of our trade, and we must learn to wield them adeptly, masterfully, artfully.

Images are every bit as powerful as words and should not be overlooked by authors as a means of promoting, communication, engaging, connecting and inspiring.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” — Unknown

Using images is especially important when it comes to online content and marketing. In this case, less is more when it comes to words. Consider these points:

  • The brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text.
  • “Today, more content is created in 48 hours than all of the content created between the beginning of time and 2003.”  (Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO)
  • Content with images gets more engagement than without images.
  • Today’s consumers are visually oriented and tend to skim content.

“A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.” — Andy Warhol

Authors are often driven by deep-seated passion and work for years to achieve each professional milestone: first completed manuscript, first cover, first book signing, first fan letter, first industry award. Documenting your journey in photographs, just like any other meaningful life event, allows you to look back and remember each step of the journey. Sharing a photograph of these occasions enables you to convey the emotion and excitement without being limited by words. Which one of these expressions is more effective?

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Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”  — Anton Chekhov

One of the first “rules” new writers learn is the classic admonition “show, don’t tell.” This same principle applies to use of images instead of, or in conjunction with, words. Researchers report that images affect emotions more than text. Images can evoke mood in a single sweeping glance whereas even the most talented writer would be hard pressed to do the same.  What mood(s) or emotions(s) do these expressions inspire?

PicMonkey Collage

“Paint a perfect picture / Bring 2 life a vision in one’s mind” — Prince, The Beautiful Ones

Writers, by nature, are creative people. Nurture that ability and fuel your imagination by exploring visual expressions of creativity:

  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Collaging
  • Cooking
  • Decorating
  • Sculpting
  • Building
  • Gardening

How do you use images and graphics to inspire your writing or connect with readers?

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