Imagery inspiration

April 29, 2016

Image from Gratitude Revealed video project, by Louie Schwartzberg

“Imagery has come to be an expectation for people,” says Susan Cadrecha, communications manager for Google Maps.

Has it ever.

But for communicators without Google’s resources (the company took 9,500 photos at the Grand Canyon for trail-view of hikes), the constant need for photos and video can be a big challenge. Sometimes we are just reaching for whatever images we have ready to go at our fingertips, and high standards for quality are hard to maintain. Every now and then a little inspiration is in order.

If you aren’t one of the millions around the world who’ve already viewed some of filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg’s videos in the Gratitude Revealed project, then check it out! I learned about this collection of short films at Blue Earth’s recent Collaborations for Cause conference, an annual gathering in the Pacific Northwest where photographers and videographers share visual storytelling on environmental and social issues.

Schwartzberg’s nature imagery is awesome, but he also brings the viewer up-close to people, too. To faces, eyes, smiles, expressions and contexts. Check out Gratitude or Happiness or some of the other short videos in the project – and notice how many of the people shown pull your attention. How you feel some of what they’re feeling.

“What we’re trying to do is stir emotion, the imagery has to stir emotion,” Schwartzberg explained in his presentation at Collaborations for Cause. “If you can hit their heart, bingo.”

As we note in our recent image-testing guide, photos with people’s faces up-close “consistently draw viewer attention, and eyes and expressions can convey emotions like pride or happiness that in turn produce emotion for the viewer.”

Image quality matters, too. There is expertise and artistry behind imagery of people that can particularly affect a viewer, and that’s a reminder that comes through in Schwartzberg’s videos. It can be a bit of inspiration for us in our own photography and image selection, as well as a reminder that sometimes we may also be wise to invest in getting an expert behind the lens.

Share with us some of your favorite photo or video websites. We’d love to highlight them on our blog.

Jeff Cappella