Mother and son cuddling.
Man walking on cliffs.
Nothing attracts attention like a really good picture. Using a picture in communication is often a really good investment. In these times where everything has become more digital and volatile, the photograph has emerged as a winner. Not least when it comes to advertising.
Agneta Johnér, C.O.B of the Johnér image agency, clearly sees that more and more are rediscovering using the photographic medium to attract attention.
"Today there is enormous media pressure making it difficult to cut through the noise. That makes communicating with photos unbeatable. In addition, there has never been as many good pictures to choose from."

Image agencies such as hers specialize in producing images that convey the right feeling. It's about energizing the brand by using the right image, especially where brands with the same offering compete side by side.

"Many people wonder what they should think about when choosing images. I think you should start with the brand - how do you want it to be perceived? If it is a very Swedish brand it would be a mistake to buy typically North American stock photography, as is seen in many places. Remember that pictures speak a language all their own, often more directly than the written and/or spoken language," Agneta Johnér points out.
She takes an example from one of Johnérs own stands at a trade show. In that case, it was concluded that the atmosphere would be peaceful springtime feelings. The natural feeling was created in the booth by using large photographs of an arbor, trees, shrubs and flowers as a background. With fine outdoor furniture in the booth the visitor got a feeling of sitting in an arbor in springtime.

"It was incredibly simple, and it was the nice pictures that did most of the work. But if we had been looking for a different feeling, a strong explosive expression, then pictures of a serene arbor would have been completely wrong."
Agneta Johnér gives another example, this time a "no-no" for those that want to be perceived as authentic and genuine.

"If you have a business in the healthcare sector it is very important that the images you show create recognition for the recipient. Photos depicting medical care from a country other than where you operate, as are often found in many image agencies, sends all the wrong signals. Everything counts - the clothes, equipment, and environment. Otherwise, the pictures can do more harm than good."

But how do you get the feeling you want to create using pictures? One tip is to create a so-called "mood board". Go to image agencies and look for pictures that you think have the right feel and the right tone of voice. Use these images as a starting point, and proceed from there.

"You certainly do not have to use a lot of pictures, less is more in my opinion. And when you have found a great picture, it is a good idea to re-use it in multiple media channels. Partly to create a comprehensive communication, but also to generate recognition, which in itself is effective communication. A picture you invest in early on for a booth at a trade fair, can be easily re-used in your shop, or in another context. It is a good investment," says Agneta Johnér.
1) Put a bit of time and extra energy into finding the right image. The image is always the first thing you see, and the wrong picture can sink an entire brand. Do not leave the choice of pictures until the end of the process, start from there and build the communication around the images.

2) Real people in the pictures always create a strong expression and are eye-catching.

3) Do not forget the legal aspects for the images. If there are models in the picture, special rules may apply regarding usage. Professional image agencies have complete access permissions and can help make everything legal.

4) Less is more. Do not be afraid to enlarge a good picture. It often speaks louder than using many small images, which can present a messy impression and risk missing the message.
Text: Helena Kämpe Fredén.
Article was first published in the publication Let's Meet, No. 4/2014.
Do you also feel the need to take a break from the doctored selfie? Look at these expressive portraits of genuine people with real feelings. These pictures also highlight a key trend for 2015 - out with the doctored photos and in with the natural - casual people, solar reflexes, motion blur, everyday subjects, with as little visible styling as possible.

Want to see more? Click on one of the pictures that will take you to a larger selection of images.
Sad boy.
Car mechanic.
Mother and daughter.