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How to Choose the Best Images for Your Print Campaigns

By Jenna Bruce on Mon, Mar 02, 2020 @ 10:00 AM |


We talk a lot on this blog about the importance of writing good copy for your print ads. We’ve discussed how to write a killer headline and why your copy should focus on benefits and not features. You’ve also learned why a strong call-to-action is necessary and how to test different elements of your copy.

But we often neglect to discuss the other half of your creatives and that is imaging. The old saying, “A picture’s worth 1,000 words” is completely true. Often, the kind of imagery you use will have just as much impact on whether or not your campaign is a success, so it’s important to get your images right.Naked hand photo shooting with doodle photo ideas concept

Before getting to the HOW of this article, let’s quickly discuss WHY it’s getting harder to choose images that help your ads convert. It all comes down to consumers becoming savvier. They have all seen the same glossy stock photo images of an obvious model forcing a casual smile in a conference room setting. Most of the time business owners all choose the same images, so the same stock photo model is seen plastered across countless digital and print campaigns.

In other words, consumers have become professional stock photo spotters, and generally speaking, they don’t really like them. Now, don’t panic, we are not suggesting that you spend more money to have your own professional images taken. There is a time and a place for stock images, and if you know what to look for, you can select images that will help your ads convert. And, luckily, more and more stock imagery sites are now including images that have less of a stock look and feel.

To help you get started, here are some tips on how to choose images that will help your print campaigns convert.

  1. Think High Quality

Business owners and CMOs with tight budget often go after free stock images, and that’s fine. There are plenty of free images available that are still high quality.

DPI stands for “dots per inch” and you should make sure your images are at least 250-300 dpi for print. Online ads can get away with a lower dpi of say 72, but for print, you need a higher quality, especially for brochures and magazines.

Remember, you want your images to drive your message home and get someone to take action. This becomes challenging when images are grainy or pixelated.

  1. Know Your Audience

If you want to move your audience with an image, then those audience members must see themselves in your image. Who are you targeting? What is their problem and journey? How does your offer solve their problem?

If you are trying to reach mothers of young children, use images that show moms facing their challenges. Targeting college students? Help them see themselves in your ad. The more you know about your target audience, the better able you’ll be to choose the right image.

  1. Play to People’s Emotions

Studies have shown people connect with ads that evoke strong emotions. We’re emotional creatures and you should leverage this fact. If you want to consumers to connect with your brand, then choose images that make people feel GOOD about your brand. The stronger a connection you build with your market, the more loyal customers you create.

  1. Look for Colors That Pop

People assume they can’t run color ads in the newspaper. Who says? Often colors ads are the ones that get noticed. Whether you are running newspaper, magazine, or direct mail campaigns, you should focus on using images with pleasing colors that really grab attention.

Colors not only make people happy, they also excite them and can even make them hungry, if that’s your goal. So choose wisely!

  1. Look for Images That Don’t Require Words

Let’s go back to that old saying, “A picture’s worth 1,000 words.” This is 1,000% true. No one says you MUST use words with your images. If you find an image that is so powerful and completely relays your message, then you won’t need many words, perhaps just a call-to-action. This is also where the phrase “show don’t tell” comes from.

For instance, if you are a local athletic store and you are running a half off promotion on kids cleats, an image of a child kicking the winning goal is really all that’s needed, along with the words “half off sale” to get a parent into the store to buy his or her kid a better-fitting pair of cleats.


If you keep these 5 tips in mind, you’ll be able to select images that help your print campaigns convert each and every time. Still need some help? We work with businesses of all sizes to develop winning campaigns that offer a r healthy return on investment.


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