Throughout history, images have been used to communicate and convey information from indigenous cave drawings to modern day digital photos. In today’s crowded digital landscape, a good image has the power to communicate more powerfully and effectively than text, as we only require a few seconds to absorb a visual (Sherin, 2013).

A good image conveys a range of emotions, expresses concepts, and persuades an audience. To select a good image, the secret is to capture the key elements when shooting the photo and to understand the objective for the use of the image.

When shooting a photo, it is important to consider:

  • Rule of thirds – positioning of key subject matter over 9 equal parts.
  • Quality of lighting – to give subject shape, form, and texture.
  • Filling the frame – utilising the entire area to capture the subject matter.
  • Graphics – the use of lines, shapes, and patterns
  • Mood and Emotion – capturing action or expression of subject matter (as illustrated in the Mohammed Ali image above). Also lighting and filters give images drama, mood, and emotion (Excell et al., 2013).

To understand the objective for the image, ask yourself:

  • Is it relevant to your message? Images that compliment your story or design enhance your content and increase audience engagement
  • Is it unique, different, and interesting? Being unique will stand out more than using safe and common images
  • What images appeal to my target audience? Appealing images are vital for restaurants, catering and holiday destinations (Beaird, 2010)

Beaird, J., (2010). The Principles of Beautify Web Design. Imagery. Canada: Sitepoint Pty Ltd.
Excell, L., Batdorff, J., Brommer, D., Rickman, Rick., and Simon, S. (2021). From Snapshots to Great Shots. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press.
Glendenning, B., (2015). The Joy of Six: Iconic Sports Photos. Retrieved from:
Sherin, A. 2013. Design Elements, Using Images to Create Graphic Impact : A Graphic Style Manual for Effective Image Solutions in Graphic Design. Osceola: Quarto Publishing Group USA.