Effectiveness of Photographs in Communication

Effectiveness of Photographs in Communication

With the current increasing influence of media, visual communication has become a very effective way of passing messages. Visual communication can take the form of pictures, graphics and colors among others. Photographs have been used in advertising some products for a long period (Lester, 2006). However, how effective are photographs as a visual communication tool? What advantages and disadvantages do they have? This research proposal seeks to explore the effectiveness of using photographs as a visual communication tool. In doing so, it will also examine the advantages and disadvantages of using photographs in communication.

Research shows that the use of photographs in communication has become very essential especially to businesspersons who use photographs to advertise their services and goods. Using photographs for advertisements has many advantages. To begin with, it enables potential consumers to analyze the products from what they can see in the photograph even before any verbal communication can be made. One advantage of using photographs is that the audience is able to get the idea instantly (Smith, 2005). Little time is used in passing a message through a photograph as opposed to passing a message through a verbal communication. By looking at the photograph, the audience is able to prepare its mind for what to expect, either from the verbal communication or from the product itself. At the same time, using a photograph for communication makes it possible to pass the messages of different informativeness. Even though in the first instant a photograph might appear to be less enlightening, a further keen analysis can provide a lot of information (Williams & Newton, 2007).

Research shows that the effectiveness of using photographs for communication increases significantly when it is accompanied by either written or verbal communication. This is because photographs alone are not an efficient way of communication. It is explained by the fact that, even though use of photographs is good in giving an idea, it is not good in telling the whole story behind the idea. There is always a need for further clarification and explanation in order to pass the intended message effectively. Due to this, it can be observed that in most advertisements, a photograph is displayed as well as some other written words beside it. At the same time, advertising photographs can be supported by verbal words where more information is shared (Piscopo, 2001).

In addition, photographs are widely used in research and report writing. Certain forms of study require the researchers to display photographs with the intent of communicating in an effective way. In such a case, photographs should be well labeled and a detailed explanation given in a paragraph. In this case, the researcher is required to display photographs that communicate his message effectively and collaborate well with his research (Torres & Piontek, 2005. He might, therefore, be guided by different criteria, which help businesspeople when they are choosing photographs for advertising purposes. The photographs used for advertising purposes need to appeal to the consumer in the best way possible and encourage him or her to make a purchase. As such, the businessperson has to examine every aspect of the photograph and ensure it appeals to the consumer in the right way. This includes examining the color used in the photograph, the posture, the background as well as any other thing that is visible to a consumer (Mooij, 2005).

In determining the effectiveness of using photographs for communication, the researcher will get information on this topic from textbooks and other credible Internet sources. The research will also involve analysis of at least two sets of photographs used in advertising. This will help in explaining how effective photographs are in advertising.

Explanation of the ‘Art of Seeing’ and ‘the More You See’ Concepts

Usually, the assessment of a fair and justifiable photograph relies on the manner it undergoes understanding from the audience. However, such evaluations do not require private artistic or aesthetic preference. This is because there are null globally agreed upon tenets of unattractiveness and beauty. Undeniably, photographs allow artists to express themselves in a manner that is normal to them but appealing to the viewer. Usually, most photographers do not recognize the gravity of their works since they normally concentrate on illustrating the thoughts, ideas or concepts that are within them. Moreover, since photographers do not recognize this aspect, it is understandable why a good photograph does not receive adulation from the photographer, rather than the spectator (Lester, 2006). Nevertheless, in order for the viewer to see and understand the work of art, it is important to incorporate a further and deeper comprehension of the respective photograph. This is in accordance to the assumption that a picture relays an infinite amount of words.

In this case, one of the ways in which the viewer is able to comprehend the photograph is via the concept of the Art of Seeing (Lester, 2006). The Art of Seeing implies the use of images to communicate various messages to the audience. It is a concept that is also applicable in other forms of art such as painting. With respect to photography, seeing is also an important art. This is because if the photographer is unable to see what he or she captures, then it is impossible to convey the hidden messages within the images. In addition, a photographer that treats visual messages while disregarding their sympathetic and educational components only degrades the ability of photography to communicate to the desired audience (Lester, 2006). Based on this, it is certain to declare that the Art of Seeing plays an important role in facilitating communication between the respective image and the target audience. This is because the photographer is capable of weaving emotional relationships that appeal to the viewer via the image.

Accordingly, the Art of Seeing implies the coordination of various organic functions. Such functions performed by the respective parts of the body allow the photographer to see and perceive the object of his activity. Moreover, these operations enable the photographer to construct the image in a manner that delivers the message to the spectator. Normally, this conveyance considerably involves the manipulation of emotions in terms of empathy. In this manner, the photographer will be able to reach to the emotions of the audience based on the manner in which he or she captures the respective image via the art of seeing. Moreover, the incorporation of these functions allows the photographer to structure the image in a way that appeals to the audience (Williams & Newton, 2007). This explains the reason surrounding different types of photographs. Some photographs are usually vertical, others horizontal while others appear diagonally predisposed. Such structures for the respective pictures usually appeal to the audience in different ways depending on the focus on the photographer responsible for the image.

Indeed, the functions comprising this concept include sensing, selection and perception. Foremost, sensing does not imply the same connotation as seeing. This is because one may be able to see but be unable to receive or understand the deeper context of the image in question. Furthermore, sensing implies the ability of the artist to express an emotional connection with the object of attention (Williams & Newton, 2007). Such emotional associations enable the artist to construct his or her image in a manner that is different from other artists. The same notion applies for a photographer. By experiencing a profound connection with the object he or she desires to capture, the photographer is able to produce a visual that is disparate from other photographs. Selection involves the separation of seeing from perceiving. Normally, the eyes are responsible for seeing the object. However, in order to see beyond the superficial nature of the object, the mind focuses on creating an inner image for the object. Perception, in this respect, implies the utilization of the memory to draw experiences that may be similar to the objects that the photographer seeks to capture (Williams & Newton, 2007).

In order to appreciate the Art of Seeing, it is important to perform the assessment of an illustration. The illustrations will provide understanding on this concept and its significance in advertising. One of the series of images that will provide a platform for this analysis comprises the Aquafresh commercial. The commercial involves the advertisement of Aquafresh toothpaste as the ideal medium for whitening teeth. The first image depicts a Caucasian young woman on a beach. The woman is clad in a white bikini and surprisingly, has a white cap that covers her mouth. The second advertisement illustrates a young brunette woman clad in tennis attire. Additionally, the woman is holding a tennis racket and arched in a ready-to-play posture. Similarly, the woman also has a pink cap that covers her mouth. The last commercial portrays a young man playing golf. The man is clad in golf attire and comparatively, possesses a light brown cap that also covers his mouth (Aquafresh, n.d.).

Normally, the series of advertisements do not provide enough meaning concerning Aquafresh toothpaste. Additionally, it also seems impossible to determine the relationship between the toothpaste and the different persons illustrated within the commercials. However, the Art of Seeing is applicable in these ads since it allows one to discover the hidden message within the advertisements. In the first advertisement, the young woman with blonde hair lays comfortably on the beach. The color of the cap and her bikini is white. The emphasis on the white color implies the overall color trademark of Aquafresh toothpaste, which is usually white. However, the other commercials do not present this similarity. Instead, the similarity in all the commercials involves the positioning of the caps on the mouths of the different personalities. Even though the caps are different in color, they assert a unitary message to the target audience. The message comprises the coverage of the dazzling aura that results from the whitening of teeth by the toothpaste (Aquafresh, n.d.).


Accordingly, the concept of ‘The More You See the More You Know’ also plays an emphatic role in photography (Lester, 2006). In general, this notion is a derivative of the Art of Seeing. Accordingly, it implies that the more a person is able to decipher from a visual representation, the more he or she gains information concerning the captured object. Indeed, effective photographs arise from experienced artists. Usually, such experiences allow the artists to deliver their artistic compositions in a manner that is highly qualified than other artists of less caliber. Accordingly, photographers are capable of using the memories in order to evoke certain messages to the target audience. Usually, such memories involve the experiences that the artist faced in his or her lifetime. Therefore, in order to evoke such memories in other people, the artist, in this case, the photographer focuses on deriving the emotions from his or her experience and transferring them to his or her work of art.

Indeed, ‘The More You See the More You Know’ concept emphasizes considerably on simplicity. Usually, advertisers utilize illustrations that are simple but comprise hidden meanings, which appeal to the audience. The reason for this is in accordance to the impact that a simple image may pose on the perception of a person. As stated, the Art of Seeing idea involves the coordination of sensing, selection and perception while viewing an image. This also applies for the mentioned concept. Apparently, the more an individual sees, the more he or she is able to perceive. For instance, the Aquafresh advertisements are simple. Regardless of their simplicity, they offer a hidden message that is constant in each of them based on the perception of the respective spectator.

Accordingly, certain features of the advertisement allow for the occurrence of this simplicity. These features comprise color, similarity and shape. In the Aquafresh adverts, there is similarity in the three images. This is because of the presence of the cap in all advertisements. The notion of simplicity also applies for the Right Horses advertisement. This advertisement illustrates an Equestrian game in progress (Right Horses, n.d.). Additionally, there are spectators marveling at the performance of the horse in the game. Even though this picture does not imply much, it illustrates the advertiser’s motive towards the targeted audience. Consequently, by illustrating the horse’s performance in the game, the commercial appeals to the audience based on the horse as the main object of attraction.

In conclusion, visual communication comprises an efficient manner of conveying messages to the target audience. Usually, visual communication takes place via pictures, colors and graphics. In this context, visual communication occurs through photographs. Indeed, analyzing the communicative aspects of photographs involves incorporating the concepts of the Art of Seeing and The More You See the More You Know ideas. The assessment of efficient communication occurs via illustrations such as the Aquafresh and the Right Horses advertisements. Undeniably, by implying such tenets, it is apparent that photographs provide effective means of visual communication.
















Aquafresh. (n.d). Ads for Aquafresh whitening toothpaste. Retrieved from http://www.adsora.com/health/ads-aquafresh-whitening-toothpaste.

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