Ever since photography has been around, it has been utilized as a key component of advertising. Look back at early advertising and you will most likely see an image that became a staple for that company. Illustrations were used early on, but photographic images capture an emotion. Photography has an emotional component to it, so select images that make you pause – not for shock value necessarily, but because they connect to your theme or story. If you see a picture of a happy kid on a cereal, you want that cereal to make you happy in turn. I think it is the defining feature of some ads, but of course you know there is also type, graphics, illustration.
As the saying goes, ‘A picture is worth thousand words.’ As a visual communicator, photography is essential to the graphic designer in diverse ways, since images can mean a lot in communication as far as aesthetics are concerned.
Photography is also an important part of branding, hence the connection with graphic design. Graphic designers manipulate photos to communicate an idea. Some employers look for graphic designers with a photography background and vice versa.
Selecting which shot you should use can often be the most time-consuming stage within your process, especially when you might have upwards of 100 seemingly identical photos to choose from. When using a picture as the background of your layout, try to lose details: go darker, go blurry and your fonts and design will jump out and have much more impact.
When you have multiple images in a single layout, you have to keep searching for a way for them to work together, or you’ll have to try and incorporate other elements. When you’re dealing with ‘art’ style imagery, the other elements become really important as visual glue, such as symbols, typefaces, colors, borders, etc.
Don’t start designing until you have all the imagery you know you’ll be using. The quality, size and subject may well dictate the design direction as a whole. Good photographers make the designer’s job easy, but if the photos are going to be combined with type later, it’s always helpful to keep this in mind when shooting to really get what you want. Great photos with no place for text generally do not make for great design.