High Performance Visuals

The science and statistics behind strategic image making.

High quality imagery is without question the single most important factor in the success of any marketing efforts. Yet the science and statistics behind successful image making remains largely overlooked. In the following article, we’ll show you how Harp uses statistics and data to engineer high performance visuals.

Written By:
Nick Martin

Published:
August 2021

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In todays visually driven, digital world the performance of your imagery largely determines the success of your business. The statistics are clear, content with high quality imagery gets 94% more views than content with ordinary imagery. Good visual content is 40% more likely to be shared. Facebook posts with images receive 240% more engagement than those without. High quality visual content is powerful and extremely valuable. For us, as professional image makers, it is our duty to consider every statistic and strategy available to inform every step of our image creation process so that we can deliver visuals that return the best possible results for our clients. 

Creating a high quality image that outperforms its competitors, involves balancing and assessing many variables. So without further ado, lets take a look at some key statistics that guide our image making process:

Simplicity

Images with more negative (white space) get 29% more likes than those that are too busy or cluttered. Keep it simple. Limit the amount of visual elements in your image to as few as possible. Make sure the product is the focus of the image. 

Images with more negative (white space) get 29% more likes than those that are too busy or cluttered.

Size

In studio shots, the product should take up no less than 75% of the frame and no more than 90%. In other words, don’t zoom in or out too far. Stick to this ratio and your product shots will achieve better results.

Quantity

Current research suggests that 10-12 images per product is the ideal number for optimum sales results. These should contain a mix of studio and lifestyle shots. Prospective buyers like to see as many angles as possible. This builds trust in the product and your brand. Be creative. Think of interesting ways to stand out. 

Current research suggests that 10-12 images per product is the ideal number for optimum sales results.

Optimisation

53% of shoppers will leave a mobile site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Load times also affect your search rankings. Make sure every single image on your site is optimised so that the file size is as small as possible (without negatively effecting image quality). We provide our clients with highly optimised versions of every visual we create.


How We Use Statistics and Data in the Image Making Process….

Step 1. Know your client, know their product and know their audience. Do your research. Ask questions. Have a thorough understanding of their business.

Step 2. Create a detailed plan & strategy BEFORE commencing the image making process. Use the data and statistics to help you make informed decisions.

Step 3. Be creative and scientific. Once you have developed a solid strategy let the science guide your creativity. Successful images come in many different shapes and forms. Explore the options and enjoy the process.

Step 4. Gather and assess the data. Find out how the images have been performing. Learn from it. Use this data to inform future decisions. The work doesn’t stop once the images are complete. Ask questions. Follow-up

Camera Angles

60% of shoppers prefer images to display a full 360 degree view of the product. Showing people exactly what they are buying is important to build trust in your product and brand and will greatly reduce return rates. Include close-ups of important features, side views, front and rear. 


60% of shoppers prefer images to display a full 360 degree view of the product.

Colour

Images with a single dominant hue receive approx 17% more likes than images with multiple dominant colours. The use of colour is a vital compositional tool but its important to use colour carefully. Try and create images with 1 dominant hue and any other colours in the scene should be complimentary. The viewers eyes are immediately drawn to ‘pops’ of colour which can be used to direct the eye to certain zones or objects within the image.


Saturation

Images with low saturation get 18% more likes than those with more vibrant colours. Bright, vibrant colours often feel overly processed and somewhat tacky. Colour should be kept within a certain range and saturation levels generally kept low. 


Images with low saturation get 18% more likes than those with more vibrant colours.

Texture

Images with high levels of texture variation receive 79% more likes than those without. When styling a scene its important to select accessories that are on trend and provide a variety of different textures. From soft and fluffy to hard and shiny. This makes for a more interesting image and provides a strong emotional and sensory response within the viewer. They can almost feel the different textures as their eyes explore the scene.

Background

There are 3 basic background choices for studio shots:

  1. White background – this is the ‘classic look’.
  2. Black background – hints at luxury, elegance and sophistication.
  3. Coloured backgrounds suggest modern and fun.

Choose the appropriate background for your type of product and what you will be using it for. For example, you should use white background shots for online shopping pages but don’t use them on instragram or social media often as they scream ‘sales’ and perform poorly on those platforms. For more info on when to use certain image types check out our 3d product rendering page.

A 3d rendering of a black track light product by efficient lighting systems

The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text.

Image Composition

If you want successful images, the basic rules of good image composition must be followed. We use things like symmetry, balance, colour, rule of thirds, golden ratio, depth of field, simplicity and negative space to build a successful image that guides the viewers eye to where we want it. Well composed, eye pleasing images will hugely outperform poorly composed images. This is particularly important in product lifestyle shots where its vital to use composition to tell a story and draw the viewers in.

A photoreal 3d rendering of a marble side table sitting next to a beige lounge chair in a living room

Some more stats…

The use of data and metrics to analyse sales and marketing campaigns has been around since marketing campaigns began. But as traditional marketing platforms make way for newer variations, the importance of visual elements has increased dramatically. Here are a few more interesting statistics that help solidify this notion and provide insight into the various image types and uses:

The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text.

63% of social media is made up of images.

Posts containing videos get 38% more engagement than images on instagram.

Brands post on average 1.5 times per day.

Images with blue as the dominant colour get 24% more likes than images with red as the dominant colour.

85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound.

Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.

When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later

Conclusion

Strategic image making is a powerful skillset which in our opinion is underutilised by the vast majority of brands and marketers. Given that huge proportions of marketing platforms are made up of imagery, its surprising that the science of those images hasn’t been scrutinised in more depth in order to achieve better results. At Harp, image making is our entire life, so we take it incredibly seriously. And if we can squeeze out any performance advantages for our clients by carefully analysing our image making process, then thats a win.

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