I’ve noticed a trend over the last few months around the style of images bloggers and authors are using in their blog posts. I have been seeing the usual photos less and less, becoming more scarce in favour of highly stylised illustrations and text styling.
There are pros and cons in opting for illustrations over photos. Check out the lists below for a bit of info to help you decide what is right for you.
Illustration can be used as a clever way to extend the brand message and stand out a bit more in a highly saturated marketplace. While photos have limitations in terms of realism, illustrations and text styling have the ability to be more conceptual and creative. They aren’t bound by the same restraints.
Illustrations and text styling can be easier to produce, so long as you have the budget and a helper capable of translating your idea to pixels.
If you are opting for an illustrated text styling for your feature image then another pro is the extra communication value. A feature image like the one used on this post, for example, is more attention grabbing in a sea of images because it cries out it’s title.
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Photography tends to be the default medium of choice. Depending on how you attain the photo the price can be much cheaper than illustration. Options range from the high end area of recruiting a photographer, the low end of using your Instagram images, and the middle ground of using stock photography.
Photography can be great when the photo perfectly fits your post, some topics just need to have a real face put to it. For example if your content is about babies or puppies then not using a photo is a missed opportunity. Be careful though, because using photos run the risk of blending into the background with the rest of the posts or looking too “stocky”.
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There are some obvious feature image choices for certain topics. For a post about doodling you will obviously be using some sketches, for a post about the unlikely topic of what Mark Zuckerberg, President Barack Obama and Homer Simpson all have in common you will most likely use a photo of Mark Zuckerberg or Barack Obama.
There is no hard and fast rule for when to use which medium, but keep your options open. A good mix of the two can make for a very diverse looking blog, and you can decide over time which one your readers respond more to.