Looking for an easy way to know how to combine images, photos and text? Most photos “point” in one direction or another, and you can take advantage of this when setting up your pages, whether they’re in print or on the web.
Look for Sight Lines
Sight lines are lines of motion within a photo. You can find them if you look at the shapes in a photo and try to pick out where major lines appear.
Let’s look at some examples. Can you see the sight lines?
If we look carefully at the photos above, we can see lines that lead in a specific direction. If we take into account that our culture reads from left to right and top to bottom, you can follow where the sight lines are pointing.
Use these sight lines to make sure your photos are “pointing” toward your most important text.
Let’s take one of the photos above and place it on a page to see what happens.
If we place the first image to the right of our text and headline, the viewer’s eyes will follow the photo right off the edge of the page.
That’s not what we want! We want to direct them to our most important information.
On this page, our most important text areas are the headline and the beginning of our article, which are the logical starting points for our reader.
What happens if we simply slide the image to the left?
Placing the image to the left sends the viewer’s eyes across the image and directly into the text we want them to read first.
We’re using the natural sight lines present in the image to encourage our reader to process our information in the order we prefer.
People and Critters Point, Too
Other photos have a different kind of sight line, and it’s created by the person — or animal — depicted in the photo.
If your photo shows someone looking toward a direction, or moving their bodies in a specific way, that will create a strong line of sight you can use in your layout, too.
Flip When Needed
Maybe you’ve found the perfect photo, but the line of sight isn’t working for where you want to place it in on your page. As long as the photo has no visible text showing, you can always flip it so it “points” in the opposite direction. Doing this will help the photo look like it’s engaged with your text and will direct your reader’s eyes toward where you’d like them to look.
Point Out the Obvious
When setting up a page, position your photos and graphics toward the area you most want your viewer to notice. On a web page, this might be the sign up box for your free e-course, or an ad for a product your company sells.
On a printed page, you might want the viewer’s eyes to go straight to your offer or the coupon you’d like them to use.
Either way, carefully positioning your images will give your text maximum impact, and will help point out what you’d like your reader to notice most.
Once in a while you need to use an image like this one. Good luck figuring out the sight lines here! Which way do you think they’re pointing? I’ll bet you can figure out my best guess by where I positioned it in this text.
Have you ever noticed that images “point?” Have you used this concept in your marketing materials? Do you have a question about this technique? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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