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Susan Says®

Using Photos to Attract Blog Readers

In a recently reposted essay, Joel Friedlander of book design fame extols the virtues of utilizing snappy photographs to grab readers’ interest. I heartily concur.

In my eleven years of blogging at Pension Risk Matters®, followed by Good Risk Governance Pays® and now I Paint With Words®, I have included an image in nearly every write-up. A visual can sometimes be more evocative of an idea or feeling than words alone. A selection can enhance the central message even when it’s not directly related to the subject at hand. To reinforce my commentary about building trust, I embedded an illustration of a giraffe atop an elephant with the latter walking across a tightrope. The image is colorful, whimsical and, from what website visitors tell me, different enough to merit a second look.

When someone reads a book, they often draw from their experience or don their imagination hat. The same thing is true for authors. I’ve never been to Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka but the captivating streaks of orange and purple at sunrise shown here make it easy to weave a tale about adventure or finding one’s self at the end of a windy mountain path.

I’m reminded of a movie scene from “Shadows in the Sun” by Brad Mirman. Harvey Keitel plays a famed genius who is on hiatus since his wife died. He is visited by a younger writer who wants him to create anew. It’s late afternoon and the protégé mutters “The sun dropped” as they look out over the Italian hills. His mentor counters with aplomb. “The sun set slowly, igniting the sky in fiery shades of red and orange. In the distance, dark clouds rolled over the horizon, riding the summer winds. Soon, day would give way to night, and with it would come the silence that washed over everything.” In this passage, there is a beautiful coming together of what the artist sees with his eyes and feels with his heart.

As any writer knows, being able to tell a good story is everything. If an image helps, we’re all better off. As I’m writing my first screenplay, I track in my mind’s eye how I think each scene should appear. It’s a solid technique that works for many. Why buck the trend?
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