Have you ever heard the term visual literacy? It’s the ability to interpret what an image is saying; to one degree or another, we all are capable of doing this.
Using visuals to relay a message– and relay it correctly– is no easy task. It takes days to script, schedule, shoot, and edit it. So why is it important, now more than ever, to tell a large portion of your story visually?
Let’s see what an image looks like when it isn’t saying anything and when it is. Below are two frames from separate videos. Which do you think is saying something? Which isn’t?
What do you think? Is it the top image, being mostly empty with no inherent action happening? Is it the bottom image, showing a closeup with no reference to the string or man’s face?
In reality, both images are saying something to you.
Because of this truth, we need to not only make sure to utilize imagery which helps say what we want, we need to make sure our visuals say what we mean. As humans, there is an inherited empathy towards visuals that we cannot recreate with words alone; we are missing an important opportunity to connect with our audience if we try and tell rather than show.
Let’s look at these images again and see what each is saying. The first image depicts a foundation of new growth and successful agriculture. The second image creates a sense of disconnection, gives a feeling of loneliness, and sets a stage for the scene and what our audience can expect from it.
1. In today's age, we have an overload of imagery. We process information quickly and barely stop to read or listen unless that imagery connects with us on a deeper personal level.
2. Think back to the last article or video you clicked on. The audio wasn’t playing until you clicked on it, the title may have described what it’s for, but wasn’t the image why you stopped to read that title in the first place?
3. Our attention spans are limited due to all of this content overload. We have only the few seconds it takes to scroll past a post or to flip the channel to catch our viewer’s attention.
Your imagery has the power to be a driving voice in telling your story, but only if you are intentional in every frame shown and make sure each is telling the right story.
What are you saying without words?
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