The Power of Photography, Videography and Graphics to Tell Your Story

Just over a year ago, in our January 2020 blog post we challenged you to tell your story

The Power of Photography, Videography and Graphics to Tell Your Story

A challenge renewed.
We said, “Leaders who can effectively harness the power of storytelling can build fiercely loyal customers and ignite passion and ingenuity in their employees.” 

This year, we are doubling down on our challenge: tell your story and harness the power of visual imagery to make it come alive. 

Images, be it still photos, video or graphics, are some of the most powerful tools at one’s disposal to communicate more effectively, engage more deeply and create longer lasting impressions. 

It’s not mere marketing speak, it’s science. The experts at the global design company, IDEO, explain the science behind the power of visuals in storytelling: “The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.” We work with our design team to explore the craft of storytelling because we believe visual language may be one of the most important languages of all.

The power of pictures.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” may feel like a dated and overused platitude, but it stems from a shrewd marketing strategy. According to Wikipedia, the modern use of the phrase is attributed to Fred R. Barnard, who used it in the advertising trade journal, Printers' Ink, to promote the use of images in advertisements that appeared on the sides of streetcars.

While he likely was not abreast of the brain science, Barnard intuitively understood that in order to communicate a lot of information in a few seconds, images are the key to success. As our world today inundates us with messaging, creating shorter and shorter attention spans, the use of visual images is more critical than ever.

Make them feel it.
In addition to communicating more in less time, visual images evoke emotion and facilitate empathy. Someone once said, “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Visual images make people feel.

Take the following examples: 

  • The exhilarating joy of V-J Day in the photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt that portrays a U.S. Navy sailor embracing and kissing a total stranger in Times Square on August 14, 1945.
  • The heart-wrenching devastation of people stranded on rooftops in New Orleans following hurricane Katrina in August 2005 captured in numerous photos and videos.
  • The heroic bravery of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman caught on video by HuffPost political reporter Igor Bobic as Goodman diverted dozens of rioters, preventing them from entering the Senate chamber. Officer Goodman received the Congressional Gold Medal.

In each of these examples, public perception of the story shifted due to the emotions the visual images evoked. The public engaged. That’s the power of photography, videography and graphics.

TEN|10 Group roundtable.
We asked our team of photographers and videographers to share a favorite image and the story it told. Here’s what they said.

Heidi Cies:

Combining of words and pictures to create. an infographic is a powerful approach to presenting complex information in an effective and efficient manner. Here we’re telling the story of how Stakeholder Midstream captures and sequesters CO2 and its environmental benefits in a visually meaningful way.



Gaylon Wampler:

I have long been fascinated with the power of a single image to move and persuade an audience. Coming up in newspapers helped hammer that point home for me. A dramatic photograph, displayed above the fold, and every newspaper rack would be sold out before noon. 

When I hit the ground for my clients, I begin the job with learning about what is happening, why it is happening and how it happens. Once I understand these facets, I can set my communication goals and start looking for “The Shot” that will best communicate the drama, beauty and story for the client’s audience. 

When I arrived on location to photograph a pipeline construction project, for Cardinal Midstream my escort in the field casually asked, “Do you want to see the bald eagle’s nest?” As it turns out, a nesting pair of bald eagles had made a home smack dab in the middle of the pipeline route. Cardinal didn’t hesitate to spend the extra money to relocate the pipeline so America’s national symbol could have the chance to increase its numbers in Oklahoma. 

My mind worked feverishly to illustrate this story and I knew an eagle was not going to land on the pipeline while I was looking. Later that day, I came across this scene of a pipeline construction site along with a caring face of the company. After spending time with these great folks, I knew the eagles would be in capable and caring hands and that is exactly what I wanted to illustrate.



Nicholas DeSciose:

If there is one thing I know about photography and videography, it is that the story finds you. I love photographing people and capturing all of the determination and pride they bring to their work. While the action is in the work and photographs are still, a dignified executive portrait can bring emotion and life to the story.

L-R: Andy Siegel, Vice President, Accounting & Controller, Meritage Midstream; Seth Richendifer, Vice President, Commercial & Land, Meritage Midstream


AJ Cies:

While it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, setting pictures in motion in a video tells an even more complete and compelling story. In this example, a powerful narrative comes to life, not only educating the audience about the benefits of the company, but also instilling in the viewer confidence in Profuel’s brand promise.

See more work from our photographers and video crews here.

And look for our next blog post for some thoughts about crisis communications.