How To Best Use Photos In Printed Materials

Business Cards

Business cards are a great place to start to use photos. Go into this with the intension of actually getting them out into the world and not just having them on hand when needed. Depending on the type of business you are in it might be worth getting a new set for each new collection, season, or quarter to keep things updated. Try creating a layout that uses multiple photos of your work, your logo, and contact information. You can, and probably should, also have a card that does not have any photos but is your standard card you use all the time. It might be worth thinking of the photo business card as pocketable, visually oriented and descriptive, postcard.


A postcard is a great way to put a selection of photographs to use in a neat and engaging layout. A postcard does not ever need to be sent to anyone, think of it more as a reference to a general size of a piece of printed promotional material. These are a great place to showcase a particular project, a product line, various aspects of your business, or a single photograph that represents your business. You will also want to include some degree of contact information, even if it is simply your logo and website address. Though they would not have the same layout, you could think of a photo based postcard or business card as playing the same role in different sizes and shapes. These are of course a few of the many creative possibilities that can come about through the use of photographs in printed layouts.


Moving on up in detail and size, along comes the brochure. People expect to learn, gain insight, or become curious about your business when they read through a brochure you have created. You can use a lot of photographs to illustrate the ideas behind your business, with a greater amount of text to bring it all together. Brochures are an opportunity to really engage with a potential client. You can use the experience of reading though the brochure to your advantage. The united efforts of graphics, photos, and text can lead a reader on a journey as they unfold and flip over the brochure.



Another great opportunity to really engage a clients’ attention is through some kind of booklet, be it a catalog, portfolio, look book, or a couple of pages on a single product line or service your business offers. You can still create a journey through the layout with the arrangement of photographs, text, and other graphic elements. A journey and story that tells clients what is important to you, and what you will provide them with. This could also be for a purely practical purpose of illustrating individual aspects of your business in a systematic way. You will want to create new ones for each new season, quarter, product line, or any kind of offering. This booklet does not need to be large or have hundreds of pages that take hours to arrange and finalize, you can keep it simple and to the point. 

How To Best Compose Multiple Photos Together, In 3 Ways


A great starting place to bring together multiple photographs is to utilize a grid. This could be a simple arrangement of photographs of the same orientation and aspect ratio in a two by two, three by three, or any number of photos by any other number of photos. Or you can take the layout further, arranging the photographs on an unseen grid that holds together the layout but can utilize photographs of different aspect ratios (1:1, 3:2, 4:5, etc.) and orientations (vertical or horizontal). There is a considerable amount of freedom allowed by utilizing a grid, but the constraints that do exist really help create a cohesive layout. This underlying grid can also help integrate text within the layout alongside the photographs.  



Putting a photograph within a shape is a great way to go beyond the grid. The shape may be as simple as a circle or a complex repeating geometric pattern. Shapes are a great way to utilize a logo or graphic element that goes with a your branding. The arrangement of these shapes, holding photographs, can take on a structured grid like form or carefully composed freeform composition integrated with text and other graphic elements. There is a wide array of creative possibilities when it comes to using shapes, probably too many. There should be intension behind your decision to go with this approach, especially if it can be seen and understood.   



Ditching the grid and confining shape approaches all together leads you down the path to a place where all rules and structure can seem to be thrown aside. At the end of that path you can see a nearly infinite array of possibilities when you take on a collaged approach to utilizing multiple photographs. You can take a cut and paste approach, as rough or refined as is appropriate. You can simply overlap multiple images in a manner that gets across the ideas you want to express with the combined photographs. With this approach, you can bring together various elements of varying size, color, texture, and perspectives in unique ways that can help tell the narrative of your photographs.