Over the last 10- 15 years there has been emerging some interesting science on the affects of human emotions that are picked up by our sub-conscious. The more I studied this research the more I began to understand why some images work and others just don’t. In the current economy you have to first be able to grab the attention of your prospects and then once you have their attention you can then start to build credibility that will eventually lead to a sale. This is vitally important in understanding why some of your images will help you and others will leave you in the middle of the pack with the thousands of other marketing messages that we pass by everyday without a 2nd thought.
A little background on this science:
According to Dr. Daniel Goleman, there are 2 sections of the brain, in which he calls the High Road and the Low Road. The High road is the part of the brain that is rational and logical. It’s the side of the brain that tells you during a horror movie that its just a movie and there is no such thing as The Swamp Thing. Then there is the low road in our brains. This pathway in our brain acts like our lungs and our hearts, in that it works without us consciously thinking about making it work. And this is were the science get interesting.
This low road in the brain will act on emotional ques that we pick from others and the affects of those emotions can linger in our own emotions for sometimes hours after the initial experience. I can think of a number of times in my life where I have encountered a person whom is just rude, and the worst part our high road brains can’t rationalize why they are being so rude and then I am left with this awkward and upset feeling for hours afterwards dwelling on this nasty encounter. This is the low road reading the emotional ques from that person and then adjusting our conscious in a way designed to protect us. We too then become on edge looking for dangers etc. This was a great survival tool as the human species evolved, it helped us to adjust our senses and mood to the scene to ensure our security.
How does this apply to our imagery:
These studies found that when people where shown a series of portraits all including different human emotions that the images that were shown to have sad, angry or unpleasant expressions left the viewer with negative feelings towards that individual. Where the opposite was also true. The viewers that saw the positive emotional portraits, a few mins later when asked how they perceived the individual in a new portrait of that individual with a more upsetting expression; the viewers still felt positively about this individual regardless of this new negative emotion they just viewed. What’s more interesting is that the viewers would without knowing it mimic the facial expressions in the portraits they viewed.
This is when I then started to understand why some images in commercial imagery work and others don’t. We all see lot of the typical emotionless blank stares of high fashion models in editorials. I even see a lot of people taking these types of portraits daily of their clients to show off their work. The issue with these images? There is no emotional connection. We as viewers pick up this “Blue Steel” expression and then our low road adjusts our mood accordingly, IE neutral and indifferent.
The images that work and grab the attention of the viewers are images of real human expression. What’s more important is the images of people with positive expressions. Not only does this positive image reflect positively in the viewers subconscious leaving a positive impression of you and your brand with that individual. You have now stepped your brand out of the pack and grabbed the attention of the viewer. The 1st step in marketing in the world today.
The takeaway, stop using the “Blue Steel” pose with your clients or yourself and start creating imagery with positive emotions to leave a positive subconscious impression and pull yourself out from the marketing mud.
Leave me a comment of the times where you have experienced this Low Road working and how it impacted you.
If you would like to discuss how we can make images of your and your brand to leave a positive subconscious impression and pull you out of the marketing mud, please email me at Clint@LathamJrPhotography.com or call me at 720-205-2973
And remember start living for Monday!