Hero Images That Sell

A Marketers Guide to Commercial Art

”Commercial art isn’t art – it’s art that sells, communicates, and reinforces brands. If your artists don’t get this, get rid of them.”

- Chris Nuzzaco

Who is this Dude? Why Listen to Him?

That’s a great question! I’m a commercial photographer, currently living and working in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. I have over 12 years of full-time professional experience working in the industry. My clients have spanned small fashion boutiques to major corporations with $20K+ advertising photo shoot budgets. In short, I’ve seen and done a lot, and I think I have some great pointers and perspective you can use to improve your return on investment when creating hero images. Beyond my background in art and photography, I’ve also spent a serious amount of time studying marketing and sales. Unlike other commercial artists, I don’t just want to create great looking images, I want help build my clients brand. I want my work to elevate their sales and achieve their campaigns goals. If you’re working with an artist who isn’t asking probing questions about your goals and planned use of an image – you’re working with the wrong artist.

Commercial photographer and author of this article, Chris Nuzzaco.

The What and Why of Hero Images – A Quick Primer

For those not in the know or needing a refresher, hero images are more than full page images used on website home pages. They are any image created to promote a product or service with the goal of creating a specific impression in the mind of the viewer. This can take the form of a landing page image, billboards, backlight displays, product packaging images, in-store displays, etc. There are two primary impressions marketers should be aiming for: favorable view of their brand and desire to take some form of action. A well designed hero image should ideally prompt both of these, but it’s perfectly possible to aim for only one or the other. Outdoor image campaigns come to mind – they really do not prompt any action from the viewer, but they do reinforce a brands visual aesthetic and ideals. Hero images are very valuable assets, but only if produced correctly. Having shot many hero images during my career, I’ve also witnessed the fallout of hero images that were poorly pre-produced. I’ll shoot what a client wants, but I’ve learned from watching the deployment of my work over the last decade that there are five major mistakes made during pre-production, which I now explore with clients prior to shooting what they request.

“You need more than an artist – you need an ally – someone who’s in your corner and understands that desired results should dictate all creative decisions.”

1) Undefined Goal

What is your goal? This question can go pretty deep and needs to be explored carefully. As I mentioned above, hero images have two major functions, brand reinforcement, or prompting user action.

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