We have to confess that we sometimes smile at photography mistakes we see in newspapers or magazines. But when it comes to our own photo selection and placement in our marketing materials, we know having a second set of eyes is crucial to avoid mistakes like the ones below.

Photo selection and placement fail: wrong leaf on canada flagAn editor at Britain’s Guardian newspaper placed this photo on the Guardian website to illustrate a story about Canadian multiculturalism. It certainly had the right colors for the Canadian flag and it sure looked like the Canadian flag. But that leaf in the middle? Upon closer inspection it is decidedly NOT the maple leaf of the Canadian flag, but alas, the leaf of the cannabis plant. According to Guardian Deputy Editor David Shariatmadari, the flag photo “was labeled wrongly in our picture database” and the rest “was human error.”

  • DO always check photos, illustrations and other graphics for accuracy, as closely as you check words to make sure they are spelled and used correctly.
  • DON’T assume that stock photographs or photographs supplied by clients are labeled correctly.
  • DO have a second person review all photos and images before they are published or posted.

And it’s not just photos themselves that need a double check.  Their placement can also cause problems, as seen in the images below:

photo selection and placement fail photo selection and placement fail

Was Frosty the Snowman thumpetty thump thumping alongside Dr. King in the March on Washington, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer? Is the Brampton Guardian alleging that The Bumble and Pooh natural born killers? You might think so if you saw these headlines and the photos that appear to accompany them, but of course this is not the case.

  • DON’T place a headline directly over or under an unrelated picture without weighing the overall impact on the page.
  • DO consider the effects of juxtaposition when your publication or website includes information about many different topics. Humor is good; unintentional humor, not so much.

Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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