Power of the Photo

Photo: Robert Cooke (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo: Robert Cooke (Creative Commons Flickr)

How important is an on-line photo? That is the question. See, I’ve been thinking about the Before and After weight loss pictures that Robin Helm posted the other day. The number alone–36 pounds–is impressive. But those images, they tell a powerful story. Photos make Robin’s journey  personal.

Social media being personal–who knew? In my professional life, I avoid photos. Can you blame me? As a teacher, I never escape the Dreaded School Picture. Every year, the most attractive and energetic faculty members–even those who are young–turn out looking tired, bless them. Of course we’re tired! Who wants to immortalize that in the yearbook?

edna-ferber-quotes“Would you like an author photo on the back of the book?” my publisher once asked. My answer was an immediate No. Who cares what the writer looks like? Readers are interested in story. They can get to know me in the pages of my books.

But social media is a different breed of animal, and the experts say that the photo matters. You won’t find one on my book covers, ever (most sales are e-books anyway), but I have reluctantly put my picture on my About page here. For my Laura Hile blog, it’s in the top right corner. Because social media is personal. It’s about making connections.

Why did I choose the picture with the person in it?

Why did I choose the business with a person in the photo?

Which brings me to another reason for this post, the Firewood Guy.  Yesterday I went shopping for wood on Craigslist. I wanted free delivery, a middle-of-the-road price, and an outfit that was a genuine business. Photos helped me out! Some of the sellers were obviously offering wood that had been sitting in the backyard for years. Spiders and mice? No thanks.

Laura-Hile-smIt wasn’t until after we ordered the wood that I realized I’d chosen a business with a person in the photo.  Weird, huh? The social media thing again. We do business with humans, not just product.  The mounds of wood promoted the each business, but seeing a friendly Firewood Guy influenced me to buy from him.

I still don’t like to share photos on-line, though I enjoy seeing other people’s. Hey, no fair, you say. And you’re right. So here’s a photo of me. It was taken at Crater Lake when the lighting was j-u-s-t right.

darcy-by-any-other-name-smAlmost forgot! The Calico Critic’s e-book giveaway is still going on. Stop by before October 8, 2016, and enter to win a Kindle copy of Darcy By Any Other Name. Here’s the link. And, ha, a photo of the book cover too.

Laura Hile (1)

6 thoughts on “Power of the Photo

  1. Gayle Mills

    I think you’re on to something here. In a world that’s become increasingly impersonal, we crave a personal connection. We buy magazines that are intrusive to the point of being stalkerish to find out the “inside scoop” on the “stars of TV and film. Politicians are certainly not immune either. Strangely enough, the people who most invite our attention become the ultimate victims of it.

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    1. Laura Hile

      We humans will hog all the dessert, too, if left to ourselves. The public seems to have no “off button” for scandal and gossip, and of course the celebrity-expose television shows are happy to keep us fed. SIGH

      As for photos, I know how I’ve enjoyed seeing the faces of bloggers–who were previously without an image–when it is added to the sidebar. Weird, huh?

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  2. Robin Helm

    Social media has become so intrusive that my younger daughter has left Facebook and Twitter entirely. She visits Instagram but rarely posts. Her husband’s years of being under the microscope taught her that people on social media can be very cruel. Anyone in the spotlight is fair game for ridicule, unkind words, and judgment. They recently visited us, but I didn’t post it. I may do some pictures during the holidays.

    She and my older daughter severely restrict what I am allowed to post about them. I’m as proud of my grandchildren as anyone else, but I’m not allowed to post many pictures. People were sharing pictures I put up. My granddaughters were being seen by people we don’t know, and there are dangerous folks out there.

    I like social media. It’s a good way to keep up with my friends and make new ones. I enjoy reading their news and seeing their pictures. I’m amazed that my husband truly likes Facebook. He’s on it every night.

    It’s like nearly everything else – good in moderation.

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    Reply
    1. Laura Hile

      You have smart daughters, Robin.

      Woe to anyone who finds him or herself in the media spotlight. Cloaked in cyber anonymity, people think they can say any cruel thing, without a thought for the other person’s feelings. “Remember the human” is an old-time netiquette rule that has gone flying out the window.

      As for photos, I was reading an article the other day about an author (Lauren Layne) whose photos and identity were stolen on Facebook–and Facebook basically did nothing until forced to.

      Why I’m Shutting Down my Facebook Author Page

      Like you, I enjoy social media, but am also aware of the dangers. My sons don’t like me saying too much about them.

      I think I need to get a cat.

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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