Pictures are very important for our communication as we all know. But there are principal differences between what the function of the picture in the communication is. The picture can be a picture that is just communicating what it is showing. Or, the picture can communicate much more. Read on to learn the strong influence conceptual pictures can have.
Let us take a look at a picture of a lion. A lion is an animal and a picture of an animal should be a natural history picture. Animal pictures are very popular seen from the age of young children until we are in our oldest age. So nature photos are useful and in demand, just for what they are. There are beautiful shots of animals and other wonders of nature and we can appreciate them as a part of the beautiful world we are a part of.
But a picture of a lion doesn’t need to be just a wildlife picture of a lion. A lion picture can also be a conceptual picture. Conceptual pictures are pictures signaling concepts like strength, mother care, competition, fear, cooperation, speed etc.
If the nature photographer has been clever and lucky and shot a beautiful picture of a big male lion standing with all his brown hair in such a way that he is really looking strong and great, this is a conceptual picture of strength. When we see the picture we will of cause immediately understand that it is a good picture of a male lion but the associations we generate and the feelings that come up will be much more the strength aspect.
Immediately we can conclude that this mechanism gives the lion picture two possible ways of being used: as a nature photo of a male lion and as a conceptual image about strength.
In reality the conceptual image will have a much wider use, as we need to communicate the concept and feeling of strength in many different cases compared to the rather limited use for photos showing a male lion in Africa, in a zoo or in a wild animal park.
Conceptual pictures will have a potential number of applications that are unlimited, in commercials, advertisements, posters, in folders, in logos, in the branding of companies and even in more personal printings like greeting cards and the like.
A picture that is strong in one concept might also be related to other concepts. Our male lion in the photo could also be a conceptual picture related to ‘male’, depending of the context of the advertisement.
The more concepts a picture will be able to signal the more valuable will the picture be and the higher commercial potential will it have.