PetaPixel

What is it About Photographs That Makes People Click?

pinterestpopular

Why is it that some photographs go viral online while others are left by the digital wayside? Are there certain elements in photos that make them more “sharable” to Internet users?

Curalate, a company that creates social media analytics software, decided to tackle this question by analyzing the photographs published by brands to Pinterest.

The research was done on over half a million photographs gathered from the service. 30 different features were examined in the photos, including “presence of faces, texture, hue, saturation, lightness, brightness and aspect ratio.” Curalate then connected these features to the popularity of the images (e.g. likes, repins, and comments) in order to determine the things that make photos “sharable.”

One aspect was “color.” An interesting thing they found was that reddish-orange photographs are about twice as popular (based on “repins”) as photos that are blue:

bluered

Being “colorful” also helps a photo out. The study found that having multiple dominant colors helps a photo attract 3.25 times more shares than a photo with a single dominant color:

dominantcolor

Photos that are 50% saturated garner 10 times more shares than a very desaturated photo:

saturation

Darkness also works against photos: pictures that have medium lightness are 20x more sharable than very dark photos:

lightness

What about aspect ratio? What shapes are attractive to share? The Curalate found that vertical photographs with an aspect ratio between 2:3 and 4:5 received 60% more shares than photographs that are “very tall” (i.e. much taller than they are wide):

tall

Whether or not a photograph is textured and cluttered also plays a role. “Smooth” photos were found to see 17x more shares than “rough” ones:

smooth

Finally, faces are actually a negative thing if you’re a brand trying to make your photos go viral on Pinterest. Faceless photos are shared 23% more times than images that feature a human face:

face

Want to see the results of this study in infographic form? You can download one here.

(via Curalate via The Hired Guns via Reddit)


 
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  • jsjedwjkwe

    im more interested how food photographer achive this ultra clean and bright look.
    im not a complete newbie but i struggle to get this “pop” out of my images.

  • CC

    experiment with natural diffused daylight nearby a window. also reflectors help a LOT

  • http://dukemedia.com/ Peter Duke

    Interesting, but don’t forget that correlation does not always imply causation… the 3:2 ratio item pops up for me… aren’t most DSLRs 3:2 ratio? Wouldn’t there be a disproportionate number of 3:2 ratio photos on the Internet? Ergo 3:2 ratio photos dont portend clickability, but are an attribute that is oversampled by virtue of it’s popularity… just sayin’