Illustrate the
Pictures speak louder than words, and
illustrations speak louder than pictures. Fill
your newsletter with illustrations—not
decorations, but photographs, artwork, and
diagrams that clarify your message and
transmit your publications style.
With the advent of digital cameras
and powerful editing software, perhaps the
easiest way to illustrate your publication is to
shoot custom photographs. Remember,
illustrations are more than pictures; they are
pictures that, ideally, make your message
more understandable. A head-and-
shoulders photograph of a person works,
but a shot of the same person in the place
your article describes works better.
Advertising pioneer David Ogilvy once
said, The kind of photographs which work
hardest are those which arouse the reader’s
curiosity. He glances at the photograph and
says to himself, What goes on here?’ Then he
reads your story to find out.” You can
compose illustrative photographs, too.
Instead of a child holding a doll to
illustrate child abuse, show the child
standing in the shadow of an adult.
Instead of a head-and-shoulders shot of
the newly appointed coach, pose her
juggling a volleyball, basketball, and
baseball. Rather than a straight, smile-for-
the-camera shot of accountants around a
meeting table, pose them in front of a
vault door.
If you don’t want to shoot photo-
graphs yourself but you need a custom-
ized shot, consider hiring a photographer
to shoot them for you. Some photogra-
phers charge an hourly rate, and some
charge by the project. Be sure to under-
stand who owns the rights to the speci-
fied and future use of the photographs
you commission. Some photographers
will assign all rights to you, others want to
retain them, but most will negotiate.
If you don’t have the time
for shooting your own photographs, there
are plenty of places to acquire stock and
royalty-free photographs. Generally
speaking, stock photographs are licensed
for specific uses. The license is based on
criteria such as the type of publication it
appears in and the number of copies that
are printed. On the other hand, once you
pay the license fee for a royalty-free
photograph, you can use it just about any
way and anywhere you want.
In either case, stock or royalty-free
images, you only license the use of the
image, you do not own the copyright. Be
sure to read the fine print of any license
agreement so there are no surprises after
you have your newsletter printed.
There are many excellent sources of
stock and royalty-free photographs on the
World Wide Web. Some examples include,,,,

Get Design-it-Yourself Graphic Workshop now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.