Monday, September 18, 2017

The Power of Images and Videos to Share your Story

Local Guide in Chesterfield Inlet Nunavut
In today’s fast paced world of technology and visual overload, it’s hard for a tourism destination to stand out among all the noise.  Amanda recently attended the EyeEm Photo Awards in Berlin that showcases some of the world’s most talented photographers/visual storytellers and she was inspired by what images grabbed the most attention.

Surely images with beautiful landscapes, sunsets, and waterfalls draw you in, but it’s the images that trigger an emotion or tell a story that make the viewer want to learn more. One of the photographers was a street photographer from New York that become famous from showing “real” unscripted photos of locals that focused on a more authentic, strange, and interesting side of New York.  His photos made you laugh, or become confused, or question what was going on… they were memorable in a very unique way that triggered the urge to start conversations and want to learn more.  That summarizes the power a single image can have.

When it comes to promoting your tourism product, your brand, and/or your community it’s important to showcase the real story behind your community and its people but leave room for interpretation for a potential client to insert their own take or be able to visualize themselves in that experience. For example, one of CES’s photographers recently travelled up to Chesterfield Inlet Nunavut to capture images and video footage that shared the community’s story. A simple activity of making a cup of tea out on the land turned into the main story behind the video because of the willingness of the local guide to invite people in to experience a moment with him through photos and videos.  As a viewer you feel as though you are right there in that experience and you instantly want to learn more.  Nothing was particularly special about this experience, but it was authentic and unscripted, therefore it provided you with a real human experience.  Check out Chesterfield Inlet’s new website and video at  

Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut

It’s very easy nowadays to notice when images are scripted and staged – it feels too perfect and beautiful. Similar to the New York photographer’s images, the newest trends in imagery is to want things that look different, perhaps weird or strange, and at the same time intriguing.  Images of a beautiful model posing in front of a waterfall or at a scenic viewpoint don’t really tell a story… so you may end up attracting clientele that doesn’t really want to interact with locals or have a real experience. So this brings up the question – what type of visitors (tourists) do you want to attract?  How do you want your tourism business and/or community’s brand portrayed? What and who do you want to highlight?

Those are all great starting points to ask yourself before hiring a photographer or taking the photos and videos yourself.  Images have the potential to drastically set the stage for your brand image and assist in determining who you will attract to your destination. Another strong tip or word of advice for the images that you use to promote your tourism experiences, is to not be afraid to get your visitors to show their own perspectives and takes.  For example, in Sooke BC, they promote photography contests on Istagram that showcase what they love about the region. They offer prizes for the winner, which support local businesses, and at the same time they get a wide range of different people, perspectives, and images that share stories about the region. So there are a bunch of creative ways that you can have a large database of authentic images that assist in sharing your destination’s story.

Amanda sharing a "moment" with a Mistissini local

To summarize the power of images and videos to help share your destination’s story, here are some useful tips:
  • Be authentic and don’t be afraid to be real
  • Promotional photos/videos don’t have to be scripted and beautiful
  • Develop your brand strategy and define who your clients are and who you want to attract
  • Empower your visitors (tourists) to share their perspectives and images to help tell your story

Where to get started…

If you are new to tourism or want to have some guidance in sharing your tourism business/community’s story using images, CES offers a free one-on-one coaching session with you on where to start.  For more details contact or call us at 1-877-444-5550.