Super-sensory photos: how to use images to be engaging on even the smallest of screens

As we continue to integrate digital screens into our lives, images are becoming smaller and we’re facing an increasing demand for engaging, sensorial imagery that draws the viewer into the screen.

Imagery is turning toward more immersive details in order to become “super sensory". High-impact visual content is a necessity as more people use mobile devices as their primary window through which they view the world. High-definition, close crops, and unexpected points-of-view in imagery provide vivid visions that blaze and engage all of our senses.

Smaller frames love bigger pictures – they allow for a more intimate engagement with images of nature, portraits, and abstract designs. But the super sensory trend is also about content, not just composition. The more digital we are, the more we romanticize the experiential and the unplugged. Imagery that is up-close, personal, and visceral lures us in – helping us to forget the glowing rectangle between it and us, even if only for an instance.

In this story, Getty Images provides tips on how using sensorial imagery can increase audience engagement.

Download this image: Nails and food

Though based in still life, food imagery is dynamic and can pop on the screen through the use of close-up and interesting points-of-view.

Download this image: Honeycomb

Powerful food imagery can immerse an audience in the sensory experience of eating.

Download this image: Teenager eating fried egg sandwich

Immersive imagery helps the audience get lost in the experience, evoking tastes, textures and scents.

Download this image: Pouring milk on a bowl of cornflakes

Go beyond the power of the mind and traditional thought processes. Aim for your visual content to engage all of the senses to create a powerful and meaningful reaction for the viewer. 

Download this image: Family watching elephants

Offer a first-person perspective. No other viewpoint can offer such a genuine feel; technology innovations such as Oculus and GoPro are helping to push these boundaries.

Download this image: Man reading book on beach, close up

Contemporary travel imagery should offer inspiration, intrigue, and mystique ­– leaving the viewer wanting more.

Download this image: Mundari girl amongst the herd

Use imagery to invite consumers to partake in an experience that will extract them from their day-to-day realities.  

Download this image: Kos island, Greece

Luxury itself is sensory. Immersive imagery conjures the same sensations we feel as if we are experiencing it firsthand.

Download this image: Woman tasting pomgranate seeds

Engage the senses by showing part of the whole. This allows the audience to imagine the full experience through its own sensory lens.

Download this image: Long brown button-back sofa against green wall

Getty Images Prestige

Getty Images' editors, art directors and photographers have come together to produce an exceptional series of images. As well as using their practiced curatorial eyes, the creatives behind the selection have analysed the millions of searches and sales that have taken place on the Getty Images website over the past year – and commissioned, shot and curated photography to fulfil the needs behind these requests and the underlying visual trends that drive them.

Prestige images are also available for exclusive licence, so their use can be as unique as the photos themselves.