The Eyes Have it: Why Good Photography Matters

Hali Tauxe

At his session today, “The Value of Professional Photojournalism,” General Counsel for the NPPA Mickey Osterreicher shared the findings of a Poynter study that used eye-tracking and other metrics to assess how people value photographs.  Participants were shown a number of photos taken by both professional and amateur photographers and asked to rate the extent to which they thought the image was good, and their likelihood to share it.

As Osterreicher put it, the results were “astute observation[s] of the obvious.” Viewers were most attracted to faces, and to photos that showed people interacting. They also spent a lot of time with well-developed captions.  They expressed appreciation for photos that showed intentionality and captured a story.  And here’s one for the cynics: Participants spent 50% more time looking at professional photos, and were trice as likely to share them.


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