Want to use a picture of a person in your marketing? Here’s how to make your choice.

Psychological and marketing studies tend to reveal similar results, which state that when you choose a picture for an advertising or publicity campaign look for: (Please don’t consider this sexist or get offended, it’s what the data says)

A picture of a woman (men prefer pictures of women, women don’t care, pictures of women win)

Mid to late 20’s (something about the age your mother was when you first saw her – things get real Freudian here…)

Attractive, though not necessarily sexy. Sexy turns women off, attractive appeals to both men and women.

Dressed nicely, but not sexy. Same rationale.

Smiling lightly, though not toothy grin. The best pictures are the ones where the model looks approving, like they’re happy with you, not hitting on you, more motherly “I’m so glad to see that you’re home!” looks that make you feel loved

Ideally her body should be turned to a bit of an angle to the camera

Most important – her eyes should be looking directly into the camera. The eyes are important. There’s something, particularly in men (eye-tracking research) that shows that our eyes are drawn to eyes that are looking at us. So a model looking into the camera (especially if her body is turned slightly so it appears that she is having to work a bit to look at the camera, tying back to the previous point) draws your eye to hers. Side point here – really focus on the eyes in your pictures. It’s possible to look at the camera without looking into the camera lens. You want them focused right on you. My friend describes it as “looking deep into your soul.”

In short, study your possible pictures carefully. You should feel your heart do a slight leap when you see the right one. If it does, you’ve got a winner.