I have been both an article writer, submitting unsolicited manuscripts, and a magazine editor, and I can assure you that the acceptance rate of articles are much higher when they are accompanied by images. Candid images, or at least those that appear unposed, increase the rate dramatically. There is a lesson to be learned here for email marketing.
It is fair to say that the only reason I sent in candid images was that I found them effective. As an editor, I realised that they were a way of demonstrating an emotion, something that can be difficult to do subtly in text. This is doubly so for a marketing email as there are so few words.
If you look through stock images you will find that posed ones are much more prevalent than candid ones. That’s because the latter are time consuming to set up. Those supplying images for stock sites need to make a living and find it unreasonable to spend a lot of time on each.
We see a picture of a group of 30-somethings sitting around a table, laughing and enjoying dim sum with green tea. What could be more natural? Yet for some reason it often looks posed. If you can see it, so might those on your email marketing list.
Photographers avoid a cluttered background. If they are forced to have the scene in an office, the tables will be cleared and even then they will be so blurred as to make identifying the objects impossible.
I don’t know about your office, but mine has all sorts of rubbish spread around. Talking of pristine, don’t go for models made up to be blemish free. I don’t know about your face, but mine . . . The requirement is for the models to appear like the person sitting next to your subscriber when reading the marketing email.
It is not a case of looking for the imperfect. You need to identify the one that looks as if it has not been posed. The fact that it took the photographer a lot of work to achieve that is no concern of yours.