How Can You Attract More Visitors to a Destination?

Stage photos strategically.

A brochure promoting a self-guided tour of Roosevelt Island, my New York City neighborhood, touts its expansive vistas. Yet the accompanying photo is a promenade without a single person taking in the fabulous view of the skyline.

Who wants to go to a place where there are no people?

Consider the examples in the left column, similar to those used in the brochure. Not one of the photos features people enjoying themselves in the setting, while those in the right column do. Which shot makes you wish to visit?

This Month’s Tip

Photos of a destination appear barren and forlorn without visitors. Putting people in photos will attract and retain the reader’s attention. It will lead her to imagine herself on the scene and ideally prompt a visit to your destination.

When possible, take your own photos and have participants sign a release. This free standardized form is valid in the specified state. Visitors may be willing to pose for you, but it may be easiest to recruit employees and family members to participate in the photograph. When children are to be featured, follow the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

When stock photos are used, note that the business that owns the image may place limitations on the format or medium where an image is incorporated (brochure, website, advertising), period of time (one year or unlimited) and geography (domestic or international). Here is a basic primer. A sales rep at a stock photo agency or a graphic designer will guide you.


Have visitors and customers fled the scene in your photos? Make sure the images on your website and in your printed materials are appropriately populated. Contact me at, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s put a smile on your reader’s face when she sees a person in your photos.

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(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Photo credits:
L: Roosevelt Island Promenade (Credit:; R: East River Promenade (Credit: NYC Parks)
L and R: Eleanor’s Pier (Credit: Roosevelt Islander Online)
L: Four Freedoms Park (Credit:; R: Four Freedoms Park (Credit: Rob Cleary)