Readers Continue to Like Good Pictures of People

John le Carre, by Annie Leibovitz, in the October 2017 Vanity Fair.

Researchers looked at 1.1 million photos on Instagram and found that pictures with human faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes than photos with no faces.

The study, conducted by researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs, is one of the first to examine how photos with faces drive engagement on large-scale, image-sharing communities.

—From Futurity Today, a website that features research news from universities.
This is not news to the editors of People magazine, who have made their magazine successful by staying focused on good pictures of people. Its circulation is still more than 3.4 million and readers pay $90 a year to subscribe. Lots of great people pictures helped Graydon Carter make Vanity Fair a success.

If it’s that simple, you’d think more editors would look for good close-ups of people. Yet it’s surprising how few great face shots you now see in magazines. It’s almost as if it’s too simple.

Editors and designers do get bored—let’s try something new. Designers like showing off. But if you’re an editor who wants likes from readers, keep it simple: Show them more great pictures of people.

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