Picture guidelines: Selecting an image

The message of an image is essential, and why we use pictures in the first place. In general, these are things to consider when choosing a picture for Visitnorway:

  • Images on Visitnorway must reflect the values of the site; real, fresh, adventurous and open-minded.
  • Stand-alone images should create a WOW-effect, evoke emotions and convey that this could only be Norway and nowhere else.
  • Where there is more than one image there should be a variation in the topic that reflects the unique aspects of Norway, i.e. in a brochure show nature AND culture, food AND activities.
  • Focus on spectacular fjords, coastal landscapes, mountains, and selected natural treasures such as the midnight sun, northern lights, etc.
  • Highlight accessibility of these core experiences, by showing roads, cars or other hints of infrastructure that make sites accessible.
  • Use images of local people or tourists as appropriate for the context.
  • Portray Norway as a country with a unique culture, history and tradition, and with a sociable, warm and active people.
  • Show all seasons to highlight great variation and unique experiences all year round.
  • Interaction between tourists and local people is especially important. In typical/traditional settings, reinforce “norwegianness” by featuring local people.
  • Show coastal cities, towns and villages, including their cultural offerings.
  • Lots of seafood and other specialties in natural and social settings.

Please note that for front page slideshows there is an image pool from which all pictures must be sourced. No pictures may be used in front page slideshows unless they are either already in the pool, or approved for inclusion in the pool by Frederik or Hans Petter.

Some examples:







Suitability for Visitnorway

Consider the effect a picture has in terms of emotions, not only what it actually shows and says.

The pictures below essentially SAY the same thing, but their ability to appeal to emotions are vastly different. Though the theme, nature and environment is the same, the picture on the left does not in any way appeal to emotions about experiencing what it shows. The picture on the right, however, does this quote well, even though it may be slightly unrealistic at the same time.


A picture may be slightly better than another, but less suitable for use on Visitnorway. For instance:


The picture on the left is a dramatic and well composed photograph of a waterfall, and in itself a slightly better picture than the one on the right, if we disregard use and context. For use on a Visitnorway site, however, the picture on the right is far superior, as it shows accessibility and interaction, while its other qualities are nearly as good as those of the picture on the left.

In both cases, the best picture to use is the one that says you, too, can experience this!

Some tips:

  • Avoid using images where people’s backs are turned to the camera. This is often perceived as dismissive.
  • Try to use pictures that contain people, if at all possible. Pictures devoid of people are often seen as lonesome and emotionally cold.
  • Try to use pictures that depict an activity. This will make the picture seem more alive, and will also serve as an example of what can be done where the picture was taken.
  • Try to find pictures that can serve two purposes, ie portray both an activity and a location, etc.
  • Avoid gory and bloody pictures of fishing and hunting.
  • People in pictures should be using helmets when biking and life preservers when in small boats. Appropriate safety gear should be worn in all pictures.
  • Avoid showing alcoholic brand names and logos.
  • Risky behaviour should not be shown in pictures.
  • Dangerous animals such as polar bears should not be shown unless absolutely necessary, as we do not wish tourists to approach them.

Also, make sure that images used to link to articles are the same. When a reader clicks on an image, he/she should find that same image where they are going. This is important to make the reading experience as smooth and predictable to the reader as possible.