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Technical Writers’ Companion

When showing your product, you can use either a photo or a drawing. No matter which way of presentation you choose: Be consistent. Standardize your types of images. Always use the same type of image for the same purpose. Don’t show the same object alternately as a photo and as a drawing, but stay with the display mode once chosen.

It cannot be generally said whether photos or drawings are more effective. Both have their specific strengths. However, along with the growing popularity of instructional videos on the internet, photos are gaining preference—in particular among younger audiences.

In general:

Use a photo to show great detail and when your audience may have trouble interpreting a drawing.

Use a drawing to reduce the amount of detail, or to show details selectively, or to show hidden details.

A drawing must be simple for its strengths to outweigh those of a photo. If you can’t make a drawing simple, better use a photo if you can.

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