Simple answer yes, and not only SEO, but also for enhanced user engagement and conversions. Within SEO well optimised images will not only help Google to understand the specific focus of your page but will also enable people to find your content who are undertaking an image search.
Google's search is a universal search concept returning all media in its search results. Given that often images are at the top of its listings and typically there are many fewer images used in content it can be an easier way to jump the rankings than with page content.
The three areas to consider are: