Photography is an area of communications that
tends to be misunderstood -- and even under-rated -- by company
executives. Recently, with the popularity of inexpensive digital
cameras, this misunderstanding has deepened. In reality, professionally
planned and executed photography can play an essential role in a
company's corporate communications program, as well as its sales
Let's take a look at some situations where carefully planned photography
can help a company shape its image. A company communicates its image
in many different ways. Its logo is one way; its written material
is another way. Photography that displays executives, corporate
headquarters or products is yet another way. Before a company organizes
its first photo shoot, there should be a clear understanding of
the target audience(s). Is communication primarily to shareholders
and investors? To the general public? To customers?
Next step is to recognize ALL the potential uses for the shot BEFORE
the shoot is conducted. By planning, the same shoot can provide
images for your corporate brochure, sales spec sheets, trade show
booth graphics, ads and even the presentation used with the secondary
offering. By knowing eventual uses in advance, the photographer
can plan correctly before arriving at your office and provide exactly
what you need. A one-day shoot covering a variety of upcoming needs
is much less expensive than three or four partial day shoots when
you suddenly realize you didn't get all you needed in the original
shoot. One example: When shooting key company executives, plan on
two sets of clothing and varying angles, such as sitting and standing.
This will give you options in the months and years ahead. You will
pay slightly more for production costs; but even with licensing
fees for varying usage, your long-range value will be enhanced.
Companies that are concerned with maximizing corporate photography
follow the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. They have "standard" shots
(i.e. company officers, key products) ready to go, in both print
and digital formats. This lets them take advantage of opportunities
that suddenly present themselves, such as when your PR agency scores
that big media hit and the editor requests an immediate shot, or
when your marcom team is given a last-minute opportunity to place
an ad in the perfect trade publication at a very reduced cost. If
you are ready to go with photography, you’ll score big. Publications
today work with reduced staffs due to decreased ad revenue. This
means they need your photography more than ever, since many staff
photographers are gone. Companies ready to go get the most, and
Finally, let's look at digital photography compared to "traditional"
photography. Companies today grapple with whether they should request
professional photography or shoot digitally with a new, convenient
digital camera. Here are a few tips:
If the ONLY usage
is the company Web site, or the size required is "thumbnail,"
an in-house digital camera can work just fine. However, if the
shot needs to be used in any other printed medium, the resolution
and lighting may be inadequate; therefore, in-house digital should
be avoided and a professional should be consulted.
Any traditional shot
can be digitized through scanning the image. With technology advancing
so rapidly today, you must ensure you create the proper resolution;
check with the publication, graphic designer and printer
everyone involved with the final product.
utilizes many variables to achieve the ultimate quality required
for reproduction. Among these are lighting techniques, camera
and lens selection, camera format, film type and speed. Similarly,
quality digital photography also depends on lighting techniques.
However, the "maximum resolution" is determined at the
time of image capture by the camera, lens and sensor capabilities
rather than after the fact in the scanning process. Professional
photographers will offer a range of both traditional and digital
When in doubt, tell
your photographer EXACTLY how the photo will be used now
and in the future so the correct decision can be made.
Use an in-house digital camera ONLY when you do not care about
If you remember that bad photography
is as damaging to a company's image as bad writing, you will place
the proper emphasis on photography and use it to benefit, not harm,
your company's appearance to the world.
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Teresa Taylor is the principal of T. Taylor Photography, a 17-year-old
company based in Lake Forest, Calif., that specializes in providing
corporate photography to companies nationwide. Taylor can be reached
at (949) 461-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org,