Grant Johnson "Bottom-Line Approach to Sales and Marketing Success"



"Photography Can Help Companies Communicate A Strong Message"
Teresa Taylor, T. Taylor Photography

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 and marketing.

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 best, ink.

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.

• Traditional photography 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 solutions.

• 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 future uses.

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.

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, teresa@ttaylorphoto.com, www.ttaylorphoto.com.

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