Often perceived as the preserve of high-end professionals, the very notion of ‘corporate’ photography is somewhat misleading.
Businesses of all sizes should be considering their photographic needs, not just multinational corporates. Professional service industries like solicitors, accountants, and brokers will likely always be at the top of the tree when it comes to demand but they are not the sole beneficiary.
The importance of an online (and offline) identity is paramount, no matter what your business sector or size. Restaurant owners, independent financial planners, publishers, personal trainers, musicians, tech companies – the list goes on.
Corporate photography has moved on a lot from the humble headshot, although granted it will always be a huge part of the genre. For a law firm the headshot will likely be the single most important aspect of its photography. But for a restaurant owner, probably not.
And this is where corporate photography is evolving. It’s about the wider image of the business – supporting the brand and being a crucial tool in your marketing.
So what can your business do in order to utilise its corporate photography effectively? I’ve outlined some key points below to help your business get the most of its next shoot.
1. Identify your message
For me, the single most important aspect of corporate photography is that it conveys a clear and consistent message. If the imagery on the website doesn’t quite chime with the business it will be immediately noticeable. What are you trying to say with your images? Who are you communicating to? What kind of response are you trying to elicit? If you have a clear idea in your own mind about what message your business is trying to convey, the rest will fall into place.
2. Research what you want, and what you don't want
It’s an obvious starting place but as a business owner you need to take control over the photography you need. Once you have determined the type of images you want then research the market thoroughly. Find a style that you like. Look at your competitors. Provide the photographer with not only examples of the shots that you like, but also the kind of shots you don’t like. Modern or traditional? Clear or abstract? International or local? In a studio or on location? What about colour schemes to complement your branding?
3. Think beyond the headshot
It’s no longer just about portraiture! Images of your latest products? Interior and exterior shots of your new premises? Maybe some documentary photography of a company event or awards ceremony? Stock photographs for your website? Prints for the walls?
It’s easy to think about the immediate job in hand. But what about the wider company brand? Step back and consider how the photography you need today will fit in with your business brand tomorrow. You build and develop your brand identity for sustainability and longevity; you should adopt the same thinking to your photographic needs.
5. Have a principal contact
At a more practical level, always pick one person to liaise with the photographer. Someone needs to be on hand to act as the coordinator before and on the day of the shoot. Delays occur. Plans might change at the last minute. Having a single point person to coordinate this will make things run much more smoothly.
As you’ve probably ascertained, the key to making the most of your corporate photography is preparation and prior planning. Explain to your photographer what it is that you want to say and work with them in coming up with ideas that will meet your needs.
Treat your corporate photography with the same priority that you would give to any other aspect of your marketing and it will become the lynchpin of your brand, online and offline.