Professional photographs are as important to your commercial identity as your business cards and logo. They should tell a story about your business to prospective partners, customers or future employees. Many people make the mistake of getting photographs done on the cheap, or taking photographs of themselves to put up on their website. However, a professional photographer should spend time researching your company and its products, people and corporate brand to ensure they understand how to best present the business.
While there is a multitude of ways to use photography as a marketing tool, there are two fundamental image styles that every business should start with: profile photos and product photos.
Profile photos (also known as headshots) are extremely versatile, and can be used everywhere from your website to conference publications and promotional articles in newspapers and magazines.
The overarching goal of a good head shot should be to make the person viewing your photograph feel connected to you and, by extension, to the services you offer. The photograph should say: “I’m the person you should be doing business with.” For example, a lawyer may opt for a photograph that portrays strength and power, while a florist might prefer something that conveys softness or warmth. A professional photographer will understand the importance of colour, camera angle, perspective and lighting in putting together a picture that accurately reflects you, your brand and your professional values.
Before you step in front of the camera, however, here are a few tricks and tips to make sure you look – and feel – your best:
- Wearing comfortable, well-fitting clothes is a good first step. Clothing should look new, clean and neatly pressed. Avoid bright colours or heavy patterns, as they draw the viewer’s eye away from your face.
- Make sure your hair is tidy. Men should be clean shaven with neatly combed hair. Women should also look neat and clean; a quick slick with a bit of product is a good way to control fly-away hair.
- Women who wear makeup should opt for a natural look. Avoid frosted, shimmery or sparkly products as these can make wrinkles more prominent, resulting in a harsher look.
- Dusting your face with a layer of translucent powder before the pictures are taken will keep skin looking clear, remove shine and make pores look smaller.
- Discomfort in front of the camera will be visible in your photographs. A professional photographer can direct you into position and can talk you through some tips and tricks to make you feel more at home.
Profile photograph of Protect Information Management products, designed to help companies manage their confidential information. Images courtesy of AZ Photography, reproduced with permission from Protect Information Management.
Product photographs are another important aspect of your corporate brand. For example, let’s say you’ve developed a new smart phone that has the potential to revolutionise the market, and a journalist contacts you to write a piece on your work. Without a high quality photograph, that article will disappear deep into the publication, if it appears at all. However, with a set of professional images, you could see your smart phone in a double-page spread in prime position.
Of equal importance is the fact that online shoppers often make purchasing decisions without having seen the product in real life. As a result, the role of the photographs is crucial in terms of providing an accurate representation of a product’s scale, colour, texture and features. Product photographs can also be used in hard-copy marketing collateral like pamphlets and brochures. Regardless of your target audience, these sorts of marketing documents must look professional if you want to attract genuine buyers.
Armed with this information, take a look at your branding. What are your photographs saying to your clients? What story do they tell about how you do business? Investing in professional photography is a sound investment in your public image.
Product photographs of Protect Information Management products, designed to help companies manage their confidential information. Protect products taken from various angles. Images courtesy of AZ Photography, reproduced with permission from Protect Information Management.
About the author
Anna Zahakaris is an award-winning photographer and the founder of AZ Photography in Melbourne. Her signature portraits are a blend of creativity and a personalised approach to each of her photographic subjects. Anna is an Associate of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers.