Why should you consider investing in corporate photography and how can you brand yourself a local? Get the six top tips from Geelong photographer Alan Barber who shares his recommendations for your business to stand out from the crowd.
Photography is your shop front
Aware of stating the obvious, photography is your shop front in this day and age. Online business presence was vital long before the pandemic. Ultimately your online image – professional headshots or teamshots – may be all potential clients have to go on. Tip one, take this seriously. Photograph your business. Whether you want to call it your business photography, corporate photography, team photography, your service photography or lifestyle photography, you have to be visible. Rather than leaving people guessing begin building a relationship with the clients you want. Think about first appearances. A great corporate headshot or set of headshots of your team will demonstrate you have real people and, like much of life, you have about seven seconds to impress.
Brand yourself a local
It goes without saying that every business is different, even photography businesses! Your public image cannot be generic, in reality or appearance. How often have you brought products from a website that uses ‘that’ stock picture of the hands on the keyboard? How much better does it look to see real people, in their Geelong office, out in Torquay locations, collaborating with North Geelong businesses, or networking with Pako traders? Do yourself a favour and don’t do the shoot at the shark fins but do think about a place in the Geelong region that puts your business in the local context. An experienced local photographer can help you with ideas.
Shoot options for a professional headshot
You can get a professional headshot done in a studio, in your office, in a borrowed indoor setting or outdoors. It’s worth thinking about getting at least a couple of options, if you can afford it, as this will allow you to showcase through a mix of online, print, web and social media and to a variety of audiences.
A studio (or a studio visiting your office) offers plenty of options in itself. Plain backgrounds are popular for good reason – the classic look doesn’t date. Most favour a white but others also go for ‘corporate’ greys and blues. The advantage of going for a neutral backdrop is that it puts all the attention on the subject and is flattering to most skin tones. A plain background also makes it easier to contour or cut out the background if your graphic designer needs to do some compositing. But don’t feel limited by what the others do. If it suits your business funk it up. Photographers are creative by nature and should embrace ideas. One of my favourite ideas is to work out a storyboard of images that tell a story about your business. That approach can be both compelling and original. A good option is to mix the more formal professional headshots with some ‘in the business’ editorial type shots. Again, this depends on your type of business but don’t be constrained by tradition or intimidated by your competition. What you do will give your potential clients a better idea of your personality or the personalities within your business and so begins the relationship.
Preparing yourself for your corporate headshot
Preparing for the shoot is really important for results. As well as planning what you want to shoot, have a good night’s sleep, try and make sure no one is rushed and keep the run up light-hearted. Getting teams to agree to photos can sometimes be a challenge if staff are camera averse, not used to it or time poor. One barrister chamber I work with could never get their 100 plus members to agree on a time so the office manager came up with the novel idea of a cheese and wine tasting night. Only thing is they had to go through the craftily set up photo studio to get to the function room!
Australians are for the most part a pretty authentic bunch. Rarely am I seriously asked to liquify or Photoshop anything more than a shaving cut or a pimple. Aussies know that there is no point perfecting our appearance if no one recognises you at the next Pier After 5. Be yourself, use make up (sparingly) and wear comfortable clothes. Definitely avoid logos that are not yours. There will always be colourful people in our groups and we shouldn’t dull them down. It is refreshing to have different personalities in your team. If anything that should endear clients to your business. Also have a mind to different outfits for difference locations. You know, Melbourne dress codes are different to Geelong’s and Geelong’s are different to Torquay’s and so on.
Bonus point – Continuity
If there’s one thing that can let a page of team member photos down that is shooting one with an iPhone while all the rest have been taken by a professional. Imagine the message offered by a website with four out of ten team members not matching. Your potential client could be forgiven for guessing either you have high staff turnover or the website just isn’t being maintained. For continuity’s sake it would almost be better to get them all done on a mobile phone just so that none stand out. It may sound extravagant getting a photographer in to capture shots of each new recruit but as well as keeping the website up to date and consistent it is also a good way to help the newbie feel part of the team. Maybe, rather than just getting one head and shoulders shot for the website, use it as an opportunity to get couple of candid and or fun pictures that could be used on social media?
With thanks to our guest author:
Alan Barber Photography
Alan Barber runs Alan Barber Photography and is a corporate and editorial photographer with close to 30 years of experience of working on newspapers and magazines in both the UK and Australia.
The work has varied from general elections to remote surfing competitions and from celebrity weddings to international music and business assignments. Now he divides his time between working with corporate, architectural and editorial clients and the covering local news with the Geelong Advertiser.
Alan and Barefoot Media has been a Geelong Chamber of Commerce member since 2007 and is a proud silver partner, covering the Chamber’s rich stream of networking events throughout the year. If you have any questions and enquiries, feel free to email Alan here or approach Alan at one of the After 5 networking events or other functions.