Photographs for building businesses!
Posted on: 30/10/2016

The common theme that runs through the vast majority of incoming enquiries is the need and desire to grow business. The emphasis varies.  It might be the need to secure more business or to expand services into new areas. Alternatively it can be creating a more professional image as a means to improving the quality of contracts or customers. The underlying objectives remain the same… business expansion and business growth. That growth is rarely linear. The upward slope is punctuated with dips and plateaux created by many factors, both internal and external. The events that reduce or stall growth are the pain points that prompt both action and reaction.

Many new clients are referred to me by creatives in advertising, marketing and web design. These are the people who understand the need for good quality architectural photographs. They know the power of the right image.
The client may be less convinced. Business people operating in a multitude of differing markets aren’t professional picture-buyers. They can be forgiven for not having the skill set to analyse composition and technical nuances of a photograph.
After all, when virtually everyone has a mega-pixel camera on their smart-phone, why employ a photographer? And why can’t you use the photographs I’ve already taken? If the photographs need to be better then why don’t I just buy a decent digital camera and take the shots myself? After all, having bought the camera, they argue, all my future photographs will be free.
And there’s that age old conflict… cost against value.

So let’s attempt to resolve that question. The purpose and end use of the image gives an ideal starting point. By evaluating the end use and the purpose of the photograph we can quickly determine certain ‘fit for purpose’ criteria.
A simple snapshot on a smart-phone might be perfectly adequate for a social media post or status update. We all do it. It’s ‘fit-for-purpose’. The immediacy of the internet demands greater and greater access to fast readily-available images, which makes a smart-phone the tool-of-choice. Unfortunately, it’s that easy access that creates the danger.

When the only tool you’ve got is a hammer, every task starts to look like a nail.

Don’t misunderstand me. There are plenty of occasions when a smart-phone photo or a simple snapshot is entirely adequate. The same applies to stock photography and royalty-free images (which I discuss in another post). Other times those same photographs are woefully inadequate and equally inappropriate. And that’s when the desired result is the more important consideration. So arguably the answer becomes one of context rather than content.
If there is a need to convey a specific message to the viewer: a message of quality, competence, ability or style, then many factors influence the effectiveness of the final image. Things such as composition, lighting and point of focus. All these are factors that require control. And to control them well requires creativity, technical ability and experience. Those skills are worth the investment because they inevitably produce the best return on investment (ROI).
So what are those factors that differentiate a professional photograph from a snap shot?

Photographers make many subjective decisions. These are the things no camera can do. 
Composition is one of the fundamental choices when making a photograph and every photographer will compose a photograph differently. That’s a good reason to make sure your photographer’s style fits with the company look and voice. Composition in turn is influenced by view point, choice of lens and point of focus.
Working with a creative team is ideal as there are discussions and consensus about the end result. When working alone it falls to the skill of the photographer to interpret the client’s ideas, helping them to understand and appreciate their genuine needs. In the case of a room or retail venue, this might mean stripping the room of accessories and selectively introducing the required elements. 

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