I used to think of corporate photography as annual report photography or any “corporate communication”, from PR to capability brochures. There was a time when annual reports were thick, glossy, well designed, and had lots of photography. Now, many annual reports are mostly on newsprint; an expression of our current economic times. Corporate Photography now seems to mean a business portrait or headshot.
There is no question of the value of an excellent executive portrait. It may be the first impression that one gets before actually meeting someone in person. It also represents the company’s image as well as yours. It can illustrate your corporate culture: casual, aggressive, or buttoned up.
Is it cheap? No. Professional photography is a business. We have years of experience making people, products and places look good. It’s how we make our living, and like all businesses there is overhead that we contend with too. It’s true we don’t use film anymore, and that was an expensive part of photography; but now we have computers, printers, networks, and digital cameras. In addition, there is all of the basic overhead, like rent, insurance, advertising, utilities, transportation.
Is it worth it? Well of course I think it is, but objectively, it depends on your individual situation and how important your image is to you.
What is the difference between high quality commercial photography and amateur or semi-professional photography? A professional photographer is able to consistently produce high quality images that represent your product or service in the best light. How do you want your company’s image projected? Your brother-in-law with his new DSLR is pretty good at taking pictures of his kids, but does he have the knowledge and experience to portray your product or service well? What impression do you project with poorly designed sales materials and amateurish pictures?
Ideally, you want potential customers to see your website, mailer or brochure and realize that you have a well managed company that produces high quality products or services at a fair price. You offer good value and can be trusted.
But it costs so much!
Yes, but, you get what you pay for. High quality commercial photography is not cheap. Neither is getting your car fixed at the dealership or hiring a plumber. Still, it makes sense to look for value. You need to ask yourself some questions. What is the useful life of the photography you need? How much will sales be affected by the quality of the photographs? How many visitors to your website will move on to the next site because your product or service looks amateurish. If you can amortize the use of the images over three years, good photography seems like a wise investment. A better company image, better brand recognition and repeat business are dividends you are likely to enjoy.
It’s Your Business
Commercial photography is not only about putting your product or service in the best light, it also triggers a positive emotional response.
So it turns out that high quality commercial photography is not expensive, but an excellent investment in the future of your company.