Indigoplum were recently commissioned to produce a company profile for the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman at their offices in Stevenage, including approximately 50 headshots as well as generic photos around the offices. Tasked with making their website look more professional and eye catching, all the staff had head and shoulder portraits. They were also captured candidly in real life working scenarios emphasising the efficient, pleasant and positive working atmosphere within the offices. Heading up the Marketing department is Becca Savage whose job it was to source a local photographer, but what actually is it that Becca should have been looking for when choosing a photographer?
Many PA’s or marketing managers will have been asked to source a local photographer for headshots in their respective office of the company staff along with some general shots describing in pictorial form, a company profile. This is known as company profile photography and is usually one of the specialisations of corporate and commercial photographers who tend to have a better understanding of corporate life and the needs and requirements within the field of commerce. What should we therefore be looking for before agreeing to purchase such services, when more often than not, cost is the baseline factor?
It’s commonly known that many office staff find it very difficult to feel and appear relaxed in front of a camera.
- Does the photographer have enough experience to know how to relax their subjects.
- Do they have the ability and experience to handle a CEO or Managing Director?
- Does the photographer know how to get the best from a subjects features in a short space of time?
- Is the lighting in the sample photos the photographer has provided completely flat and uninspiring or does it show some understanding in lighting techniques and shaping in the face that is becoming to the sitter?
Many company profile portraits are now shot against white for use against the white backgrounds of websites.
- In sample head and shoulder photos, are the whites if requested, clean all around and particularly in the corners of the image where the image should be white?
- Will the photographer ensure that for each sitting, the person having been photographed will have at least one image they will be more than happy to use?
For the more generic office shots, there are a number of things to look for:
- In your opinion, does the photographer capture eye catching angles and fleeting moments with with a fly-on-the-wall view of staff interactions that make the company appear interesting to the viewer but without posed looking photos?
- Are the pictures nicely colour balanced or do they look a little yellow under the office lights?
- Are compositions tight and well balanced and do they tell a story?
Of course there are many things to be aware of, cost being very much a high priority, but sometimes we do need to consider a balance between cost and the best that can be achieved. At the end of the day, we all want to appear professional and successful. Companies that are successful can usually afford to purchase quality services, and they want to show it by putting out a highly professional eye-catching website which is very often the first point of contact for a potential client.
Most photographers will give a quotation based on the worst case scenario. They should ask you how many and what type of images you want to end up with, and with the questions they pose, they will ascertain how long they will need to spend onsite plus the time they are likely to require in post production. Don’t be fooled however, if you have the right photographer, what you see of them at your given location is only half the amount of time they’ll spend on your project. An equal amount of time is normally spent in post production to give you exceptional quality final images.
Much of the time, if you like one photographer’s work over another but the price might be a little higher and stretching the budget, speak to the photographer whose work you particularly like. More often than not, they will show some flexibility in the cost. Of course, it’s unlikely that the highest quality work will be the cheapest but we’re all prepared to pay a fair price for a quality meal when dining out, and the same is true of any service or product. It’s often like the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for.’
In short, whilst cost is paramount, it is not the only consideration when booking a professional photographer. Make sure they specialise in the area of photography that fits your requirement. Don’t just obtain two or three quotes and opt for the cheapest. Discuss the matter with the photographer whose work you most admire and if more expensive, you may find they’re willing at the very least in some instances to meet you half way.