Photography in the workplace

19Jul10

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who first said: “A picture can speak a thousand words.” A statement that is as true today as it was in the early 19th century. Thankfully pictures today are a little easier to come by than they were in Napoleon’s day with photographic megapixels bursting out of every device from mobile phones to games consoles. With the advent of the internet and the ubiquity of websites advertising everything from funeral homes to florists photography is a vital tool in communicating what businesses offer to the outside world.

Professional photographic services are not cheap. This is because photographic courses are not cheap, nor are cameras, lenses, equipment and the necessary insurance policies required to cover all manner of mishaps that can occur on the job.

For a small business or start up business the cost of hiring a professional photographer to shoot products or locations may be too expensive but by following a few tips and hints you yourself may be able to take a great series of photographs for use on a website or brochure.

The magazine format.

Pick up any magazine, from the Sunday glossies to the latest issue of Vogue and you’ll see a ‘storyboard’ of images. Say, for example, that a cookery feature is being illustrated you will usually see a wide-angled shot of a kitchen with the chef and some of the ingredients in the introduction. This tells us what the article will be about. Next will follow a photograph of some of the raw ingredients, a close up of a sliced tomato or a fresh fish perhaps. This shows us what they chef will be working with. Then will come a photograph of the finished dish, the product, in all its glory.

By taking a wide angle, or broad view, of the story we can lead people into what we want to talk about as though we are opening the door into our office or shop. Showing close up pictures of our products, be they lilies, wing nuts or kitchen units tells our audience what we work with and the finished product shot, of a hand tied bouquet, a car or a kitchen shows what we can do.

If we can keep this storyboard format in mind then we can clearly and effectively communicate our work to others.

Lighting

Good photography happens when there is good light and the best light of the day happens in the early morning and the late evening. These periods are called ‘the magic hours’ as the light is at its softest and shadows give depth and definition to the subject being photographed. Good studio lighting works to emulate these conditions but, by getting up that little bit earlier, we can use natural light to create beautiful photography without any flashing lights or light meters.

Composition

Imagine a grid like a noughts and crosses board across your viewfinder. This grid represents the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds leads our eye into a photograph and is used by ensuring that the subject of our picture features in one of the intersections of the noughts and crosses grid. This positioning pleases the eye and can turn even a photograph of a wing nut into a thing of beauty.

By using these three elements of basic photography in your web presence and corporate literature: the storyboard, good lighting and composition you will effectively communicate what your business is about to potential customers all over the world.

'Close up'

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