In my photography I like to capture candid moments. I don’t particularly like scenes that are overly posed and I am trying to bring that same authenticity into the video work I am doing. Here’s a promotional video I did for the BNI Gateway chapter and I tried to approach it with the same idea of capturing the meeting as it really is, and not make a typical corporate style promo.
The link below will not display on this page for some security reason! Not sure why. But, just copy and paste the URL below into your browser. The article covers off well areas such as:
1. 82% of consumers trust a company more if the founders use social media
2. Why your business portraits on your social sites and business sites need to be on brand
3. Posture for business portraits
4. What to wear, casual or business, or maybe a mix of both
5. Best locations for a business portrait
6. And the best bit, why you should pay for professional photos!
It's a good read. Enjoy.
Can HR use employee photos?
Many companies like to use employee photos in their marketing materials, web sites, board reports, company intranets and in social media.
It adds some personality and authenticity to their brand. It says we are real. It helps transform a faceless company so that customers can relate. It gives a company an approachable brand personality.
Who do you select to use and on what criteria. Like any selection process it has to be without bias or prejudice. The best way here is to work with the photographer or agency involved to write specific criteria and then leave the selection with an outside source.
And what happens when they leave?
It is not a good look to Photoshop someone out! As the one that leaves is never standing at the end of the line!
However, with the above aside, the key question these days is can you legally use an employee photo, and in what circumstances.
It’s unlawful to use the likeness of a person for commercial purposes without their prior written consent.
Obtaining written consent when an employee joins the business to use throughout and beyond their employment is usually sufficient, or has been up to now.
They key is to stipulate exactly the different ways the images may be used by the company and ensure the employee understands fully and gives permission for all uses.
If you want to use employee photos for a particular advertising campaign then separate written consent should be sort. An employee can argue that it was not stipulated or understood that their image can appear in advertising. This then leads into social media and in some countries laws are at their infancy in how employee images are being used.
In addition it may not be long before unions start to stipulate that the employee is being used as a model and therefore an appropriate fee should be payable. It’s not part of their normal roles and responsibilities. It’s very much about how and what purpose the image will be used.
An employee may be happy to have their image on a company intranet for staff, but not so happy to appear along side the chairman in a company report.
Detailing exact potential uses at the outset is recommended, and further consent for social media and advertising campaigns and specific marketing materials should be gained.
At all times an employee should be able to opt out.
A good photographer should advise you of the use of images, and provide model release forms stipulating the use of the images.
I am a photographer and the above is only my opinion and not legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained when in any doubt.
A business portrait has two key elements. Firstly we want to see the real authentic person and secondly, it must respect the brand of the business.
In terms of branding the location or background is key. The background needs to support the branding and appeal to the target market for your product or services. For example, if you are a corporate finance company selling to other city businesses then a clean blue background, blurred showing the outlines of a corporate office building may work really well. If you are in real estate or architecture and your market is consumer residential then showing part of a home in the background makes sense.
The use of colours is also worth considering with your market and brand in mind. For example, middle aged women tend to prefer the colours, green, teal, turquoise, purple and lavender. And men prefer blue, green and black. Blue being a clear leader, and purple being a definite no no! As well as looking at having the right colour to appeal to the customer, branding colours of the business can also be introduced. This helps to make the portraits enhance the overall branding on the web site.
As well as colour think about tones and shapes in the background, even if they are blurred. A legal company may want something along the lines of sandstone building, with pillars which gives the impression of longevity, established, stable, trust worthy etc. A tech company may want something more modern with clean lines. Each case should be influenced by the market you want to attract and your overall branding.
So what to wear?
T - shirts with writing on is not a good idea, as the writing is most likely going to get cut in half for certain head shots. If you are going to have a T shirt, or any shirt with a logo on it, then consider how long the logo has to live. IE If you are going to change the logo within a year or two, maybe best to do the head shots without logo shirts.
Patterns and thin stripes are issues for a lot of cameras and computer screens. There is whats known as the 'moire' effect, where thin stripes and patterns cause a secondary rippling effect. It makes the image very noisey and detracts the viewer. When converting to black and white it can look a mess and again detract the viewer.
If you are going to have some portraits in black and white then consider tones of the colours you are wearing. A pink tie on a pale blue shirt may look good in colour, but when concerted to black and white they are of very similar tones and blend together as light grey. Think of contrasting tones for better black and white portraits.
Casual or formal? This is dependent upon your target market. What would they like to see? What makes then relate best to you? This is likely the first time they have seen you and the start of building a relationship. People will judge you in less then a few seconds even though they have not met you.
Clever use of background, clothing and colours will help to establish the first right impression.
Almost everyone starts by saying they don't look good in photos, and hate having their photograph taken. When I take a portrait of someone, I take time to relax them and we chat about the process and get to know each other. Trust in your photographer is essential to have some great final images. Below are some tips and tricks to help you take a better portrait.
1. The double chin! Common amongst many of us. To avoid a double chin, stretch your neck upwards, push your face forward slightly. It's a bit like dipping your chin down slightly whilst sticking your forehead out at the same time. It feels very awkward... but try it a few times in the mirror and it certainly helps.
2. Take a look at some past photos of yourself and see which ones you like best and why. For most people the left hand side of the face is the 'best side'. Don't ask me why, it just is and this was proven in a research paper in the U.S. a few years ago.
3. Make up. A qualified make up artist works wonders. If the foundation is too pale for the skin then it can become very obvious when the flash hits the skin. Advice seems to be, to match your skin to your chest and add a thin layer to your neck if the neck is paler.
4. If you blink in photos. Close you eyes and then open slowly just before the picture is taken.
5. Putting your tongue behind your teeth when you smile has a couple of benefits. It stops it peaking through when you mouth is open and it helps to prevent a too wide grin.
6. Hair sprays prevent the fly away hair.
7. Avoid looking straight on at the camera. Try turning your head slightly and keep the eyes on the camera only. It's more flattering.
8. Point one foot forward and think of your body being in an S shape. It helps to elongate the body and stretch parts out!
9. Try to look up at the camera. If I have someone taller than me, I will normally get them to sit on a chair or I'll use a small ladder.
10. A good photographer will get you to laugh and relax, producing a more natural smile.
11. Laugh quietly to yourself. It produces a more gentle and genuine smile.
12. Clothing. This is a whole new blog post on its own. But I suggest to clients to wear something they feel comfortable in. If you squeeze yourself into something you don't normally wear then you will not look at ease. Best to avoid check clothing as it dominates in black and white photos.
13. Take lots of photos! The more photos taken the more relaxed you become and you might even find yourself having fun!