If a picture speaks a thousand words what does the corporate photography on your literature or website say about you? Great character portraits are produced with insight and attention to detail – they should squeeze every available ounce of the subject’s essence into the picture because your key personnel are among your major assets – the way they are portrayed to potential and existing customers is of the utmost importance.

Have a look around some websites and see how many leaders of industry, politicians and entrepreneurs – movers and shakers – have let a just about average (or even really poor) image of themselves be used alongside great copy which attempts to explain how they are the backbone of the organisation, the leaders in their field, at the top of their profession and the best at whatever they are offering to do for you. The variation in standards surprises me – some make great use of strong images to reinforce their worth but many miss out on the opportunity to use high quality commercial photography to strengthen their message. With the all important first impression of your brand on the line it is worth remembering that for prospective customers looking at your website it is often their first contact with your company, forming early opinions and most importantly deciding whether they will contact you with a view to doing business. There is very little point in getting everything right with respect to your customer experience if new customers are not sufficiently impressed by your company’s appearance to make a first enquiry.

Many web design companies shy away from bespoke photography because they do not fully understand the commissioning process and mistakenly think it will be prohibitively expensive. They often default to library pictures and image content generated in house which is frequently of a poor standard. As commercial photographers it is our responsibility to spread the news of the advantages of bespoke commissioned photography to web design companies so that their clients can benefit from the first class image that their first class product or service deserves – good working relationships in this area will benefit all parties.

Anyone using social media like Facebook fan pages, Twitter and Linkedin as part of their online marketing strategy also has a great opportunity to use an image enhancing picture, so why do so many people with otherwise great online content use such a terrible profile picture? Of course some people get this right and the secret here is to use an image with the right undercurrents without being too formal, as befits the social media environment. You can have some fun and get your message through, after all it’s up to you what you want to say…

Thanks for reading,

Stephen Potts

Belfast photographer and filmmaker

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