Using Pinterest to share ideas with your photographer / client

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Secret boards are only viewed by people you invite to see the board. You can invite them to view or participate in image curation by giving them edit rights. Photographers can start boards and invite clients to contribute, or vice-versa. Clients can also share in-house with staff and management who will be involved in the upcoming shoot.

When you are meeting with a photographer to discuss an upcoming photoshoot at your office or one of your facilities, using Pinterest boards can quickly bring you and your photographer’s vision for the shoot into alignment.

When I meet with a client to discuss an in-office corporate portrait session, or plan out a day-in-the life type shoot where the aim is to build up a bank of customized (client owned) stock photos, I often find creating and sharing a “Secret Board” on Pinterest is a useful tool.

 

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Creating a Secret Board is easy, Just like creating any other Pinterest board. Just toggle the Secret switch and then invite collaborators/viewers.

From a photographer’s point of view the method helps stimulate ideas and allows you to show both your experience and skills in collaborating with your client. From a client perspective, the method can help generate concepts and be an easy way to share the vision for the shoot with everyone else in the company who needs to get on board.

Why not just use your own portfolio? Of course you can add some of your own images to the mix, but by the time you are having a client meeting, odds are your client has already viewed your portfolio or you’ve been recommended to them and they assume you have the skills to do the work you are being asked to do. Using images from your body of work that are relevant to the kind of photoshoot you are planning won’t hurt – but by sharing a “Secret Board” with your client and inviting them to collaborate on it you help ensure stronger engagement from your client and give him or her the opportunity to collaborate creatively in the planning sessions – which is actually a fun part of the project. You can also include a broad range of images – some of which may just be there as a means of showing what is possible, or to get people’s creative juices flowing.

The success of an in-office photo shoot relies in good communication.

As a photographer, your job is to walk your client through a typical shoot: How long will you need for set up? Where are the best places in the office to do the shoot? What should people wear? When will they receive their photos and what’s included in delivery? And of course, how much will it cost?

Your client, meanwhile, has the double task of meeting and coordinating with you but also communicating to the employees being photographed everything you’ve explained about the shoot and more. They will need to coordinate schedules (no small feat), and send reminder-“Tomorrow is photo day!”-type emails to employees much like the notes parents get on the eve of school photo day. (This is surprisingly important: you’d be surprised at how many professionals I’ve had to photograph in morning shifts who show up unshaven, unrested and with a look of dazed confusion claiming they forgot it was photo day).

 

 

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One very useful way for the client responsible for coordinating the shoot to communicate with the staff being photographed is to share with them a set of images setting the vision for what they are trying to achieve. If you create a board in Pinterest, then (ideally) gather up the employees for a brief meeting with the board projected on the wall you can quickly bring everyone onto the same page (literally).  Again, this becomes another opportunity for engagement and collaboration and can be done with or without the photographer being present. It can also help mitigate nervousness about the upcoming shoot and provide context for why it is important.

In portraits especially when dealing with non-professional models (ie most of us), people actually appreciate being told what to do, how to stand, where to look and what to wear. All people think in terms of narratives. If you can show your employees where the photos being taken will fit into a story – “we’re using this photo for the header image on our careers page to show people what it’s like working here”, it helps them understand their role and also alleviates their self-consciousness.

In corporate photography you have to think about what the photo will be used for, and how well it communicates the firms’ brand and culture. A conservative lawyer’s office is not likely to have their team stand out in the street in front of a graffiti covered brick wall for their team photo (which an ad agency may well consider as a great backdrop). You can be creative with the looks you try to achieve but in the end, what matters most is whether or not the photos help – or distract – from their core purpose.

Using Pinterest boards to discover, curate and share visual ideas with everyone involved in an upcoming photoshoot helps make photo day a success. The people in the photographs are likely to enjoy the process more, and the marketing or communications team is more likely to end up with images they expect and will be able to use for their intended purpose.

Give it a try. Create a free account on Pinterest and start pinning. When you’re done you can just delete the board or keep it if you think it will be helpful again. (Just be forewarned – Pinterest can be slightly addictive and you may wind up like me creating boards to match all your interests like reading, cooking, travelling, freelancing, etc, etc…)

 

 

Invest in building a company image bank

0E7A4801.jpgWhether you are redoing your website to give it a new look and feel, or launching a new one, you will need photos.  You’ll probably need lots of other things too, like video, and good strong copy, forms and quick action buttons to let your customers reach you directly or submit their briefs to you, but it is extremely unlikely you’ll even have customers if your website is not engaging and attractive enough to draw them to you in the first place.

Building up a library of your own stock images is a useful project that should be done at least once a year, if not seasonally depending on the kind of business you are in.

094A4652.jpgBooking a photographer for a day makes a lot of economic sense too. You usually benefit from a better rate than straight hourly, and you may be surprised at how much photography output one well-planned day can result in.

I receive mandates to produce in-house stock photography frequently. Sometimes from brands wishing to generate a huge volume of imagery that they can then drip out over a number of marketing campaigns, and more often directly from businesses themselves, who book me to shoot mock meetings, beauty shots of their factories or venues, product and people at work (day in the life) type photos. Once onsite I may also get asked to grab a few headshots or team photos as well. In a single day of shooting you can conceivably get your entire staff photographed, in their respective teams as well as individually, and generate a few hundred around the office or shop floor shots that can be used for any number of things beyond your own website.

094A4830.jpgSocial media channels, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook being the main ones, all have ferocious appetites for constantly refreshed content. A good photo with a caption can tell a piece of your story, one image at a time, and keep the content pipeline full.

Your company may also be featured in a trade magazine, or be asked to present at an industry event. You’ll need updated fresh images for that too.

Or you may be going through an internal transformation, with a lot of new hires who need to be added to the team section on your site.

While photo stock libraries can help in a pinch, what you wind up with is a website or other marketing product that looks a lot like everyone else’s who went to look for the same kinds of stock photos you were searching for:

  • Young people meeting and discussing something…
  • A group of professionals in a board room…
  • Corporate woman/man looking confident and happy in office setting…
  • Techie guy working on computer screen…

Whatever your particular need, I can assure you there are hundreds, if not thousands of other companies looking for more or less the same kinds of images. The result, of course, is that you end up with the same (or very similar images) and wind up with a very generic looking website that tells nothing about the uniqueness of your company.

094A4888.jpgHiring your own photographer and working with him or her to develop a creative shot list of your own people, products, office space/manufacturing environment is not only far more useful and adaptable to your needs — it is probably cheaper too.

Stock images come with costs for licensing and the better ones can be fairly restrictive.

Of course you can choose to go for free versions from sites like Unsplash or Creative Commons platforms where photographers give away some of their images in the hopes of growing their fame or getting recognized (good luck with that). But even these sites suffer from the same generic images that are not really specific to your company, your brand, your people, your story. In the end, you may have a gorgeous full screen image that says nothing at all about what your company does, makes, sells or offers and in a second your visitor is already bouncing off to look at more pretty pictures without having clicked through to you.

The fall is a very good time to start planning for your next calendar year. Look ahead and start thinking about booking a photographer for January or February (often slow business months which translates into fewer on-site work disruptions). Alternatively, mid-June or July can be good months to capture images inside and outside your office and your staff tends to look a little healthier around that time of year too.

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Building up an image library is an investment in a digital asset that all companies need – regardless of industry. I can think of very few firms who do not have need of some kind of professional photography for their websites, marketing materials, social channels and trade publications.  Make it part of the annual marketing calendar of activities and you’ll never have to scramble again for a usable headshot of your new VP who’s just been asked to speak at a conference.

Book a full day shoot onsite to save big money

 (Julian Haber | 514.757.7657 | events@julianhaber.com)I am frequently asked to shoot onsite corporate portraits in different offices throughout Montreal, on and off-island. My set up is all portable (I can even work without electricity if necessary) and I provide quick, professional portraits for use on company websites, social media networking sites like LinkedIn and company publications.

One of the needs nearly every company has these days is to look for ways to save money and cut costs without compromising on quality. With the war for talent still raging (particularly in the high tech industries) it is critical companies project a friendly face to their future prospective employees. Nothing does this better than showing photos (lots of them) of your people and your offices, working, relaxing and socializing together. People are increasingly focusing attention not just on what the job offers in terms of salary and benefits, but also work environment, company culture and other intangibles that are hard to explain in words. Using photography and video to help communicate to your prospective clients, employees and partners helps declutter your site and leave visitors with a strong visual impression of who you are and what your company is all about. In a world crowded with messaging and information overload, this is a valuable service you can easily provide at a very low cost.

 (Julian Haber | 514.757.7657 | events@julianhaber.com)

Marketing and Communications teams, Human Resources and Talent Acquisition managers are all operating on tight budgets and being asked to do more with less. Getting a photographer to come to your office is a great way to get both a set of profile photos for your whole team, but also to boost your image library of your space and work environment. Rather than purchase rights-restricted and generic stock images you can have your own customized images created that tell your own story.

To optimise your use of an onsite photographer, hire for a full day over a half day (saving at least 20%-25% of the cost of a half day rate), and book all your employees’ headshots on one day which can provide substantial savings reducing your price per shot to well below the market rate of having a single or small number of headshots taken onsite.

And don’t forget to update your website and headshot photos at least once a year!

Behind the scenes at a corporate portrait session

Tips for photographers

Part of the fun of being a full-time freelance photographer in Montreal is the unpredictability of my schedule. One day I am shooting action shots down at the pier in Old Montreal, the next I might find myself in a boardroom like the one shown here, running through a list of employees who are having their corporate portraits updated today by me.

This shoot is typical of a corporate portrait session and my setup (seamless white background, lights, umbrellas) has been well-tested on several corporate photoshoot assignments throughout Montreal. It can be fitted into almost any spare room in an office area and is not too cumbersome to lug around between shoots.

One of the most commonly heard phrases in a corporate portrait session is, “I hate having my picture taken.” If I had a class A share in Berkshire Hathaway holdings every time I heard that I’d be a billionaire by now. (Luckily for those of you still needing a working corporate photographer in Montreal, I am not and I am always happy to take on new assignments). My response is usually to tell them that’s what everyone says, then hopefully catch them off guard with a quip about something unexpected that brings it out a natural smile and presto! I take the shot.

Part of being any kind of photographer, but particularly one specializing in event and corporate photography is having nimble fingers and a gift for the gab, as many of the best photos come from people who say they hate having their photo taken but then give you a natural expression of happiness/bemusement that says something about themselves and makes them look much better than they were expecting to look.

While the behind-the-scenes look at a mobile corporate portrait setup may be of interest to planners and/or other photographers, if you just want to see the end results, please visit my portfolio site here. I’m always receptive to feedback so feel free to send me an email or comment if you have anything to share and of course, of you like what you see and know someone in the market for a corporate photographer in Montreal, please share this post on your favourite socially networked hangout.

 

 

 

In office corporate portraits in under an hour

It was a busy weekend and in the midst of covering a four day poker tournament, I was also hired to shoot a corporate portrait across town. With a bit of luck (and despite Montreal’s notorious Mercier bridge traffic which extended all the way into downtown) I made it to my corporate portrait assignment on time. As in many instances for in-office corporate portraits, my client was fairly pressed for time and really had only a few minutes to spare with me. I put up a simple seamless grey backdrop, crammed in my lights on one side of a large immoveable board room table and click click click, we were done. The whole shoot from set up to goodbye took under 45 minutes and we got exactly the shot we needed. If you are thinking of having your own portrait done in your office (time to update that LinkedIn profile picture maybe?) keep in mind you can have your shot done in less time than you might normally take to eat a quick lunch.