The Acquisition of Photography for Your Business

In our previous post we discussed the value of photography. Today we will talk about about how you can acquire quality photography for your business.

If you need images for your business’ use, you can follow one of three avenues:

  1. Take your own snapshot – Do It Yourself
  2. Use a stock photo
  3. Hire a professional photographer to create custom images (which only you will have)

The type of imagery needed and your budget can help determine which is the best course of action, of course, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind as you make decisions for your business.

Snapshots vs Professional Photography

William Morton, IT Manager and Staff Photographer for Camera Ready Cosmetics Studio portrait of photographer William Morton

Hopefully everyone can see a clear difference between the images above. The first image looks more like a dreaded driver’s license photo, or the “Employee of the Month” you sometimes see posted in a grocery store. The second image is clearly a studio portrait showing a person “in their environment,” and illustrates what they do.

The examples below show the view an audience member may get at an event versus what a professional event photographer can capture.

photography from the audience professional event photography by William Morton Visuals

Stock Photography

Many businesses consider stock photography to be an affordable option, as stock photography prices have dropped significantly over the last few years. If you want a generic image of a telephone or a computer, or a random customer service operator, then stock photography may work. However you won’t likely find images of your employees, and it’s even less likely you’ll find images of your management team. Likewise with any public relations events – stock images won’t be of your event, or your people.

Stock photography is also pretty recognizable. It usually features ridiculously good looking models in perfectly pressed clothing, always in solid (and usually bright) colors. For this reason it’s less believable. And recent studies have shown that customers are 1/3 more likely to purchase based on an ad showing a real person rather than a stock model.

Stock photography is, by definition, stock – meaning anyone and everyone has access to use the same images. This can cause confusion, and embarrassment, when the same model shows up in ads for your competition. Don’t think it can happen? Check out this article on Stock Photography from the American Society of Media Photographers. It’s not just the small businesses – even giants like Dell and Gateway can use the same model in the same outfit and the same setting for Back To School ads during the same month. Oops!!

Dell and Gateway use the same stock photography model for competing ads

The girl pictured above is one of the most popular stock models in the world. See just a few examples of how often her image is used in advertising and you can start to see some of the confusion that could arise if your competitor is showing that she “switched to X brand” after your ad had run.

Hire a Professional Photographer

A professional photographer can ensure that you have high quality images customized to your exact needs, and images that only you will have. We have previously shared 10 Reasons to Hire a Professional Photographer, which is a great start. Key points are that a pro will have the experience and the means to ensure that your photo shoot is successful and meets your needs, on time and on budget. The pro knows how to make you look your very best, both photographically and with professional retouching.

The photography portfolios on this site show a variety of photography now available in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, including commercial photography, corporate portraits, and event photography . Another valuable resource that we recommend for photographic talent nationwide as the American Society of Media Photographers’ Find-A-Photographer database. The ASMP site allows you to search by geographic location as well as photographic specialty – and features many of the best professional photographers in the country.

Have any questions? Please feel free to give Morton Visuals a call (toll-free) at 888-239-6213, or email us. We’re happy to help! Have any comments or suggestions? Please feel free to comment here. And of course please feel free to share this article on your social media!

Lost or Stolen Camera – Now What Do I Do?

Losing a camera, or worse yet having one stolen, is one of a photographer’s greatest fears. When you depend on your cameras for your livelihood, it can cripple your business. Granted, most professional photographers have (or should have) business insurance which can replace the lost equipment — but it takes time to go through that process. And if you have jobs imminent, or are on a job when it happens, you will have other challenges to face. Rentals can get you through the original crisis, but what then?

First off, file a Police report ASAP. This will be necessary for your insurance claim as well.

Once the Police and insurance companies have been notified, try the resources below to try to track down your missing equipment.

Hopefully this will give you a good start on reuniting you with your beloved photography gear. If you have other resources or suggestions, please include them in the comments below!

Models/Talent – How To Prepare For Your Photo Shoot

Preparing yourself for an important photo shoot can be a daunting task. Many models or actors try to crash diet before the shoot, spray tan, or try any number of other “quickie” fixes at the last minute. Below are some great suggestions from renowned Makeup Artist Mary Erickson.

Most professional model knows by experience about what needs to be done before a photo shoot. If you do not have a lot of modeling experience I suggest you look over the following list of things that will help you for this shoot and in the future. The more of these guidelines you follow the better your shots will turn out.

  1. 72 hours before your photo shoot, avoid the following items (these items can give you oily skin and swelling):
    • Red meat
    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine
    • Spicy foods
    • Retin A and Alpha Hydroxy creams (causes skin peeling that will show with photo makeup)
  2. Drink lots of water, carry it with you everywhere you go, and keep sipping.
  3. Exfoliate your skin at least once a week and also the morning of the shoot.
  4. Have your brows professionally shaped and then keep them up by plucking the strays every few days. I will Pluck strays the day of the shoot but may not have time to shape your brows.
  5. It is a good idea to carry your own mascara to the shoot with you. Some make-up artists use mascara with the same wand on several people. This can spread infection very quickly. Unless you know the artist and know that she only uses disposable wands, it’s best not to take your chances. I do use disposable wands!
  6. Dark roots will look even worse in photos. Refresh your hair color a few days before your shoot. If you do not color your hair, try “shades” or a toner just a shade lighter then your hair to make it shine. If you need a trim, do it before the shoot.
  7. Fingernails and toenails should be one length, well manicured, and the polish should be colorless or French, unless this shoot calls for color.
  8. All traces of makeup should be gone from your skin. All eyeliner and mascara should be gone. Your face should be clean and product free when you arrive.
  9. Do not over condition your hair before a shoot. Do use your regular styling products to make your hair behave, as chances are the hair stylist will not be wetting your hair and not be able to use gels, etc. Your hair must be dry before you arrive at the shoot.
  10. Avoid dry lips by putting Vaseline on your lips before bed and the morning of your shoot.
  11. For body (lots of skin showing) shots, be sure you get rid of tan lines by visiting a tanning booth a few times. Also get rid of unsightly body hair.

If you are paying the artist, feel free to give advice on how you want to look. The photos are yours and you will have to live with them. If it is a commercial shoot or a shoot that someone else is paying for its best to keep quiet on makeup and hair. Chances are the artist knows what the photographer and art director want. It may not be what you prefer but normally the person paying for the shoot likes to make ALL the decisions. If you are new at modeling is a good idea to go ahead and let the artist make the decisions, even if you are paying her or him. In most cases they will know what will look better in the photos – they are dealing with lights, backgrounds and lens filters that you probably are not familiar with.

Mary’s website is full of useful information, especially for the aspiring or “up & coming” makeup artists – check out her Q&A page! And if you want to gauge whether or not she knows what she’s talking about, check out her resumé!

San Diego makeup artist Mary Erickson

Helpful Wardrobe Suggestions for Headshots

Since these questions come up constantly, my favorite makeup artist Mary Erickson put together this handy list of considerations when preparing for your headshots.

  • Bring shirts with a collar as well as different necklines.
  • Bring at least 6 different tops to choose from.
  • No sleeveless shirts for headshots, they can make the arms look big and skin below the face takes the attention away from the face.
  • No solid white.
  • Solids usually work best, stay away from patterns and busy prints.
  • Bring a lint brush or lint roller, fuzz will show on dark colors.
  • Make sure your clothes are pressed and clean – very few photographers have irons or extra time. Photo retouching on soiled clothes will usually cost extra.
  • Stay away from clothes with big buttons or ornaments that shine and compete for attention.
  • If you wear earrings they should be small studs. Keep jewelry at a minimum, because anything flashy will distract from you.

Mary’s website is full of useful information, especially for the aspiring or “up & coming” makeup artists – check out her Q&A page! And if you want to gauge whether or not she knows what she’s talking about, check out her resumé!