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!

William Morton Judges SkillsUSA State Competition

William Morton of Morton Visuals photography in San Diego was selected as a judge in the 2011 SkillsUSA California State Conference  in San Diego yesterday. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA’s mission is to help its members become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.

In the photography category, contestants demonstrate their ability to use digital SLR’s, image editing software (Adobe Photoshop) and professional studio lighting. Students perform on-site photography, portrait studio lighting & posing, process and print digital photos and submit two 11×14 or 16×20 mounted & matted photographs in advance of the contest to be judged and displayed at the competition. Contestants are evaluated on their mastery of entry-level job skills. William, along with Professional Photographers of California (PPC) Executive Director Roger Daines, PPC President Phillip E. Abel (Regional Manager with the MAC Group), and industry expert Lorenzo Gunn of Burrell Color Imaging, interviewed 22 finalists from all over California in order to select two student photographers to go on to the national competition in Kansas City this June. This challenging process took approximately 5 hours, with the entire judging panel agreeing on the photographers that were the best choices to represent California this June.

SkillsUSA logoSkillsUSA serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations. More than 14,500 instructors and administrators are professional members of SkillsUSA. To learn more about this very worthwhile program, visit http://skillsusa.org/about/infoform.shtml.

Best Use of Your Event Photographer

Since I am often asked this question, I wanted to provide some answers here. How can you best utilize your photographer at your event?

  • Documentary Photography
    Documentation is the most popular use of an event photographer. Images often get reused next year as groups show potential attendees (or sponsors) how much fun last year was. And it helps remind us of who was there, particularly important at events like family gatherings.
  • Public Relations Photography
    • Media/P.R. – If you have a celebrity making an appearance or an employee receiving a “Top Earner” award. Community Service events are often publicized in the media, garnering valuable PR for a company or organization.
    • Internal Publication – Often companies showcase their conventions, events, award winners, and the like on their company Intranet or in internal publications. This use often builds camaraderie and encourages future participation from others.
  • Live Entertainment
    • “Live Photography” can capture guests arriving, celebrating, and indulging in the event’s activities – and simultaneously be displayed for the enjoyment of others. For example, guests arriving on the red carpet can have their images displaying on a projector or big screen inside the event just moments later. So the guests become part of the entertainment!
    • Event Showcase – Images captured throughout a conference or convention may be merged into a slide show that is displayed at the beginning of an awards banquet on the final night.
  • Portraiture
    • Formal Portraiture – This is the perfect time for a formal portrait of the group, and for individual executive portraits. Major events like a convention or annual conference may be one of the few times an entire Board of Directors can be able to be together (with a photographer available). Other key personnel may usually work out of different offices. Not to mention the fact that formal events like awards banquets often allow guests to enjoy a “prom photo” with their significant other dressed up in their finest!
    • Green screen photography is quite popular at a casual event, particularly if there is a theme to the party. These are always fun, and a great way to enhance the celebration.
    • Printing on-site – The ability to print immediately, and hand your guests a print to take home with them, is huge! Not only do they now have something tangible to hold on to, whether it’s a keepsake courtesy of the company or a memory that they purchased at the time, this simple portrait print lives on. At a minimum this provides ongoing advertising for the company or sponsor, as the event name and/or sponsor logo can be part of the image.

These are but a few examples of how you can use your Event Photographer. Do you have any other ideas? If so, please share them with us by commenting below. Subscribe to this blog to see others’ ideas as they are posted.

Morton Visuals Goes On Location For The Pink PartyPhoto courtesy Tom Yip Photography.

William Morton is a commercial and event photographer based in San Diego, CA. Shooting professionally since 1991, William began focusing on event photography in 2004 and now shoots for clients nationwide. To see more of his commercial and event photography, visit MortonVisuals.com.