Perhaps the least well-understood area of corporate photography is the group shot. So often the result looks like the subjects have been forced against a wall and are about to be shot for desertion, or they’re lined up like in a wedding photo, minus the bride and groom and not even a slice of cake as an incentive to be there.
There is often no thought to style, composition, lighting or location, or real idea of why the photo is needed in the first place. Just a vague notion that a group shot would be a “good idea”.
Of course the alternative is to buy some random group pic off an internet photo library, but the saccharin smiles, the unrealistically beautiful people – your clients know it’s not you or your business, they’re no fools.
To be fair, the corporate group photo can be quite a challenge because there are lots of busy people to bring together at one time and on one day, and in all likelihood there will be little time to take the photos, added to which; who here likes having their photo taken? No, I didn’t think so.
Then there’s the lighting, location, wardrobe decisions. If not planned properly, it can all get a bit fraught.
So I was pleased to get a call from a long-standing contact, Corrina Cockayne at Target Chartered Accountants in Bath, who was organising a group photo for the corporate finance team. I say pleased, because I knew Corrina would be organised and efficient and would have thought about why this team shot would be useful. In this example, it had been a while since any PR had been done and the team had evolved quite a bit.
The plan was to use an outside location in Bath, and Corrina was already thinking along the right lines – considering what people would wear, what the background should be and getting in touch with the council to check for permissions etc.
My job was to liaise with Corrina, talk over the options for locations and lighting, scope out the location before the shoot and be there in plenty of time to set up and take the photos before the group arrived. I wanted to keep their waiting time to a minimum.
Because of the constraints of the location, I couldn’t spread people about too much or I’d risk all kinds of distractions in the background, but I knew the lighting was going to make this group shot stand out from the usual Crimewatch lineup.
In the event, even though it was “just” a group shot, everyone put in a good effort and wore their best smiles, and the end result reflects the approachable professionalism of the team. A good example of how a group shot can work and be a useful asset in the client’s photo library.