Groundhog Assignment

It’s inevitable that if a client retains you for long enough, eventually you’ll end up repeating a previous job.

This might be as simple as updating a portrait of the CEO, and you’re not normally looking to reinvent the wheel in that scenario unless the company imagery needs a change of style. On other occasions it’s about finding a fresh way to re-photograph an older idea.

Such it was last November when Wickes asked me to repeat what I’d done for them in a previous year. That is say, a press shot to illustrate the story that their call-centre colleagues would be operating the switchboard into the night in order to take pledges for Children in Need.

call centre lady

Hardly an original idea, but the wig, expression and phone receivers make it eye-catching

The lady in the red wig was the shot which went out previously, and it was very well received, but of course I didn’t simply want to repeat that. I had to come up with something similar, but not the same.

Luckily this time around the props were different, but the setting was the same – a dark, messy open-plan office space with light which wasn’t going to work for pictures. I decided to use the Pudsey Bear bunting and a different floor of the office which was closed for the night, therefore I could set up lighting and spend some time with the model photographing her away from all her colleagues to reduce the embarrassment factor.

call centre lady at Wickes for Children in Need

This time the bunting added colour and gave more clues to the story

The results convey a similar energy and use much the same “tight” newspaper style, but the content of the picture is subtly updated and more of the Children in Need branding is included, which I think helps to tell the story even more fully.

You might think it would be boring to have to repeat something previously photographed, but for me it was more of a challenge to come up with something new, and I enjoyed the challenge enormously. The thing about photography is you can always update and improve a good idea.

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  • Ken of London January 18, 2012   Reply →

    Tim happy new year, great article to start the year off with.

    You have nailed it well as usual. Yes we do get to repeat some briefs however thats part and parcel of being a full time pro, we all want to do new and exciting stuff, but our clients want steady and reliable, hell its their business so of course they are steady as she goes.

    The difference is being able to not only repeat the shot but as you have done, inject an annual flavour which offers the same but different outcome.

    Not easy, but if pro photography was easy, then everyone would be doing it …………….. hang on everyone is doing it, or at least claiming they are …………….


    • Glass Eye January 18, 2012   Reply →

      Again, Ken, thanks for your continued support. It’s always appreciated.

      Agree about it being part and parcel of the job. Oh and I’ve seen some terrible work recently by someone who has bought a camera and set themselves up. It’s a shame as it risks bringing the profession into disrepute… hold on, the profession is already in disrepute 😉


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