Beyond the Brief

Next time you’re planning to update the photography for your corporate communications, why not consider allowing some additional creative time within the session? Allowing some creative space beyond the brief could result in some interesting results.

An excellent example of this is from November last year when I was commissioned to create new team head shots for business data analysts Kaiasm – I’m massively paraphrasing what they do for the sake of brevity.

There was one shot which I pretty much took as a bit of a joke; I’d noticed how the data graph behind the founder Liam McGee’s head made him look like he had a halo. When I mentioned this to him, he obliged with a suitable pose and expression and I took the shot.

The photo was included in the final edit because I know clients often enjoy the odd outtake in their set, but I didn’t expect to see it used.

A couple of weeks later, the local paper ran the photo with an article about Kaiasm and their pending expansion plans.

So allowing some creative freedom and a dollop of humour can lead to unexpectedly useful results. That photo will have drawn far more attention to the article than any plain headshot or stock image of the office would have done, and will have conveyed Kaiasm as a business run by human beings, not robots.

Bear in mind the creative possibilities, even the occasional happy accident afforded by engaging a professional photographer, and you may find the results are a revelation.

Creative Field

Assuming for a moment that Mark Twain actually said “golf is a good walk spoiled,” I wonder if he would have been happier taking a good walk with a camera?

Last weekend I went for a walk in the countryside just outside Frome and as I returned across a familiar field, the way the evening sunlight glinted off the grass struck me as especially interesting. So I took a photo. Nothing special there of course, but having taken that photo I decided it wasn’t enough just to show the field as I saw it from my (approx 6’1″) stance. I wanted to explore other ways to convey what I was seeing and feeling as I stood there. I was getting dangerously artsy.

And so I used the same technique I employ when working for a client; I stood quietly for a few moments, considering options, looking at the light, the field, the grass and thinking about what other possibilities might present themselves.

I tried a very low angle which emphasised the narrow footpath through the grass as well as the sunlight glinting off the blades and then I tried for one more shot. Far more abstract this time, but still making use of the sunlit highlights, I lowered the shutter speed and rotated the camera as I took the shot. I might have looked a little daft, but no one was around and I wouldn’t have cared if they were. I was having fun! To be honest, I could have spent hours there interpreting that field in different ways, but for this post I just wanted to illustrate what’s possible with something seemingly lacking in options.

It’s all too easy to see what’s in front of you and assume there is either no photo to be had, or that there is only one way to photograph it. Taking time, engaging the brain and having a think about what, if anything, you’re trying to capture or say in a photo is not only an excellent way to explore ideas, it also saves you taking up golf.