Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5 Designer Tips for Photography with Purpose

Yeap this is my selfie. And if you came from my social media pages
 you would know this is me in disguise, I'll explain this choice later....keep reading.

I wonder if every graphic designer has the same process for choosing photographs so I decided to share my personal process.

With the birth of Instagram and the affordability of SLR cameras some people might think they know photography. And everyone has an opinion on what makes a good photograph. Although I've been properly schooled, I'm not an expert in photography. I am not a photographer. I am sharing my experience in choosing the right photographs for you.

Search online and you'd see that most blogs discuss the subject of photography focus on the technical aspect of a great photo. And although I think it's important, I don't think that should be sole focus when choosing a photo. In my opinion, choosing the right photo is both a combination of your needs as a designer in terms of layout, technical adequacy, and tatatatam....brand personality.

It's about choice making whatever your choice on purpose or with purpose. I don't agree that every photograph has to be technically correct to fit your needs, with that said here are my tips:

1. Determine the personality 

You have to dive deep into your company's/organization to study the mission/goals and find what makes you special. What is it that your organization is trying to project to an outside audience. Your company should already have this so ask a few people.

2. Guide Photographer

In order to get the right photograph you must be able to articulate your needs. Be very specific in what you're looking for. I created a document which I will share at a later time that can be use as a template for you.

Here are some questions that you may want to ask yourself based on what you find about the brand personality:
Do you want close ups?Groups?
Smiles? Dark setting ? Lighter photographs?.

Be brave. Ask for something atypical! Make sure that whatever you choose conveys the emotion you want to portray for your brand.

I know some of you may not have the budget for photography so go with stock photography. You can change this at a later time. Be sure to go to the smaller stock photo companies because there might be less likelihood of your photo showing up in someone else's brochure.

3. Sort and Organize

Once you have the photos from the photographer, you'll see that you have more than you need or that you need other photos. It's important to sort and organize what you have to determine whether your photographs tell the story you want to portray. Look at them together. Make sure you choose based on personality first then technical adequacy (meaning contrast, composition, etc) Do you have have everything you need? Vertical shots, horizontals, wider angles at a variety of locations, with different groups, if not, it's time to reshoot.

4. Test Your Theory 

Now that you have everything you need and it's well organized you can test your brand photographs. Yes, I said it. Use photographs for meetings, social media, and other forms where you won't lose capital. Test out the photos in combination with messaging. Do people respond to your brand? Do you think they tell the story you want to portray?

Currently, I'm working on my personal brand and for that reason I'm using the photograph at the beginning of this post. My brand is opinionated but easygoing, colorful, creative, has a conscience. Basically it's me, but does it really come true in my photograph....well you tell me.

5. Roll out 

Let the fear go and roll out your product using your photography. The job is not done. You have to keep shooting to make sure you capture changes in your brand.

Agree or disagree with this post. Write to me in the comment section below!

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