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Building out the wow!

“We need a photo to go with this” is a frequent statement uttered by the designer during the creative process. Whether it’s a branding initiative, marketing strategy, communication plan, or key messages mandate, as a vision turns into a reality an array of stock photography is always readily available to choose from. The trouble is that these photos often only more or less fit the bill, meaning that compromises and concessions must be made to the concept because the available photography doesn’t quite meet the creative expectations nor the finely tuned strategic objectives of earlier groundwork.

And by selecting a stock option, there’s a risk of making the same image choice as one of your competitors or, worse yet, a company or product that you don’t want your business associated with makes the same image choice as you. And that’s because when using stock photography, everyone is making selections from the same pool of images.

An important aspect to being a good creative director is not necessarily about having great visions and developing unique concepts but being able to effectively lead and inspire a team to achieve the best possible results. And a key member of that team is a photographer.

A professional photographer understands the importance of, and the need for, good image making. You can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars developing a new communications initiative but the digital or print collateral can fall flat without properly conceived and produced photography that supports strategy.

A knowledgeable photographer understands the finished look that is sought and sets out to achieve it. Sometimes the parameters for a look are not quite set and the photographer’s job is to determine the best way to capture and convey the right feeling. The creative director sets the bar and lays out the directions but it is up to the photographer to scout the area, look at the challenge with a fresh set of eyes, talk to the players involved and understand the mood and tone required to figure out the visuals that will fit the vision best. This is where the pro adds the greatest value.

Other times, the parameters are defined and rigid, making the photographer’s job easier but still necessary. Great photography sets a tone, a feeling and a mood.  And the subjects in those photos need to be genuine, not forced. A photo done poorly makes a person look severe, annoyed and unfriendly, whereas a photo well made makes a person look sincere, authentic and approachable.

There should be no compromises or concession when using custom photography and the words “it’ll do” are never uttered. Solid image making elevates a project’s appeal and increases its potential to reach its audience and enhances ‘stickability.’ And that makes for a perfect fit every time. WOW!

Read other posts in this series:

Creating the WOW!

In the creative process, writing shouldn’t be DIY

January 09, 2017 by: Klaus Uhlig
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