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How Do I Look? The Value of Professional Photography

I admit it. I am addicted to makeover shows. I TIVO How do I Look? and What Not to Wear (only the BBC America version!) regularly. Before I lose the male reader, makeover shows are to most women what televised sports are to most men: an opportunity to vicariously experience another’s agony and ecstasy from the comfort of your own armchair. I used to watch with the attitude, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Now, apparently grace-free, the fashion victim is me, so the shows have become my bible for camouflage dressing tips to hide the effects of gravity, life experience and a fondness for gourmet food.

I find it is also essential to have a hefty repertoire of makeover tips for some of my design projects. When we begin a project, clients hand over their best ideas and goals for a brochure, web site or ad. Unfortunately, they rarely include usable photography. The advent of affordable digital cameras has created a monster. (Don’t even get me started on camera phones.) Like a Maserati in the hands of your mother, the equipment does not make the user a professional. While personnel make good use of the cameras for documenting field situations, they don’t produce the kind of “beauty” shots needed to showcase the company in marketing materials, nor are the files large enough (high resolution) to reproduce properly.

If you read my previous enewsletter on professional headshots, you know there is only so much I can do with photo editing software. I have digitally removed debris, turned grey skies blue and added logos to equipment. However, this emergency surgery is no substitute for the artistry a professional photographer can achieve. Give him or her an idea of what you want the photos to project, and the shooter will stage the area, get a series of images and turn the most un-photogenic subject into a thing of beauty.

And, what is the value of good photography? It shows that you have enough confidence and pride in your company or product to show it to its best advantage. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Make your promotional pieces speak volumes by investing in good photography, because when you present an annual report or brochure to a client, you are essentially saying, “How Do I Look?”

Next Issue:

Mission [Statement] Impossible: Defining your company's passon and vision

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