Over the past few years, I've worked with a number of both local and global companies who- while rebranding or updating their websites- wanted new images to go with it. I'm going to be honest: it was a stretch for me, at first, to go into a fluorescently-lit complex or a dim and dated foyer, and do what comes fairly naturally to me in someone's home (or outside in ideal lighting). Having said that, I love a good challenge, and I also got the unexpected perk of getting a glimpse into what makes these companies and businesses tick.
I've had the privilege of working with global companies like Sabra, and San J International, as well as local businesses here in Richmond such as Baskervill, HG Design Studio, West Creek Financial, The Mom Complex, and Peter Blair Accessories.In each instance, I met with a creative director or project manager to get an understanding of their brand, their overall aesthetic, and their general expectations for the shoot. We discussed the technicality of head shots and group photos, but most of them were more focused on the "lifestyle/candid" portion of the shoot. It's a trend that's been on the rise in the past five years- this idea of showing the day-to-day life in a business or corporation in a way that upholds their brand or mission.
Certainly, the goal of every ad or marketing campaign is to tell a story. But there's storytelling to be done behind the scenes as well- those that will endear clients or consumers to the people who comprise the company.
Sabra | Obela.
Not surprisingly, when it came to the in-house "lifestyle" portion,all of them essentially said the same thing to me:
"We want our clients and consumers to get a glimpse of who we are as a company- beyond what we make or provide."
HG Design Studio
After all, your brand isn't just what you do. It's why you do it. And in order to show that in the most authentic way, you have to be willing to do the necessary research beforehand. (In fact, I'm currently putting together a step-by-step course that will walk photographers through the process of providing imagery that's congruent to a company's particular narrative. More on that soon!)
(Peter Blair Accessories).
Over the past three years, I've learned firsthand that storytelling in photography isn't reserved only for couples, families, or celebratory milestones. Global corporations and small businesses alike have their own stories to offer. Beyond the mission statement that holds the company together, there are also the individual journeys and personal experiences of every person employed there. I've wandered through enough corridors and sat in on enough meetings to hear employees, CEO's, and CFO's alike talk passionately about embracing a new direction, solving a particular issue, or even bragging about their kids.
The connecting points are there; you just have to be watching and listening for them.
(In the elevator with some of the crew at West Creek Financial. I loved the circle patterns of the coffee cups and overhead lights in the mirror above us).