Why and how to take good business photos

So you want to liven up your reports to clients, or keep people awake in your conference presentations.  You want them to recognize themselves in what you are saying.  You need VISUALS.

Maybe there are no “creatives” in your office full of suits or tech-heads.  Maybe you don’t have the budget for a graphic designer.  What can you do on your own?

You can pull out your smartphone and take PHOTOS.  Here are some tips:

  • Photograph the things your client uses and does.  My client produces compost, so here’s my photo of their pile of beautiful black gold.  If you use someone else’s stock photo, they will notice it’s the wrong model of heavy equipment.

    Compost pile at Toronto Solid Waste

    Heavy equipment moving compost, at Toronto’s Dufferin Transfer Station. Photo copyright 2014, City of Toronto.

  • Show the impressive and important things about your client.  Move around to photograph different perspectives on a big object, like this anaerobic organics digestion plant:

    Exterior of Toronto's Disco Road Organics Processing Facility.

    Exterior of Toronto’s Disco Road Organics Processing Facility. Photo copyright 2014, City of Toronto.

  • Take pictures in daylight.  Your automated camera will be able to focus sharply.  In a bright indoor setting, you can probably still get away without using the flash (it adds glare).
  • Snap lots of pictures, so you can choose the few that best put your ideas in focus.
  • Edit your photos.  You don’t need Adobe Photoshop.  Use any basic photo editor, such as the tool included in MS-Office, or even your smartphone’s photo gallery app.  My three-step editing process:
  1. Crop to eliminate background distractions.
  2. Turn up the Brightness and the Contrast a little bit. (Undo if it doesn’t help.)
  3. Resize the longest dimension to 1000 pixels, for faster web loading.   (Not for high-quality printing – you need 300 pixels per linear inch.)
  • Insert your best photos in presentation slides, diagrams and websites.  Put a photo on the cover of your report, and sprinkle relevant images throughout the pages.
  • Know who owns copyright to your photos, according to your contract or terms of employment.  Keep all the image files and hand them over when the job is done.  (The City of Toronto’s communications department was happy to receive all my photos of their Solid Waste facilities!)

One thought on “Why and how to take good business photos

  1. Pingback: Using videos for innovation in government | Alana Boltwood

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