Looking back at last week, it was a privilege to be asked to photograph the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the University of Leicester. It was a complete whirlwind as they were at the University for less than an hour after their visit to Leicester City FC to pay their respects following the recent tragedy. I was part of the press pack with other photographers and videographers (with some live streaming), all chaperoned by a Palace press liaison team, who handily let us know where to go and when to move on… There was no set up shots and we simply recorded what was happening as they moved from Library to cafe to the outdoor crowds. It’s impossible to hear what’s being said most of the time but my overriding sense was of a very relatable royal couple that took a genuine interest in dignitaries, families, staff and students alike, looking incredibly at ease chatting to the crowds.
I was prompted to write this after going to a marketing seminar recently that promoted the opposite. I had one of those ‘hang on…’ moments so started thinking about why original photography should be the first consideration when you’re looking to market yourself or your company and not stock photography.
1. THEY’RE USING THE SAME IMAGE!
Whether you use your stock image in press or online or on an exhibition stand, there is always the potential that someone somewhere (and heaven forbid, even one of your competitors) may be using the exact same image. I will never forget when many moons ago working in advertising, we were looking forward to seeing our double page spread advert appear in the trade press. The excitement soon evaporated when the advert on the page before was using exactly the same stock image we were!
2. KEEP IT AUTHENTIC
When you are marketing your products and services, authenticity is key. As an example, I’m sure you’ll agree that we all feel much more empathy and connection with ‘real’ looking staff members rather than overly polished stock shot models.
3. INCREASING COSTS
The initial cost for stock images is based on usage. But the charges do begin to mount up when you use the images again and again and start to use across other mediums. And there is also the time spent scouring through the stock libraries for the right picture(s) to take into account.
By hiring a professional photographer, there will be a larger initial outlay undoubtedly. But you will be creating a library of images that you can use indefinitely with no additional charges (please do check the contract or T&Cs with your photographer).
4. DEFINE YOUR OWN VALUES
When using stock photography, you are entirely dependent on how other people define your values. What does partnership mean to you for example? Is it the classic handshake image? Or is it something deeper and more complex that can be represented with a more effective image? Commissioning photography does require some soul searching about what you stand for and what makes you different as a product or service. Your photographer will be able to translate your thoughts into reality and supply you with a gallery images that are bespoke to you.
What do you think? Do you regularly use stock photography over original?
If you’d like to discuss how we can represent your products or services, contact Nick on 07739 035923 or firstname.lastname@example.org And read more about the commercial photography services we provide and follow the links to the portfolio pages.
I’m just reflecting on the hectic, exhilarating and thought-provoking day that was Remembrance Sunday. We were asked to cover the full day’s activities that included the annual remembrance service at Victoria Park in Leicester, the unveiling of the Centenary Square at the University, the wreath laying pilgrimage at 11 locations around Leicester and finally the service at Leicester Cathedral. Our images have already been used widely on social media, the University website and distributed to parties involved.
At the University, it was an honour to listen to all of the speakers marking the occasion including Sir David Attenborough as he retold the incredible story of Dr Astley Clarke who returned from the First World War to form what became the University, with the added poignancy of Clarke’s great great great niece having recently graduated from the University. The University of Leicester marked the occasion with the opening and dedication of the Centenary Square.
I don’t think I will every tire of seeing our images out in the public domain, whether it be for press and PR, printed media or for websites. One stunning website currently using our images is for Croydon High School designed and created by Me&Him (who incidentally also produced the Osborne Hollis logo!) Their concept of ‘Every girl, every day’ showed the remarkable achievements of girls of all ages across disciplines from drama to chemistry and from music to sport; and tells the stories behind the headlines.
I photographed nearly 20 concepts with variations over a two day period, delivering nearly 400 edited images to the client to choose from. As you can imagine, colour correcting and cropping each and every one of the images is time consuming and, as a rule, we allocate the same time for editing that we do for shooting.
As well as for the website, the images were also used for 6-sheet and 48-sheet posters displayed in the Croydon area to promote their Open Days last month. We’ve worked with other GDST (Girls’ Day Schools Trust) schools, as well as other primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities so please visit our education folio page to see more examples.
I’ve been a professional photographer since 1991, although I sold my first photograph when I was 17, in 1985. My first income from photography happened when I lingered around the Stage Door at De Montfort Hall awaiting the emergence of the comedian Rowan Atkinson who had just had me in stitches with his comic antics. I waited with a father and son and when Rowan exited I chatted with him then took a photo of him with the son. The father paid me £30 for a large print and I was hooked! I’d found a way to meet wonderful people and get paid for it!
That night I realised that not only could I make money from my camera but also that photography allowed me to get up close to interesting people. Indeed I discovered that having a camera allowed me all kinds of access to venues and situations which were off limits to everyone else.
Over the years I’ve photographed a huge variety of people in some special places: I’ve spent the day with HRH Prince Charles, enjoyed Sir David Attenborough’s company, been in the Treasury with Gordon Brown, shared a full English with Terry Wogan. I’ve also photographed in Parliament, on Californian beaches, hotels in Singapore and in maggot farms! It truly is an extraordinary job!
Recently I thanked my lucky stars that I’m a photographer again. I was commissioned to photograph the athlete Tommie Smith, who won 200m Gold medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympics. He famously and controversially raised his fist (along with John Carlos) in what came to be known as a ‘black panther black power’ salute. In fact, during the course of the speech Tommie gave (part of Leicester’s Black History Month run by Serendipity) he explained that he wasn’t a political person but the issue of black civil rights in America had become so important to him in 1968 he felt he had to make a stand. Tommie paid a heavy price for his iconic gesture. He was subsequently banned from future Olympic events and his athletic career was effectively ruined due to the bigotry of the time. To read more go to: http://www.tommiesmith.com
It was a fascinating evening and I came away with a new understanding of civil rights history and Tommie’s part in it. I’m so pleased I met such a warm, kind-hearted man who stood up for what he believed in.