Making your photos matter

In an increasingly visual world, the images you share can have a real impact on the people around you. Our Head of Photography, Alan Barton, explains. 

Aug 19, 2019 | Feature

-It’s World Photography Day on 19 August and the event’s focus (no pun intended) is on inspiring positive global change and connecting people through photography.

 

Founded in 2009 by the Australian photographer Korske Ara, the date was chosen because it was when the patent for the daguerreotype (an early method of photography) was issued in 1839. To create an image, a sheet of silver-plated copper was polished to a mirror finish, treated with fumes that made its surface light-sensitive and then exposed in a camera. A process far removed from our modern, digital world.

Photography has evolved

Looking back over my career, it’s interesting to note how technology has changed the practice of photography. Once I’d typically have to leave football matches only 10 minutes after kick-off to drive to an office and develop a black and white print, which then took seven minutes to send to a London newspaper office. Now, I can find myself sitting in a field sending full-colour, hi-res photographs to anywhere on the planet from my laptop!

Telling the story of everyday lives

Photography is now less of a technical thing and more a medium for communication. Just look at Flickr and Instagram and consider how much time is spent scrolling through images on trains, in homes and in business break-out areas. The creators of these images are not trying to show off their skills – they’re using photographs to tell the story of their everyday lives. They’re promoting the positive aspects of their businesses and creating connections with family, friends and clients alike.

From snaps to images that pop

But how well do these images communicate? Many people have more than one Instagram account; one for family, one to promote their business and perhaps one for a hobby. Yet I still see so much photography that is little more than a snap. It’s not that the quality of the image is poor, but that the content isn’t strong enough to deliver even a simple message. 

Here’s how to avoid that…

 Creating impactful images

 

1. Know your subject

As obvious as this sounds, I have arrived at a client shoot expecting to photograph a new factory, only to find that it is a ‘planned’ new factory. Very different scenario.

2. Choose your message

This goes hand in hand with the above, but also helps to distil exactly where to aim your camera. For example, at a horse race, are you telling the story of racegoer fashion, the winning moment or the oldest employee at the course? And what style should it be? Documentary, lifestyle, posed portrait? The best choice is the one that most effectively delivers your message.

3. Make it simple

Less really is more. You’re looking for simple and precise communication, so don’t over-clutter your pictures.

4. Make a plan

Formulate your ideas and check out where you’re going to take your shot. Nip onto Google Street View to have a look round. Check the weather forecast – where will the sun be? Are your batteries charged? There’s nothing worse than driving away from a shoot, thinking ‘I wish I’d done X,Y or Z’.

5. Make it real

As I was recently told at a client’s shoot – we like to see real people, people we can relate to, people who we know and people who inspire us.

 

So, happy snapping this World Photography Day, or should that be storytelling?

Alan Barton, Head of Photography at W&P

 

You may also like…

The power of women

March is Women’s History Month – a month dedicated to celebrating the role women have played in modern history. In the spirit of the month and celebrating why women are great, the W&P team wanted to share just some of the women that inspire us and have helped to shape us creatively…

A unified voice

On the face of it, entering awards can cost both time and money, so it’s easy to talk yourself out of it. But in reality, entering – and winning – awards is great for business on many levels. Here’s why it’s more than just an accolade. Measure for measure When you’re...

Press play on podcasts

Podcasts are so much more than true crime and comedy. They’re intimate, engaging and personal, which makes them great communication tools. At a time when connection and storytelling are more important than ever, a podcast could be a great way to evolve your internal communications and bring colleagues closer together.

Well, then

When Covid-19 hit the headlines last March, none of us knew what was coming. Fast forward to today – three lockdowns, 12 months and countless cancelled plans later – and here we all are; taking it one day at a time and doing what we can to make the best of an unprecedented (sorry) situation.

We see IC Amy Holmes

In the third instalment of our series, we caught up with Amy Holmes, Internal Communications and Engagement Consultant at Marshalls about how they’re paving the way for more diverse communications channels in the future.

Kimberley-Marie Sklinar

In the latest installment of our series, we caught up with Kimberley-Marie Sklinar, Internal Communications Partner at StepChange Debt Charity, on how virtual communications are shaping the future.

Cyber Security

With millions of people around the UK working from home it’s no surprise that we’ve been online more than normal. According to infosecurity magazine in April, there was an overall Internet usage increase of 17%. From Zoom calls for work to FaceTime with friends, people are getting better acquainted with the virtual world.

We see IC Allison Cary

In the second of our series, we caught up with Allison Cary, Internal Communications Lead at Voyage Care, about the ever-evolving role of internal communications in Social Care.

Tone of Voice

COVID-19 has highlighted many things. The British public love banana bread, toilet rolls don’t grow on trees, and how you say something is as important as what you’re saying.

We See IC

Welcome to the first in a series where we grab a cuppa and settle in for a virtual chat with some amazing IC experts.

We caught up with Jen Lock, Senior Internal Communications Manager at Direct Line Group, on all things communications and COVID-19.