Corporate Photography: 5 Essentials For Marketing and Communications Teams
Early each year, we start to hear from a small group of proactive marketing and communications teams. They’re planning corporate photography and videography needs for the year. For simplicity, here we’ll just call it Corporate Photography.
We’ve worked closely with these people and in their businesses for a good few years now. They call and initiate conversations about activity in the calendar year ahead .
There are some common threads worth sharing. If you need clarity on what’s essential with Corporate Photography activity this year, it’s expanded on below.
The 5 Essentials of Corporate Photography
- Start early, use an annual approach
- Photos AND Video
- Review your marketing image library
- Plan focused refresh shoots
- Plan specific business events and theme-based shoots
Firstly, what is Corporate Photography anyway?
Corporate Photography is a common phrase used by marketing and communications teams employed within large companies.
It’s the activity that happens to capture photo and video content to help tell the story of their company’s people and culture at work, products, projects, customer experience, the business environment and operating locations.
For some businesses, the Corporate Photography activity will span a few days each year. For larger and more complex businesses, it will consume weeks.
Usually there’s an approved budget allocation to build and refresh corporate imagery each year. The majority of publicly listed companies spend upward of $100k on Corporate Photography on an annual basis.
The annual spend is typically influenced by the need for imagery, how well the imagery is used in application, and how much a company values their “look”.
The term Corporate Photography is closely linked with images and videos used for marketing.
It’s building a Marketing Image & Video Library
When a business chooses to invest annually in capturing these visuals, they build an asset called a Marketing Image & Video Library. Read more about this here
Marketing image & video assets are curated and only the best imagery is saved and used. See examples here.
Photos and videos are used throughout the year by marketing, corporate affairs and communications teams in publications and presentations.
Photos grace the cover of presentations, add life to website banners, lift brochures and captivate on a billboard. Video footage is used to pull together market analyst updates, project updates or in special event compilations.
Imagery created is usually broad sweeping. People at work photos are heavily used and highly popular, as are infrastructure shots, both land and aerial based.
Those who invest in Corporate Photography see a return on investment. There’s an assumption it’s linked to an increase in sales. For most businesses, it’s more directly linked to improved brand identity in the community, improved culture, employee satisfaction and retention internally.
Now the 5 Essentials.
1. Start early, use an annual approach
It’s January. Now’s the time to start planning activity for this year.
Look at budget, key image requirements, critical dates, the availability of key people, as well as the photography and videography team.
As the calendar year progresses, the business tempo increases and it gets harder to lock in resourcing.
It’s best to approach the planning of activity in two ways.
- Prioritise the refresh of a Marketing Image Library.
- Get specific about what events or key themes also need to be captured throughout the year.
More on both below.
Most proactive companies do a full refresh every year. Smaller businesses keep current by doing a refresh of imagery every 2 to 3 years.
At the 5 year mark, it’s definitely time for a refresh. Most faces, places and products have changed substantially and need updating.
2. Photos AND video
Switch to pro-active mode and where possible, include video capture in all Corporate Photography activities.
Keep grabbing video footage at every opportunity and adding it to the library.
Then when it comes time to pull together a new corporate video, or updated capability statement in video form, you have a massive head start.
Also, if the business approach to updating a corporate video is in isolation to ongoing photoshoots, there’s missed opportunity here too.
Often we see the photo and video requirements being managed by different areas of the business and there’s missed efficiencies.
Also, audit your current suppliers. Know their individual strengths so you can max out on their capabilities when onsite.
3. Review your Marketing Image Library
Look at existing people, equipment and infrastructure imagery. These get used heavily.
Look at what needs refreshing
- What’s been overused?
- What’s old?
- What’s missing?
For those cracking images that get used everywhere, but have been around for a while, get new versions of them. “Same but different”.
If team photos are looking a bit 2019, plan to get fresh ones. What images are you not proud of? Ditch them.
Add these to the list.
For any individual in a customer or client facing role, make sure they’re visible. Do they have a business portrait they feel good about? Is it on the website, in tender documentation, in their LinkedIn profile?
You almost can’t have too many shots of your people at work looking like they enjoy what they are doing in their work environment. People in their happy place photographed in a way so it’s a strong marketing image.
All progressive companies want and need these people shots.
All marketing collateral relies heavily on the use of these sorts of images.
4. Plan focused refresh shoots
Aim to build a fresh collection of the basics – strong marketing images, generic and scene setting photos and video footage.
Get broad sweeping images of people at work in their happy place.
Locations, Equipment and infrastructure
Visible in both landscape and aerial perspective if possible to allow broad application.
5. Plan specific business events and theme-based shoots
Look at what’s happening in the year ahead that’ll be significant to team members, management, owners, shareholders and the community.
- Is there a product launch?
- A project completion?
- A new location opening?
- Milestone to be celebrated?
- VIP’s visiting?
- Key themes?
These images are event or theme specific. For example “in August we’re expanding to a new location”.
Lock in what you know early, these photo and video worthy events will likely continue to pop up during the year.
Remember to also use these shoots as an opportunity to continue to build on or refresh your Marketing Image Library – generic broad appeal brand images while you’re there.
Grab these, but not at the expense of capturing the event well. Capture them as an addition to the base requirements. That’s how it works.
Final thoughts for peace of mind
By now, it probably feels like there’s a lot to plan.
Here’s some insight on Corporate Photography briefs. The textbook say it goes a little like this…
The marketing manager calls and says, here’s our budget, here’s the critical dates we need you to be available and here’s the list of images and video content we may need this year.
The photographer/videographer quotes and locks in those dates.
Quote is approved and the project is go.
In reality, it plays out differently. The business world is fast and fluid, so it goes something like this…
The marketing manager plans as best they can. It’s early days in January. They call and say, this is what I know so far. We’d like to do our corporate shoots in the months of April and May. We’re thinking it’ll be 4 locations over a spread of days, TBC. We’ve also got 3 to 6 business events and key themes to capture this year. There’s a product launch on the 25th Feb, a safety milestone on the 13th March, VIPs visiting in June, and new equipment coming online in Oct/Nov. We’ll need a mix of photos and videos to use across all applications.
Start high level
Each marketing manager provides a high-level view of what the year looks like. There’s limited detail at this point. In early days, there are many variables, many moving parts and it’s all pretty fluid.
Those who have worked with us for few years or more know our capability. They say, “just do what you do, you know what we need”.
Those who are just getting acquainted, try their best to let us know as much detail as they can.
Right now, the important thing is we’re on the same page. The project momentum begins and our collective ideas start to percolate.
We continue to chat about the brief – timing, image requirements and logistics, right up until the day we’re onsite with cameras in hand.
Your Marketing Image & Video Library is an asset
Give it attention, nurture it, add to it, prune in, keep it shiny so at anytime you can put your finger on what you need to make that marketing or communication piece pop.