Business and corporate photography: Skills, message and CI

Corporate photography may not get all the glitz and glam like some of the other photographic niches, but it can be an immensely rewarding a lucrative one nonetheless. One of the best advantages of corporate photography is that you can often generate a steadier rate of contracts than you might otherwise be able to procure in more competitive fields.

Business and corporate photography

However, like all niches, corporate photography has its own specialized skill sets that are required to truly thrive. These types of shots rarely call for the same type of drama as some of the more prestigious niches of photography, but they require no less degree of skill on the part of the photographer herself. In this case, a number of the auxiliary skills which beginning photographers often neglect come to the fore.

The Medium is the Message: The Corporate Photographer Skill Set

Many of the skills a corporate photographer will use are part of any niche – though their focus may differ from one to the next. For instance, all photographers need to have an excellent sense of perspective and visual composition. However, this will mean two very different things when comparing corporate photography to landscape photography.

Corporate photographers will spend much of their focus on human subjects, though scene or equipment are likely to crop up often enough that a thorough understanding of shooting those subjects is indicated as well. One area that can often be more important to corporate photography is symbolic message. With natural photography, you are simply trying to capture the truth of the event. The grace of a hummingbird, the beauty of a verdant mountain, the ominous power of an apex predator, all of these things often display themselves without you having to manufacture the shot. You simply wait until the image lines up and take the shot.

However, corporate photography is often a bit subtler. To an extent, there is a degree of mild advertising or propaganda that often colors the intent of the photograph. If the company makes a point to stress diversity within the workplace, it is probably a good idea to include numerous models of differing ethnicity as subjects within the shoot. If the company is a charitable nonprofit, your images should often include people assisting one another or giving aid to the unfortunate. In this way, it may incumbent on the photographer to understand the institution for which she shoots. This can require and inquisitive mind that asks questions and communicates more effectively than is perhaps required for some other niches—especially those without human subjects.

Difficult Qualities of Corporate Photography

Another factor that may be more important to a corporate photographer than some other niches involves responding to less than ideal conditions both pre and post-shot. Quite often, you will have to take your photographs under fluorescent lighting. This is the bane of photographers everywhere, but understanding how to account for this before or after taking the photograph can go a long way in effectively shooting corporate photography.

More so than many other niches, this will often require a successful corporate photographer to be more than proficient with image editing software. Much of the difficulties imposed on the photographer through less than ideal conditions are able to be rectified with image editing software. Now, with other niches of photography, this may not be indicated as the software may also distort some of the image’s qualities. However, with corporate photography, it is often not as crucial for the finest of details to be as exact as say with fashion or close-up nature photography. In this way, you are afforded a greater leash with the image editing software, but that also requires a greater mastery of the software in question.

Another element of corporate photography that can be troublesome is the human element. When photographing inanimate or non-sentient subjects, it is often a simple matter of either setting up the shot or waiting for it to occur naturally. When it comes to human subjects, there is always an element of necessary coordination. While this is rarely an issue with most niches of photography that rely on human subjects, corporate photography can be a bit trickier.

For instance, within the general photographic shoot of human subjects, the subject is understood to be taking direction from the photographer so that the photographer may obtain the best possible shot. Unfortunately, with corporate photography, this is not always the case. Where few institutions which hire a photographer for general advertising or other promotional campaigns are usually absent from the actual shoot, corporate photography will often include the individuals who hired the photographer in the first place. Generally managers, these individuals will expect a certain amount of deference to their vision or desires, and while it may be frustrating to sacrifice the principles of one’s profession to sate the desires of, at best, an amateur, a corporate photographer would do well to simply “go with the flow.”