“What messages are you really sending?”
The photography world has exploded over the past decade, advances in digital technology and the integration of cameras into smartphones have opened it up to a much wider audience. Cameras of today have sophisticated algorithms that overcome some of the complications associated with analogue photography and almost guarantee perfect images which have bright vivid colours, artificial depth perception and instant visual feedback with easy sharing capabilities.
The craftsmanship of the photographic process has to some degree been automated and the superficial ease with which we create images can in turn lead to a somewhat rose tinted view of our own photographic abilities. However this automation now gives us more opportunity to concentrate on the difficult and sometimes forgotten aspect of narrative, for a business this can be varied and require anything from providing factual information to creating subliminal messages to move a viewer to action, it is precisely this aspect of photography that could prove detrimental to any business that undertakes their own photography without the necessary experience and visual literacy required to convey emotion.
There is much research into buying habits and human behaviour and large corporations spend inordinate amounts of money collating data to influence our actions. Have you ever wondered why milk is always at the back of a supermarket, everything is strategically placed to subliminally control our journey through the store and persuade us to part with our cash, so how does this relate to photography? Much in the same way that supermarkets manipulate our navigation, an experienced photographer will have an understanding of the subtle nuances that can influence a persons behaviour, stimulate the senses and make them touch, feel and own the contents of an image, clever use of colour, composition, lighting, etc. will stir the emotions to convey a message in a particular way, it is a complex process of understanding human psychology.
Undertaking your own photography to save money can cost a business much more than just the outlay for the equipment, take into account the initial trial and errors of learning to use the equipment and the time required to create the final images, the subsequent post processing and if the person undertaking the photography is drafted from another department then account for the loss of that persons productivity in the other area, must be added to the cost of photography. Aside from the obvious financial and visible costs there is a hidden danger alluded to earlier that is difficult to see and account for but can have disastrous effects on a business that will only be obvious when it is too late.
Creating images without understanding the visual art of persuasion can have the negative effect of driving customers away, unknowingly suggesting detrimental connotations will give your competition the upper hand and it is very hard to analyse the deficiencies of a photograph as the subliminal messages are not readily apparent. If you are looking at your competition who may seem to have successfully employed the tactics of DIY photography it is easy to surmise that it would be the right path to take, however for all the investment and learning involved you would only have ever managed to level the playing field with your competitor and achieved nothing to take your business one step ahead.
In summary an experienced professional photographer will provide more than just a clean well exposed image, they will have a level of acquired visual literacy that will add creative direction and have positive influences on your potential viewers, they will maximise your investment in photography, making your communications more effective at delivering the message required. The outlay at first may seem costly but when weighed against the hidden pitfalls of doing it yourself can actually turn out to be a profitable proposition.