I was enjoying coffee with a photographer. Then a man with a large camera and associated bag of tricks began to set up in a corner of the cafe. A legal lady was to have her picture taken.
Cue jokes about long zoom size as appendage compensation. Then sidewards headshakes reminded me of the famed ‘hairdresser syndrome’. Whenever you go to a new trendy barber they shriek at you, wondering how on earth your previous stylist could butcher your look.
Yet in this case, a stream of plausible reasons spouted forth about where the whole approach could be bettered. One way of summing up his advice; ‘lights, camera, action’. The lighting was poor, the backdrop strange and the unnatural pose strained.
My mind turned to thirty years before. The freelance husband of one staffer got the gig to take pics for an exhibition stand. I was struck at the time at how good a job he did. One in particular that made an impression was as he snapped away when a techie took a screwdriver to the bowels of a big computer.
The less staged the better.
I’ve always liked to take my own shots for sales slides. In the Nineties I recall when I won a deal in part due to popping along to the firm’s pre-Handover Hong Kong supplier when holidaying in the Harbour. With my then popular trusty palm-held Olympus µ, I had others take a string of pics as I wandered around their warehouse. The delight in presenting them back in England surely aiding my signature.
Not being a trained photographer does not necessarily matter. Although when an NYU camera grad once talked me through how to snap a springbok I realised how much there is to the art.
You can trail any relevant pic as one you took, suggesting you’re no expert behind the lens, even asking for tips from your audience. So long as you don’t go all Gareth Cheeseman (excruciating prez starts 7’10 in) and show ‘comedy’ or banal slides it can work well.
As I’ve blogged before through my one-time incarceration at the hands of corporate jobsworths, be careful to ask any permissions and best not shoot alone.
It should come as no surprise that an industry niche surrounds dating profile pics.
The main teaching being that you are best advised not to take your own. Saskia Nelson appears one trying to improve chances here. After seeing her tips, you feel you can improve your own slide photos too.
The sweet spot seems to reside in the tricky ground between a random, quickie phone snap and an obviously studio-stylised posing.
The implication; find that natural vibe.
This isn’t an easy place to happen across in the corporate environment.
How can you demonstrate an intangible issue when all you have at your disposal is a clichéd canyon of cubicles?
So why not let someone else try? Can your resolution be seen better through the attuned eye of another? What chance your prospect whipping out their phone and taking a shot or three?
Great qualification too, should you find a willing accomplice.
The key is often in the small detail too.
A pile of anonymous papers overflowing an intray here, the store cupboard looking more like a teen’s bedroom there. The jumbled returns or prototype ideas on a meeting room side table anywhere. Even Milton’s stapler.
I recall a reception I was in recently where there were the typical plants in place. Thin reeded pale greenery in bog-standard white plastic pots. Possibly maintained by an external interest, yet looked fairly bedraggled. Ready for a shot, ripe for a slide extolling the virtues of tomorrow.
Can you spot that which looks like you care, taken from their point of view, is positive, doesn’t smack of a marketing-led stipulation and which any competing option will be nowhere near. Shutters primed to click…