Building a Business Photography Stock Library
The advantages of building a business photography stock library are many. With a large supply of photos, HR and marketing departments have lots to pull from for their various needs, including promoting events, marketing the business to customers as well as prospective employees, and website materials – all of which build the image of a business. I worked with Exact Target, now Salesforce Marketing Cloud, for many years growing their stock library, and at the end of over ten years had accumulated thousands of photos to pull from. By having pictures of their people and their space that defined their business image, they were always able to easily create marketing materials for any occasion.
I was working at Exact Target as a developer at first, and started work as a photographer when my interest and skill in photography was discovered. They asked me if I could put it to use in the company. I began simply with employee portraits, then moved to photographing the user conferences. For these events, the goal was to create images that would promote the next event. I took stock photos of the attendees as well as on-stage shots of the speakers, who were often big names like Richard Branson, Malcom Gladwell, and Seth Godin. By having their own images, all marketing had to do to promote the next event was to go back to the last user conference stock for fresh photos.
From there, the library just kept growing. To market the business to both prospective employees and to customers, the marketing and HR department always had things and people for me to photograph. I took a lot of stock photography of the office, going in and retaking pictures every time a significant remodel happened so the images stayed up to date. New employees were always photographed so they would have headshots for future speaking engagements or white paper attributions. HR would use the stock library to create printed photo books as gifts for ten year anniversaries. They would also make large banner prints of really cool concerts they hosted like Train, and events the business participated in like an Exact Target logoed Indy race car. These banners also served as popular items for auctions at fundraising events.
Exact Target kept their images in Dropbox folders so many different people in the company had access to them. However, the library grew so large, marketing and HR eventually asked me to be the keeper of the library for them, finding the images they needed quickly. Forming a relationship with a photographer is a good idea if you want to build an image library for your business. The value a photographer adds is not only image creation. It is the familiarity they have with your business that allows them to help you best manage your assets and build a consistent brand image. As a freelance photographer, I do this with many companies. I get to know them, the employees and their C-suite people, and it helps improve the quality of the photos. I know what images need to be created to tell their story.
Business photography needs vary from company to company. As an experienced business photographer, I can help you with professional headshots, executive portraits, stock image creation, group shots, and more. You can contact me here.
In 2010, a gallery in downtown Indianapolis hosted Paul’s amazing series “Noticing”. To prepare for the show, Paul made more than 50 prints of likely candidates and then sifted through them carefully, choosing only a handful to frame for the show.
Three years later, on a de-cluttering binge, I came across the cheap prints in their Target envelope. What to do? I was recycling unnecessary papers and composting sensitive documents I should have shredded, but neither of those were options for photo prints. I do what I can to keep our messes out of landfills. And anyway, they were so pretty!
This was my solution—or partial solution. Thirty lucky prints got chosen and stuck to the bedroom wall. Yup, just Scotch-taped their butts right up there. I sorted them roughly into a spectrum, and eyeballed their level. It was all very low-tech, instant gratification. Yeah, it’s a little dorm room-y, but the wall was bare before.
Have you done something interesting to keep items out of the trash? Can you share an interesting way you’ve used a photograph? I’d love to hear about it, especially since that Target envelope is still sitting around with at least 20 more prints inside.
Guest Post: Nicole Ross
In 2013, she founded Creative Quarterback, collaborating with other talented freelancers to provide small businesses and nonprofits with solutions to their creative needs. Her expertise and generosity make Nicole a bright light in Indianapolis and the world.
Nicole loves her beagle Penny, horses, cupcakes, and doing interesting and beautiful things. This month, one of the many things she’s done is to write a blog post for Paul. Thank you, Nicole!
Living in the Moment…Forever
By Nicole Ross, Founder, Creative Quarterback LLC
Most adults agree, their memories aren’t as good as they used to be. It’s not just aging that’s to blame. We work longer hours, spend more time on screens, and juggle dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of personal and professional responsibilities 24/7/365. Our poor noggins simply can’t keep up.
Ask me what I did today, and I can probably recall a few highlights. Ask me what happened last week, last month, or last year on this date…and I have absolutely, positively no idea. The same is true about very formative periods in my life – like “growing up,” “high school,” or “college.” At the time, I thought every memory, every event, every person, and every lesson learned was deeply etched into my memory. Apparently not.
I spent the last decade working for ExactTarget – a fast-growing tech startup that was eventually acquired by Salesforce in 2013. To say I witnessed a lot of change would be an understatement. Time at “ET” was like dog years – more happened in 10 years than in 53 years at other companies. Unlike the blurry memories from my formative years, however, I have vivid, lasting memories of every major company milestone, program, and event. Why? Two words: Paul D’Andrea.
From our early years all the way through the acquisition, Paul essentially served as ExactTarget’s visual historian. We hired him to take pictures of every company meeting, user conference, volunteer outing, company picnic, holiday party, and new hire class. When I moved from Marketing to HR, I also recruited him to document everything from internal program materials to video shoots (yes, we took pictures of video shoots), our annual employee anniversary celebrations, and more.
If HR sneezed, I wanted a professional photo of it.
Sound over the top? Looking back now, I can honestly say professional photography had the greatest return on investment of ANYTHING I did in Marketing and HR—combined. Here are 5 reasons why:
Milestone moments (and memories) are fleeting. Your company’s history gets longer every day (literally), and you’ll wish you had high-quality photos from every stage of its evolution. If you miss the moment, it’s gone forever.
What you see is what you get. Whether you’re trying to sell your software to a client, a new wellness program to your employees, or a new idea to your executives, professional photos set you apart and get you noticed. . You’ll be amazed how much more polished your programs, team, and events appear when you promote them with professional photos. Perception is reality.
Stock photos are hit and miss. You can’t shoot a custom photo for every scenario, but you can create a custom ‘stock’ library of your actual offices, employees, swag, and clients that you can reuse over and over. Avoid downloading generic photos online (or, God forbid, using clipart). Your audience will gravitate toward authentic images over staged ones every time.
Get people invested. Your company’s “old timers” shouldn’t be the only ones who understand and are proud of your history, culture, and programs. Photos allow you to share key milestones and important information with new employees and get them invested faster.
Tell me about it. Professional photos are like the gift that keeps on giving. Even after you leave a company, you’ll find countless uses for the images you gathered – from your LinkedIn profile to presentations to articles and beyond. Best of all, you’ll have them to look back on when you want to reminisce about the good times you had.
Now, as owner of my own ‘virtual creative agency,’ professional photos are one of the first things I recommend to my clients. Doing a website refresh? Creating marketing collateral? Launching a new program or product? Custom, professional photography is a must.
Bottom line: Do what it takes to create memories that last. You won’t be sorry.
Cover Shot: Rook Security
At the end of the winter (doesn’t that sound wonderful?), Paul made pictures for an Indianapolis company, Rook Security. Here, J.J. Thompson, Rook’s CEO (right) poses with CloudOne’s Jim Goldman for a magazine cover: InfoSecurity Professional. The bank vault door illustrates the sense of security they hope to convey to clients who entrust them with protecting their data.
Paul has already blogged about the challenges of working in this very office with its moody lighting (see that article here).
The amazing meeting room is sleek and industrial—actually the inside of the bank vault. The transparent dry-erase board is amped up with a blue glow of its own, and a combination of overhead cans and under-table lighting complete the work space.
However cool the environment, though, photographs of people in dark rooms are not always flattering or even clear. Paul needed to use his own lights to allow the people to show up nicely; but his lighting cancelled out the blue glow of the work board.
So then some Photoshop magic was necessary to combine two images—the people looking good in one image (above), and the moody blue room by itself in another (not pictured). The two get together for a striking final product.
Have a challenging work space that you’d like to have photographed? There are people out there who love to play with lights and solve puzzles. Get in touch!
Client Work: Careerable
These portraits of Katie Lindahl Smith were taken at the vibrant offices of Trendy Minds, downtown on Market Street. Katie is a career development coach, serving Indianapolis through her own business called Careerable. (Visit her blog for some truly inspired articles.)
The space is clean and bright, but at the same time, warm and full of little details of interest.
Katie is great to photograph, and is radiant with passion for her work and her interactions with people.
Getting the light in an office just right is sometimes a puzzle. Finding a solution is often the key to a great looking photo in your own space. Paul combines the existing office light with tricks of his own, drawing from his years of experience playing and working with lighting.
Client Work: Productive Leap
Naomi here, writing for Paul today.
Here’s one of our favorite people, Chris Yates.
Paul met with him last year and played in Fountain Square, downtown Indianapolis.
They took some wonderful portraits that show off a lot about Chris’s personality. I see several of the things I like most about him in these expressions and settings: the unique sense of style Chris has for himself, his no-nonsense professionalism, and his yes-nonsense attitude of fun and spontaneity. I think Paul and Chris worked well together building this set of portraits.
Chris offers strategic consulting through Productive Leap, and works full time through SmarterHQ, combining all those qualities I mentioned above.
Paul offers fantastic corporate and brand photography sessions—in his studio, the workplace, or your choice of Indianapolis sites that help represent you.