GUEST POST – Laura Pearman: How A Small Business Can Make Professional Photography More Versatile

Amy and I had been talking about ways to gel our creativity into a useful blog for Small and Micro businesses for a while in a Linkedin chat. As I look through our rather long and fun natter in the run up to this, it occurs to me just how different the creative mind tends to work to compared to how the more traditional practices of “official brainstorming”, “work-shopping” (is that even a verb), and then god forbid – the “teleconference” of my previous life in the corporate world.

 

The Thought Process:

Now at first rallying together a bunch of different creative may seem like a daunting and risky business to a small business. Especially one that is rooted in a logical enterprise. I can appreciate that you may feel like you are inviting a bunch of randoms to simply hang, jam and not really get up to much.

In a great ‘doco’ on Channel 4 last year I saw young Billionaire Josh Buckley heading straight to the beach to solve his problems with the development of his new app by playing a game of hacky sac on the beach in San Fran with the rest of his developers.

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In 1971 the Rolling Stones spent their time living in the South of France in a villa called Nellcôte. Although Keith Richards describes (in autobiography ‘Life’) the period of writing as creatively throwing hundreds of ideas up against a metaphorical wall for a year, the result was the album ‘Exile on Main Street’.

So my point here is as a small business the leverage pattern is exactly the same. Use one creative to help you realize your business vision and the results are great. Get the right mix of a bunch of them and you have your very own hit record of your own brand! (tweet this!)

 

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Now if the idea of freezing parts of the creative bits of your business onto a plate and smearing your finger through them seems way too difficult then….

 

Oh wait have I lost you?

 

For those of you who didn’t know this, this is how jam is made! Its called the ‘wrinkle test’. It’s the bit when you have boiled up your fruit and you are testing for how gelatinous its going to be after you have sealed it up in the jar and let it develop. Now I’ll bet you didn’t think you’d learn that when you opened this today!

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/videos/techniques/how-test-jam

… I’d urge you to start thinking about at least introducing your creative to each other. A quick phone call, coffee or skype can actually save you a WORLD OF EXTRA FAFF TIME (AKA hidden costs) after each of the creative has completed their original brief.

 

Let me show you:

 

Photographer 4 Graphic Designer I.D.S.T

So, if I get to meet up with a Graphic Designer BEFORE I get to work on a commercial job I can plan into my shoot the exact framing of my shots before I get to work baring in mind their needs as well as my own during the shoot. If I know that they need a few great panoramic images for a brochure for example than I will be able to shoot these in camera.

The hidden cost that this saves you later is either a costly re-shoot to recapture what the designer really needed, or a lot of tricky retouching to try and create photography that wasn’t there (you often see this on really blurred out backgrounds that have been overly stretched and then masked up after to hide it).

 

Photographer 4 Web Designer 4EVA

If I’m shooting a lot of client product for an e-commerce area for a website and I have met with the web designer before I shoot, I will know the way in which they plan to load in the hundreds of images into the e-commerce gallery. We will have discussed exactly how the colour of the products needs to be labelled, and then we will likely approach the client to get a clear cut plan in place to ensure that the right price, barcode, sizes and all other necessary information is somehow captured through the photography to retouch to upload process so that everyone is happy and working to the same crib sheet.

The hidden cost when this doesn’t happen is that there is a giant needle in a haystack situation waiting to happen. Imagine a giant pile of stock, a few hundred retouched image files, and an impatient web designer, and clients waiting to give you their money but unable to get onto your site to buy your stuff.

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Trent Parke AUSTRALIA. Sydney. Lovers in Hyde Park, Sydney’s main city park. St Marys Cathedral in the background. From Dream/Life series. 2002.

 

 

Photographer Luvs Marketers S.W.A.L.K

Funnily enough I used to be in marketing before I ever began on my adventure as a photographer. So I really enjoy working with marketers. At the beginning of this relationship, it is important that this group is huge, you might have one person right now, but further on down the road you could have a whole party of people who do your social media, emails, then someone else who helps ensure you are staying on point with your brand core values. The truth of it though is that no business can ever survive without good marketing, and if you get your photographer to sit down and understand the subtleties of your business then they can work on ensuring that all of the nuances and communications messages you have flowing through all of that work you do on all of your marketing channels is coming out in your imagery.

If it doesn’t you end up with images that your target audiences describe as “out of date”, “really stock looking”, “just don’t fit”. Or you find that even though you think you are ticking all the boxes in everything you are doing somehow people are just not trusting in you and your brand. Perhaps it is because people are sensing that disjointed feeling and picking up on it?

 

Photographer N Copywriter 831 (that’s 8Letters, 3Words, 1Meaning)

Now I’m a chatty lady! So me and most copywriters get on really well.

The old adage a picture paints a thousand words is good but words AND pictures always compliment each other beautifully. If you can work them in as part of a plan for a business, all the better.

If I had a plan of action from a copywriter for a business before I was on a commercial shoot, chances are I would easily be able to capture plenty of work to keep them loaded up with fresh photography to be used for blogging that supports the exact content of each blog. Or, if I know that a copywriter plans to be doing press releases for the next 6months for a female CEO to with the aim for this particular lady to get nominated for awards, we can adapt a headshots session to ensure we have plenty of headshots that help steer judges along with the applications and the press release. It all works together to create a coherent message.

 

So you see that’s just the benefits of the one-by-one. Now you can only begin to imagine if you began to command all of our creativity as one whole team together AT THE SAME TIME.

 

Your brand and you would be slaying it!

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