Yes, we have seen some excellent pictures taken by amateurs with modest digital cameras or smart phones, but we do not recommend this path to take pictures that will represent your business. Combined with other design elements, the photography you use for marketing can "make or break" your effort.
We recommend you use a professional photographer. Experienced photographers understand how to compose and light a subject so that the focal object is accentuated and not detracted from. Though some businesses may require such quality, it doesn't have to be a $10,000 a day photographer. Depending on where you live in the country and what you need photographed, you should be able to produce good photography for between $1000 and $2000.
Regardless of who takes your pictures, there are some things that should be taken into account and we have prepared a few pointers for you to consider.
1. If the pictures are to be used on a website, show the photographer the website design so that the orientation and relative size of the picture can be considered during the photo session. You don't want 10 excellent landscape oriented photos when your website only uses portrait orientation.
2. If the pictures are to be used for multiple purposes then, as in #1 above, let the photographer know what the pictures will be used for. One object or setting may be used in three separate photographs for different marketing materials with different usage parameters and adjustments must be made.
3. Have the photos taken in high-resolution to ensure broadest usage.
4. Remember that the purpose of these pictures is to convey pictorial information about your company and the simplest pictures are often the most effective. Avoid the use of fisheye lenses, color filters, blurring, or other special effects as this tends to distract the viewer from the intended content and limits future use of the photos.
Preparation For the Photo Shoot
1. Before the day of the shoot, determine how many separate photographs are needed for your various uses and make a complete list of them. It is unlikely that you will have "too many" photos when finished but having "too few" is never good!
2. Determine the areas of your business where pictures will be taken and know the specific offices, products and portions of warehouse or technical areas to be photographed.
3. Areas to be photographed do not have to appear sterile, but they to need to be clean and straightened. Make sure that garbage cans are empty; Post-it notes and similar are removed from the desk and computer monitor areas; cups and glasses are removed; furniture is clean and in good repair; no posters, cartoons or sports logos should show.
4. Personnel should be given notice to be nicely groomed and properly clothed for the photo shoot. "Properly clothed" may mean coat and tie for some employees or jeans and T-shirts for others, depending on the impression of your work environment that you intend to convey. If typical office attire is casual, make sure everyone understands they need to be dressed at the upper end of casual.
Photos and Their UseIf you have any question at all about releases or the use of photographs or images of models or employees please contact your lawyer for an opinion. The following are suggestions and may not apply or be adequate in your particular situation.
1. Photographers typically have some level of copyright protection over photographs that they produce. Before hiring, ensure that your photographer will give you a general release that will enable you to use the photographs for any normal business purpose.
2. Obtain a full release from each professional model used in the shoot.
3. Obtain a full release from each employee that appears in any picture.
4. For various and sometimes personal reasons, some employees may not want their pictures taken for use in public distribution so it is best to find out if anyone has objections before the day of the photo shoot.
5. Avoid taking pictures of other companies' logos or trademarked or copyrighted materials unless you have specific permission to do so.