Monday, May 14, 2012

Most organizations need a stock photography library

This photo can be used in many ways for this college. It can be used to show some of the facilities, the idea of small campus (not many people in the photos) and other ways.
One of the best things any organization can do is to create a stock photo library. These  are photos people can use for a variety of uses.

If your organization has certain main themes or initiatives, then you need images to help illustrate the concept.  "Seeing is believing," is the old saying we all know to be true.

Your company maybe in the service industry where you want to emphasize good eye contact with the customers. You would benefit from having not just a few but a variety of photos to use for your website, PowerPoint presentations, training manuals and even use these to drop into videos.

This college wants to emphasize they have trees and lakes at their campus. Even tho they are only minutes from downtown Atlanta, this campus offers a piece of nature and relaxation to its students.
Plan your photo stock shoots

Take some time to plan those photo stock shoots and you will be amazed at how much of a resource this will become for the organization.

Start by making a list of your major initiatives. Maybe your company talks about a certain value added concept you do that distinguishes you from your competition.

Create a list of things your clients are looking for that you address. High school students looking for colleges look for a few things.  See which of these might apply to your organization.
This helps to communicate faculty to teacher ratio. It also shows they have the arts at this school and it shows off the facility.

Things schools typically show
  • Teacher student ratio.  Most schools will try and have lots of photos of their faculty teaching one-on-one or in small seminar settings.
  • Diversity.  Most schools not only want to show what they are, many will shoot stock photos to recruit for what they want to become.
  • Technology. Schools want to show their state of art labs and classrooms. This communicates to a High School student they have an opportunity to work with different technology.
  • Living Spaces. Students want to know where they will live and play. This is where you show dorm rooms, coffee shops, fitness centers and more to help entice students to your campus.
  • Community. While many schools do not show the community they are apart of, most of the schools who want to show all available to a student would want to show things from skyline shots, professional sports teams near by, the arts and anything that helps recruit their ideal student.
  • Extra curricular activities. Students want to know about flying clubs, sporting clubs or anything else that can compliment their time in the classroom.
This living space in a women's dorm is a little surprising to some folks.  Looks very much like a home atmosphere.
Getting ready for the shoot
  • Recruit more models than you think you will need. The best reason to have more models than you need is many will have last minute reasons they cannot make it. another good reason is some models you picked just may not look all that good in photos. Rather than taking a lot of photos of students you will not use, switch people around. You not only get photos you can use, but more photos you can use.
  • Ask models to bring a change of clothes. Two or more outfits can really help you when someone is wearing something inappropriate or that is so busy or loud that it draws to much attention in the photo.  You may want to have some solid colored polo shirts to offer as well.
  • Ask models to wear solids. Also, avoid red and solid white. The red draws your eye to much and the white can sometimes be difficult for printing later.
  • Plan locations and time to transition from one location to another.  It would be easier to use the same classroom and switch out teachers and students than to move from building to building. Unless their are some very specific features in a classroom you are showing off, showing a class is about showing the diversity of your students, the engaging faculty and them enjoying themselves.  Plan enough time for a photographer to pack up, move and then reset things like lights, tripods and light stands.
  • Give time for the situation to work. Give enough time that once the photographer starts to shoot for people to get into it. This means the photographer can shoot a while look at the images and suggest some changes (like switching out people) to get you usable images.
School showing their TV studio facilities.

Your Stock Images are Old

Be very careful to plan stock shoots annually or every other year. Hair styles and clothing styles will quickly date your photos. If your audience is pretty much the same you will need to update more often. Years ago colleges updated their materials every other year.  They were mainly shooting for recruiting materials.

With today's internet, you need to have even a larger stock file that is replenished more often. One organization I work with puts a new photo on their home web page every day. By them rotating this every day the number of people going to the website has gone up.  They are creating excitement by having people wanting to see what is new.

One photographer is having about 175,000 hits a day on his blog and the draw is a photo a day.  Check out Trey Ratcliff's site Stuck in Customs. This is a good reason to have more stock images to help drive people to you.

Product shots 

Don't forget to have fresh images of your products as well. You will help create a mood and ambiance of your product line with images.

Use as graphic elements

When it comes to photos, they can be used as much for their graphics as for their content.

Some of your products can just look cool.  Be sure and get detail shots into your library.

Close-up images can really add impact to a presentation.  You can use them as a background as well.

Keep it Current

One of the best resources for your organization is a good photo library that is kept up to date.

These photo shoots will become your way of having visual images to compliment the initiatives and messaging you need to be doing daily for your organization.  Call me if you need help. I can not only help in shooting but help you create an on-line database for storage and searching.

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