Photography used in a corporate outreach has the purpose of supporting a message. A good photograph will engage the viewer in a story about the timbre of the company or illustrate a particular point being made in the text. A bad photograph will belie everything the company is hoping the viewer will appreciate and actually evoke a cynically opposite reaction. Let’s look at the example below and see what this outreach says about the real nature of the high-profile national company.
The photograph in question shows the local bank manager extolling the Welcome and Expertise to be found at her bank. As lovely and worthy as the manager and the company may be, the real reaction to such a poor photograph begs questions such as:
- Does one hand of the organization know what the other hand is doing? They have spent time and money to put this campaign together with certain standards applied at the head-office. Someone signed off on the master, what happened to the standards at the local level? Does this disparity carry through the whole organization?
- Has head office saddled the branch with the programme and not funded it at the local level, requiring the manager to stand against the wall while an employee shoots the picture? Where’s the “Expertise” in this? How expert are these people
- Does the manager “hate having her picture taken” and just wants to get this over with and therefore will allow anything to pass just so long as she’s not discomforted further. “It’s good enough…”? If so, how will she deal with any problems that might arise with my account? Will she do whatever is the easiest way to get it out of her hair and not really look at the consequences?
- Does the manager or the person responsible for the production think that this is a good picture, telling the right story? If so, again, where’s the “Expertise” here?
- How much does the bank really care about consistent quality in all its paradigms? Does it really look out for the details?
Am I being a bit harsh in my critique? Perhaps. But when the initial reaction to an important outreach is, “ Is this the best they can do?” we find that a throwaway photograph can mean a throwaway outreach.
My advice: hire a good professional photographer or don’t use a photograph you’re not proud of.