Corporate photographers use many types of photography: editorial, portrait, photojournalism, event, commercial and even architectural.
While each of these require different photography skills, they all have one common goal – to enhance the perceived value of your company. This means the photography must communicate with, and then earn trust from, the public. Trust builds credibility. Credibility grows customers.
The most common type of corporate photography is the business portrait or business headshot. These pictures can be used on the company's "About Us" page, on business cards, as social networking profile pictures, with press releases, in appointment notices, for conference programs and to fulfill media requests.
In today's world, business headshots are pretty much mandatory for all key employees.
Corporate communications and editorial photography
Annual reports, internal publications and marketing collateral all use corporate photography.
Executive portraits and pictures of offices and manufacturing processes are common requests for annual reports. But smart companies are using editorial photography to show their products in use, tell stories about satisfied customers, show employees at work, and showcase employees engaging in community activities.
It's no longer good enough to show only what a company does. It's now important to show how and even why.
Editorial photography is effective because it's a source of information, not a sales pitch. As such, people trust editorial photography the most. Newspapers prove this every day.
Using editorial photography is the best way to earn customer attention and help them understand your message.
Good editorial work is about creating human interest which is also called "storytelling". Get this right and a company can turn customers into fans.
Repeat after me: journalism is not just for newspapers.
Media handouts and press releases
Another popular use of corporate photography is producing pictures for media handouts and press releases. These can be sent to newspapers, magazines, TV networks, radio stations (remember, they have web sites, too), trade publications and many others.
The secret for success is that every press release and media handout must include photography.
Having worked for newspapers, I've learned that a press release with a photo has significantly more chance of being used than one without. Of course, the better the photography, the better the chance of being published and being published big.
It's worthwhile to note that many newspapers and magazines now use "native advertising." This is where a company pays to have its editorial content published verbatim. The native advertising is often made to look like any other page in the publication.
The only requirement with native advertising is that the supplied editorial content must be just that, editorial. This means that quality, editorial photography must be used to be truly effective.
Corporate photo library
Every company should have a photo library with pictures of its key employees, products, offices and manufacturing plants, and perhaps even its products being used.
When a media request comes in asking for a specific picture, a company can't say "we don't have one" or "wait a week and we'll get one."
The moment a picture is not available can mean: (i) the media opportunity is lost or diminished; (ii) the company loses its ability to influence the story; (iii) in times of crisis management, the company loses more control as the media must produce its own version of the missing picture.