Photo direction is something we love to be part of, something we’re confident providing, and something that has proven to be an important part of our design process. Not only is this a request we receive often, but an opportunity for us to carry through our ultimate vision from conception to delivery. Providing intentional direction helps us bridge the gap between what we create and the final result, ultimately, establishing the credibility our clients need to successfully grow their brands.
But photography can be tricky. For a designer, the right photos transform mockups, to living, breathing pieces of valuable brand collateral. And, while a big part of the design process is complete prior to a shoot, we never wrap a project until we see all elements working together, including solid, authentic imagery to help tell a complete story.
At Proof, we follow four simple steps to dictate a successful photo shoot.
Pinpoint the vision.
Our goal is for clients to immediately grasp inspiration from design mockups, so they are able to see what photography could achieve as clearly as we do. To do that, we often use stock imagery to give our clients a general feel for what we want a user to experience. We think about the aesthetic we are trying to achieve, and then pull examples of photos that are successfully executing that same tone.
The biggest challenge in giving photo direction is leading clients less toward being married to exact images and more toward creating an authentic flare with the addition of original, professional, quality imagery. Every time we see an opportunity to innovate or get creative, we take it, and we make it a point to communicate that to the photographer. As important as photos are, there’s nothing less stimulating than scrolling through a site full images that just don’t translate.
This step is all about comparing layout and composition so we’re able to easily meld final photo work into the design. For example, if we create a website that requires a text overlay on the left-hand side of every header image, we need to make sure the photographer delivers perspectives that work. We think critically about why our design works on a base-level so we are able to clearly communicate critical needs to the photographer.
There’s no time for bad photography. Our suggestion? Hitch yourself to a great photographer. We have an ongoing relationship with our favorite photographer in Nashville, Caley Newberry. It’s important to build trust with a photographer who “gets it.” Caley is great about running with whatever we direction we give her. She sees our vision, but provides professional recommendations and uses her unique skill set to capture the best shots possible.
Photo shoots are one of the best parts of a creative process. They’re hands-on, they’re “on site”, and they’re innovative. But it’s easy to get caught up in the end goal and forget about the steps in between. Armed with a well-vetted game plan, and a direction that clearly connects to your brand identity, the right photos can take your branding efforts from good to great.