I’ve been doing work for Raymond James, a global financial services company headquartered in St. Petersburg, for well over a dozen years. I’ve produced everything from head shots to annual reports to event work, usually working directly with their Marketing Department. Chris Bennett, Creative Director, and Grace Powers, Senior Account Executive, called me in to scout a project for imagery to populate a new website focusing on career opportunities within Raymond James.
Challenges: The main challenges here weren’t that unusual for us: we used employee models, so no professional modeling talent was used. This requires making them appear professional and comfortable even though none of the models had any prior photo shoot experience. Over a two day period, we were to shoot over 40 people at 6 different locations around RJ’s expansive campus, and in addition to the imagery for the website, we also produced environmental portraits of all employee models who participated in the shoot, so the number of images to produce meant we had to move fairly quickly, something else that isn’t very unusual!
Client: “Bob did a fantastic job handling six separate photo shoots over a period of two days. Working with people who are not professional models, he was great at making them feel comfortable and getting them to come to life – so much so that most of them looked like professional models by the end of it! We started this project with the intention of using the photos on one website, but because the quality and diversity of the photos were so great, we’ve used them on a number of other projects throughout the company.”
Grace Powers, Senior Account Executive
For this Marketing Photography Case Study, my assistant Stephen Zane, doubled as videographer, putting on display his array of serious talents while assisting in all aspects of the multi-location shoot. Here is the product of his creative efforts, and for the record, he shot, edited, put the music in – the whole enchilada.
Nothing gets in our head and acting nutty more than pictures of ourselves, and moreover, having them taken. As a photographer who has photographed literally thousands of individuals, I’ve pretty much seen it all. I’ve seen people cry on set, I’ve seen people show me the literal side of their head, saying “this is my good side,’ and I’ve seen people give up and walk away from a head shot altogether. This aspect of human behavior fascinates me, and for years I didn’t feel qualified (maybe the lack of a psychology degree?) to opine or give my view on the topic. Well, that has all changed. I am now an expert with my own personal study of an estimated 40,000 participants over the course of 20 years!
Next time you’re scrolling through profiles in LinkedIn or any other Social Media where we represent ourselves with a 3/4 inch square likeness of ourselves, notice the HUGE variety of shots you see as profile photos. We obviously are NOT aligned in our thinking of what constitutes a great head shot or else these would tend to look the same. I know they’re just head shots, but I have some things to say about them, about what makes a good one and what does not. But before I dive in with all of that, I want to hear from you. Ask yourself this question: Is getting your head shot taken stressful for you? If so, why? What kinds of things are you concerned about, what drives you nutty? Have you been scarred by bad photographers? Tell your story! You may have to let the guard down a bit to play here, but don’t be afraid. Good things are coming…
I have been asked this question most days of my 21 year career, and I’m quite certain I’ve answered this question a thousand different ways, if there are indeed a thousand ways to tell someone that I’m a photographer. After a flurry of marketing and social media training over the last 2 months or so, I have a new answer: “I free people from the notion that they hate photos of themselves.”
This was born out of the literally thousands of times I’ve heard this comment as someone steps up to my set (typically a head shot set). I estimate, cuz I’m kind of a stats guy, that 40-50% of human beings make this type of an announcement upon arrival to my set. I have made it my business to send those folks away from my set saying something different, for example, “Wow, that’s the first time I’ve ever liked my photo!”
Call it my mini-ministry, call it a subtext to the hundreds of head shots I shoot every year. I call it a new way to relate to what I do that gives me a way to make a lasting difference with the people I’m fortunate enough to meet every day of my life.
So, that’s it for now – I’ll be saying more – lots more, about this topic in the very near future. I just wanted you to know I’ve been listening to you all these years. Oh, and welcome to my new blog! We’ll talk soon…