So, you’ve got yourself a lovely website, and a nice new LinkedIn account, they probably have basic photos already. But now you need to add some extra images to go with them. What do you do and how do you go about it? More importantly perhaps, what should you not do?
Firstly, try to get your images taken by a professional. If you’ve got a project or some kind of activity you want to promote, get someone who has an idea of what they’re doing, to take the photos. Professional photos are almost always nicer than ones taken by you or someone else.
We strongly recommend, in fact sometimes mandate for clients, that your team headshots and photos of the team working are taken by a professional. Stock images can help, but there’s nothing quite so nice as a picture of your team working in your office environment. And no matter how you try, they won’t look good if you take them with an iPhone, even if it’s a really nice iPhone.
If you can’t get a professional – let’s face it, not everyone has David Bailey at their disposal (even if he were still alive) – what next? Some of the best social media photos are those taken off the cuff on the spur of the moment when people aren’t expecting it. Here are a few do’s and don’ts:
- Do take pictures of people – testing has shown that people respond better to people.
- Do take pictures of ‘bits’ of people! – testing has shown that people respond well to (for example) a hand holding a pen, or typing, etc.
- Do think about the context – what are telling your audience? Does the picture tell a story or convey a message – are people in the picture working, talking, etc?
- Do take clear pictures of buildings or structures with context – think of how people will view the image when on a mobile phone – is it absolutely clear what the image is about?
- Do ensure you have the right to use the photo (see below).
- Don’t take a picture when you’re drunk. If you drink, by all means, take pictures, but don’t post them online. It’s rarely a good look.
- Don’t take pictures of the backs of heads or just a piece of paper or a sign – nobody’s interested.
- Don’t take a picture of a donkey in a field (see above). This was what we were once sent at my old firm when we asked for photos of impressive projects the firm had worked on. It turned out that we’d built a motorway on the field in which the donkey was standing!
Rights to privacy / panorama
A note on rights to privacy. I once had a very angry email from someone at a party who I’d taken a photo of (at the request of the party organiser) and posted online. They were very angry (very angry indeed) that I’d taken their picture without permission. There is absolutely no right to an expectation of privacy if you’re in a public place. Equally if you’re at an event organised by someone else, then it seems unlikely you’d have a reasonable expectation of privacy in terms of photos taken at that event by the organiser.
Another quirk of the law is ‘rights of panorama’. In the UK, you can take a photo of any building or landmark you like (although Birmingham City Council once tried to convince me that wasn’t the case with their library). There is no right to the intellectual property on a building that has been built, you can photograph it and share it to your heart’s content. But in other countries, this isn’t the case. In France, the owner of a building or structure can enforce photographic rights to those structures. Be careful with photos even if you took them, when you’re working in different countries around the world.
Finally a note on stock photography and copyright. Don’t copy and paste or download images from the internet without ensuring you absolutely have permission to do so. There are royalty-free websites which can provide you with all the imagery you need. Don’t steal images from people who may have put a lot of work and effort into creating them. And if you do make a genuine mistake, apologise immediately and remove the photo.
As always, if you need any help, just get in touch!