Work it baby, work it – using custom photography

In today’s technology-driven world it has become so easy for us to take photographs on everything from digital cameras to mobile phones, or to source stock images online, that we sometimes dismiss the value of professional photography. However, beautiful, unique, custom images can give your design projects genuine wow factor and really differentiate you from your competition.

Here are five great times to consider using custom photography:

  1. When you’re not a photographer I mean a real photographer – downloading the Hipstamatic app to your iPhone doesn’t count. Professional photographers have the equipment and the talent to produce shots that are powerful, properly lit, well composed and in focus. The rest of us just get lucky occasionally. And Photoshop is great, but it can’t produce miracles – if you’re starting with a terrible photo, you’ll end up with a terrible photo.
  2. When you need something specific Stock photography can be very useful. Libraries full of images, all available at a reasonable price, ready to use at the click of a button. It’s hard to resist, but sometimes you really need a picture of a chihuahua riding a unicycle and carrying an umbrella – and then it might be best to get someone to take it for you. Merging a number of different images to get what you want can be troublesome, as variations in colour, lighting and angles make it difficult to produce a realistic looking result. You may also end up paying as much for the images and editing time as you would for a photographer to snap it for you.
  3. When you want consistency Whether you’re featuring a series of images in a single publication, running an ongoing campaign, or you simply want to establish a strong image for your brand, it helps to have photography that is consistent. With one photographer taking all your images, you can maintain a mood that can’t be replicated with photos from different sources.
  4. When you need lots of pictures Websites and lengthy publications like annual reports often rely heavily on photography for impact (and to relieve the boredom of all those facts and figures). Again, stock photography
  5. can only do so much and it can be difficult to get exactly what you want, especially if you need images of certain locations, specialist products, or particular people or kinds of people. And by the time you purchase 10–20 different shots, you could be paying as much as or more than you would for a photographer. Even allowing for his prima donna modelling antics, we completed our website shoot with Winston last year in half a day and now we have dozens of great shots to choose from. You may be surprised how affordable it is to hire a professional photographer for a half day or full day shoot, or even for several days on location, so you can get your own collection of images that are specific to your business.
  6. When you want to stand out from the crowd The other problem with stock photos is that everyone else can access them too. There’s nothing to stop your competitors using the same photographs from a stock library. Custom photography is the only way to ensure your images are truly unique, with no copyright issues, and they won’t turn up on someone else’s billboard next week.

We all know a picture is worth a thousand words. But if that blurry, lopsided shot of your thumb that you took on your phone isn’t going to cut it, consider enlisting the services of a professional. Of course, Bluekat can organise this for you (or we can write the thousand words instead).