It’s been a while since Mr Posh Coffee pranced through the doors of Zest the Agency – four months to be exact. Since then I have truly gotten stuck in to the world of marketing. In this post I recount my first experience on a client photoshoot. I present the long awaited episode two: “strike a pose”.
Our story begins early, 6am, a Monday on Platform 2 at Broadstairs train station. The morning had started poorly it must be said. Having put the effort (remember its 5am) into making a coffee, I had left it on the car upon my arrival at the station. No you didn’t read that incorrectly, I left it “on” the car. Upon realisation of my fateful miscalculation, I proceeded to chase my father’s car, only to see my coffee become an artist’s impression upon the tarmac. Not a good start.
After a crowded and delayed journey up to London, I found my Zest companions standing outside St Pancras unflustered, calm and collected ready to embark on the day’s photoshoot. After a short walk from St Pancras we arrived at the magnificent building that is the Wellcome Trust, where we met the man with the camera, Stuart. After a significant battle with the revolving door, we were led into a well-lit conference room towards the top of the building, overseeing an incredible sculpture spanning the height of the building. Over the course of an hour we rearranged the room into a make shift studio. I had been wondering what my job on the photoshoot would be, but I soon found out. Stuart proceeded to place myself and two colleagues evenly around the conference table to give the staff we were photographing a focal point to look at whilst Stuart took their shots. As such Stuart would introduce us, then proceed to direct them; “look at Jon, now look at Holly” and so forth. Now I don’t know about you, but staring into the eyes of an individual that you have known for two minutes, can be rather daunting for both parties. As this was my first outing to meet a client, I was a cocktail of nerves and excitement and probably had far too much energy for some of the staff (so it was probably for the best coffee-gate had happened in the morning). All I can say is God bless small talk!
As the day proceeded and our models came and went, I began to learn what it takes to take a great set of headshots. From eyeing up the shots, to adjusting light levels, to using equipment I never even knew existed, it was imperative that we remained fixed to the detail to make sure we were getting the best shot possible. The results truly reflected this uncompromising focus on the detail – of course I and Holly reminded Stuart all those radiant smiles were the result of our witty small talk and our fantastic direction!
Throughout the shoot, we had been all over the building, shooting from top to bottom, from the roof to the boiler rooms. But it had been worth every second, the photographs that had come out were incredible. Through conversing with the employees we had come to get to know the character of each person. This I have come to realise is the most important aspect of a headshot shoot; to choose those headshots that best suited each employee’s personality. Through these individuals’ shots, we had personified the character of company culture our client was so desperate to capture. My perception of photography has changed entirely. If Zest’s marketing often relies on great imagery, then great photography relies on artistry. We have all seen photos that inspire emotions, grab our attention and inform our attitudes. By the day’s end I had come to appreciate the power of photography and its importance to marketing; the power to transform a moment into something that says more than words ever can.