Commercial photography for Marketing Derby

Posted on Sep 9th 2014

The use of corporate headshots has increased significantly over the past few years as large and small companies alike are looking to bring their brand to life and give a friendly and approachable face to their service or product.

As commercial photographers, we are often commissioned to produce corporate headshots, but when we were asked to photograph the Marketing Derby team, we were particularly excited. The team is responsible for promoting an entire city, so our images had to convey the personality of Derby the city and not just the Marketing Derby Team.

Who are Marketing Derby?

So, where to begin? Well, a little background of the team and what they do for our city was a good place for us to start. Background information helps us to establish what each company is looking to achieve with their commercial photography.

Marketing Derby are an Inward Investment Agency working to support and attract investment to the City of Derby, as they promote Derby as an excellent place to visit, live, work, and invest in. Their primary objective is to raise the profile of the city and generate and convert inward investment opportunities.

As a dynamic team of 9, they asked us to provide commercial photography which could be used timelessly across a variety of marketing channels.

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What was required?

Marketing Derby required headshots of all staff, to create a professional and unified feel to the team, whilst at the same time conveying personality and approachability. They didn’t want a standard flat backdrop and instead asked for a stylised background consistent across all members of staff. A creatively lit, dynamic background can give corporate headshots a more interesting look and can be more eye-catching with greater impact than a plain white backdrop.

The images were going to be used mainly on our client’s corporate website to make the team visible, as the majority of investors come from outside of Derby so the website gives an important first impression of the team and of Derby.

However, the team also wanted to maintain consistency across all of their professional individual profiles. As a result, Marketing Derby also requested cropped images cut out to a white background for use ontheir business cards. This is a great example of commercial photography being used in different ways to create consistency of brand and image.

Why did they choose Cactus Images?

Cactus Images and Marketing Derby have worked together for a number of years, on a variety of projects, both promoting the city and working with other key companies within Derby to create exciting and innovative marketing campaigns.

Andrew Lowe, Marketing and Communications Manager at Marketing Derby said:

“Cactus Images are one of our Marketing Derby Bondholders so we have known Angela and Chris for many years and have worked with them on numerous occasions. We have always found the quality of Cactus Images’ work to be of a very high standard.”

For us at Cactus Images, it was a delight to be working with the Marketing Derby team again, especially as we would be working with the whole team this time, including Managing Director, John Forkin.

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How did we make it different?

A good, corporate headshot is absolutely essential in today’s commercial world, more so than ever with the rise in social media. However, few people enjoy having their photograph taken and we are used to nerves and a reluctance to stand in front of the camera.

We want our clients to enjoy their experience (or at least not completely hate it!) and do our best to encourage people to relax and be themselves. Ultimately, people do business with people and we want to be able to capture an individual’s personality, as well as reflect their professional image and brand.

Capturing real and personable corporate headshots takes a little time and a lot of interaction. Every client is different. We spend time with each person, chatting and building a rapport, whilst taking a number of shots to allow them to get used to the flashing lights and what to do with their hands and realise that actually they really do look OK. Goofing around and pulling silly faces might seem odd at first, but it allows our clients time to relax and have fun and the resulting images are a truer reflection of personality.

Careful planning, set up and lighting, as well as the actual photography, is only half of the story. Once we’ve taken and then selected final images, we spend some time in retouching; removing blemishes and stray hairs, softening lines and evening out skin tones. A virtual make over session in Photoshop really, or a wipe with our glitter stick as it’s affectionately known! We are careful not to overdo it though, we want our clients to look fantastic, not plastic.

During the shoot with the Marketing Derby Team, we encouraged all team members to pull silly faces and have fun in front of the camera, which resulted in a hilarious and alternative set of corporate portraits. Everyone was up for the challenge, and I think this shows. Whilst the grown up, professional shots hit the website and business cards straight away, the more playful shots were later used, unbeknown to most of the staff at the time, in a presentation to over 200 people at Marketing Derby’s Annual Business Event at Derby Theatre. The response was fantastic, provoking much hilarity and applause. These more creative and personality-driven photographs really showed Marketing Derby’s stakeholders the level of passion and commitment the whole team has for what they do.

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As a result…

Andrew Lowe, Marketing and Communications Manager:

“Whilst for many people, the thought of having your photograph taken is not something that they enjoy - the experience with Cactus Images was extremely positive and enjoyable for everyone. They have fantastic interpersonal skills and made everyone relax during the shoot. The turnaround to receiving the images was very quick too, with some retouching applied to the images resulting in top-quality corporate headshots that we will be able to use for many years.”

Commercial photography, for us, isn’t just about creating a brand’s personality or giving a face to a product or service. We love what we do and enjoy working with people and helping them realise their role and place within their brand. We like making what we do fun – and we had a lot of fun working with the team at Marketing Derby!

Why not have a look at some of the other commercial photography we have done recently and let us know which style is your favourite.