My work as an annual report photographer in Albany NY has taken me into a wide variety of locations covering a wide variety of subjects. And the hallmark of a great annual report photographer is finding a photographer who has the organizational as well as photographic skills to handle a many different kinds of assignments, can handle disparate technical challenges, and can work with a huge variety of people.
To become a top Albany annual report photographer, a person needs varied and deep experience working across many different photographic disciplines. Starting my career as a full time news photojournalist exposed me to and taught me the need to be able to work fast and accurately, knowing in advance what I was after instead of just using the “spray and pray” approach of shooting hundreds of images, hoping something good will come of it. It also thought me how to enter an unfamiliar scene and to see the technical challenges, fast. And to be able to respond to them, fast.
All of this combines into a photographic and creative skill set geared towards seeing the potential in a situation and being able to mine that for the best photographs possible. Often I will get some pushback during a portfolio review when speaking to a potential client who will point to an image in my portfolio and say “we don’t have anything that looks like that here”. My response usually comes in one of two statements. Either I’ll say “neither did they”. Or “yes you do, you just don’t know it and that’s what I’m here for”. The message is ultimately the same, and that is that it is my job to see the potential in any situation. And to either create something great out of what is there, or to gain ideas from what is there and to be able to marshall the resources needed to create something great.
You want a generalized specialist. That’s a bit of a weird and contradictory phrase. OK, that doesn’t mean that you need to find photographers who list on their websites that they photograph families, corporate, advertising, aerial and weddings. And may as well offer seal coating of driveways and stump grinding too. Bonus if they sell live bait…
What you want from the photographer who will help you complete your annual report photography or corporate photography project is:
A definite clear style that you can see across all of their images. If you want light and bright, then hire somebody who does that. If you want directional dramatic lighting hire someone who does that. Are you looking for still life in the studio? Or portraits of line workers out in the field? Then hire somebody who shows you those sorts of photos. And the photos they show are great The takeaway is that the types of photos someone shows int heir portfolio are the sorts of photos they are going to shoot for you.
Skills. Do they show images that give you a sense they controlled the situation, adding lighting, surmounting technical nightmares or responding with agility to beautiful natural conditions? This is what I mean by a ‘generalized specialist’. Somebody with skills across a wide range. After all, you’ll be asking them to work under widely variable conditions with a wide variety of challenges.
Lighting skills. Photographers today need to know how to light and how to light well. Period. Full stop. They need to be able to bring supplemental lighting into difficult settings to make the images you need. They need to be able to add interpretive lighting for effect or emotion. They need to be able to create a studio-like setup out in the wild. They need to be able to see and use great natural lighting. Not everything can be shot in open shade with that same, tired, flat, washed out look. You need a photographer who understands light and can use multiple types of light.
As usual, this was a challenging annual report photography assignment because of time. The client didn’t have the budget to provide for tons of photography time. But there were a lot of areas to cover. The subjects being photographed are already volunteers. And they were volunteering still more … of their time. So we didn’t have them for hours on end.
The location was a typical firehouse’s garage. Neat, organized but a fluorescent lit garage. With vehicles that could be called into service at any second. And they were…
I made a long exposure to capture the emergency lights on the back of the rescue vehicle. I liked the attention they would command in the image and the way they would suggest the urgent nature of the work these folks do. So I chose them as my background.
Working with some supplemental lighting, I illuminated my subject in a portrait style. I liked the contrast between the natural environmental lighting of the emergency lights combined with the direction and stillness/formality of the supplemental light I added.
Capturing portraits is such a big part of being an annual report photographer. And sometimes they have to be done on the fly with a minimum of fuss. Just seeing a good setting and knowing how to bring it together quickly into an arresting image is what you want.
One of my favorite things to do is speak with potential clients about their possible projects. It doesn’t have to be a firm concept you are looking to execute. Speaking with you about what you are planning to do allows me to offer input and advice. Often I ask questions that potential clients marvel that they would have never thought of. As an annual report photographer in Albany, that’s what I bring to my clients. The experience to know what to ask, what to wonder about, what to plan for…
How about we talk photography? I’m looking forward to hearing from you.