05 Feb Strategy and Message in Portraits: JD Neuhaus
Strategy and planning are key parts of our photographic process. It’s too easy to be swept away into the creative ether without a strategy. There are too many possibilities that need to be sorted out before stepping behind the camera. We can adapt to spontaneity, but a plan is the key to success.
An effective portrait requires a strategy.
It makes no difference if the image is for Match.com or LinkedIn. Your portrait is selling you and your brand (both personally and professionally). Thinking about usage, message, and style matters in creating a portrait that accurately portrays you, your employees, and your company. You can’t afford to “wing it.”
Take a look at one of our recent environmental shoots. JD Neuhaus called us in to create photos for their new LinkedIn campaign. After scouting their location and talking with Neal, we came up with a concept that portrays their employees message and makes an impact.
JD Neuhaus is the world leader in hoists and cranes. Their tagline is “Engineered for Extremes.” Their sales team is more than just order takers. They make personal visits to their buyers (domestic and international) and service the machines. We couldn’t just take a picture of them in front of a desk and do them justice. They needed to be captured on the floor with machinery. It’s compelling and effective.
One aspect that made this shoot dynamic was that each tier of the team has their own look. The corporate team needed something classic, so we opted for a board room shot. The company logo in the background reinforces the company message. It’s clean and simple.
Frank Endler is the president at JD Neuhaus. At this level, we needed a look that reflects leadership and vision. We decided on an office shot for Frank with a modern feel. Standing behind the desk (instead of sitting) with a clean background puts the focus on him. He portrays a leader – confident and composed.
Because everyone was efficient and stuck to the plan (…we are dealing with engineers here), we were able to sneak in a great group shot and deliver a little extra bang for their buck.
It may seem tedious or unnecessary, but coming up with a strategy makes all of the difference with portraiture. It’s what separates a headshot from a portrait that packs a punch. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a portrait on a backdrop or something “in the field” – it should have a message and a purpose. If it looks easy, then we’ve done our job.