As concepts go, ‘teamwork’ is a big seller. It may appear that images of business teams have been done to death. Not so: a great image of a group of two or more in an office environment working together in an authentic manner, will sell again and again. Styles in furniture and clothing change too so images must always be updated.
Images of business teams that are downloaded the most, often feature a woman as lead or otherwise prominent person on the team. Trend research indicates that women are often cast as business leaders because of the opinion that women give an impression of being fair and honest. The team ideally should be comprised of more than one ethnicity and span at least two generations. Use models for the team leader/members that appear old enough to be at work. Business images should use models that are more ‘real people’ in look than for a beauty shot. Save the ‘over the top’ beautiful men and women and use interesting and smart looking people in business situations.
Dress should move away from strictly button-down to at least some team members in business casual for traditional business and really casual for entrepreneurial teams. Women don’t need to dress in power suits anymore to indicate leadership. Stay away from those ‘hell on heels’ look unless that is the point that you are trying to make. The ‘Devil Wears Prada’ is so last year.
A dead give away that an image is a setup shot is if the conference table or desk is void of objects and paper. Conference tables should have notebooks, laptops, coffee cups, bottles of water, pens and other more ‘real life’ elements such as crumbled wads of paper. Desks should be realistically messy without being so cluttered as to distract from the shot or go overboard and make the workspace REALLY a mess.
What about locations? It can be difficult on a shoestring to rent a full-fledged office in order to place your team in a realistic environment. But you don’t have to. One of the most downloaded images on Dreamstime features a portrait of three people facing off camera to close-up with no props or room visible. If there is paneling, cast and style the models to fit the era of the office. Wooden paneling…make the models lawyers. 1970’s fake wood, go retro. What ever you do, don’t have three people looking at a computer screen with one of them pointing at the screen. Ho HUM. Get something up on the screen that will grab their attention and get the models interacting about what is going on there.
Capture authentic emotion. Nothing more boring than someone looking at something that is supposed to be compelling but isn’t. The camera doesn’t often lie and PhotoShop isn’t much help when trying to undo bored or fake expressions. False emotions make an image too staged.
Keith Brofsky works for many corporate clients. Go to the ‘work’ section of his website to see authentic team images as well as some terrific business shots.
This article gives insight to using location scouts in the US mainly and always if you have the money to pay for such a service. You will probably be just as successful calling on friends to use their locations and it will be a lot cheaper. Location scouts can save the life of a production company or shooter with an assignment but its difficult to justify for a small stock shoot.
Abouttheimage.com has just linked to a video of a stock shoot from beginning to end that shows how to get great shots with just one model in your living room as long as you have some good equipment, a terrific model and a concise shot list.