Some clients want them a little more staged but a couple of clever clients of mine want more engaging images of employees doing what they usually do at work. The results are great. The people exude pride and passion in their expressions and they probably get a bit of a glow being photographed. Even the people that say “I hate having my picture taken” seem to enjoy it after the torture of being snapped a few times. It’s good for staff to be recognized and the payoff is probably good in the long run too as far as productivity goes. For hotels and businesses in the service or retail industries, nothing is more engaging for customers as real people happy in their work. All too often businesses seem to want to appear big, corporate and correct. My impression is that if you take a big corporate brand and show it off through the smiles of real staff doing what they normally do, it works well.
Now don’t get this confused with using staff to pose as guests in a hotel to save a few bucks on professional models. I’m not really for that. It makes everything that much harder as far as directing goes and the results are never as good as using models.
But if you look at that too, it reinforces my point. It’s people doing what they enjoy and they look genuinely happy doing it. Models model, it’s what they do best and what they get paid for. The same as a bar tender or front desk clerk. So what about using real guests as guests in a hotel shoot? It’s always preferable to use models. The guests are not comfortable, even if they say they are, it’s difficult to direct then properly as politeness comes into play and you’re asking them to do something they’re not used to doing.
At the end of the day it won’t look genuine enough to really believably sell your product. But getting back to those genuine smiles, it’s in the eyes. Plus if somebody is at home behind a bar or hauling luggage around, it’s second nature to them and everything they do will be right, how they hold a piece of luggage or how they hold a glass or cut a piece of fruit. Or if it’s front desk staff, its how they welcome customers. They’ve done it thousands of times before for no reward, but in a photo they get to show the World what they do. I was told by a client recently that they were amazed at how many likes and comments a facebook post gets on their business page if it includes a real member of staff that people remember or can relate to. This isn’t new fangled social media tricks, it’s common sense. So if you have a photo shoot coming up remember to include some real happy staff members along with a couple of professional models. The ROI will be worth it.