Enhance your professional profile with more effective imagery

Thank Women in Film for the opportunity to speak with you today. Thank you Michelle for making it happen. When I first came to Vancouver I didn’t know anybody in this city. I was doing cold calls to agents and Deborah Gillam Harry invited me to a breakfast meeting and so it all began! I have meet and collaborated with so many incredible people through being involved with Women in Film.

My speciality is marketing, communications and media photography.

A photography is a powerful medium which can convey a message, which speaks like no other.

When I answer the phone I sometimes have conversations like this.. “Good morning Wendy D” “HI, I need to have a photo taken, how much does it cost and long does it take” spoken in a rushed voice. That doesn’t give me much to go on, so I start asking questions. “What is the picture going to be used for?” “Just online” Oh boy. I’m then on a mission, gathering as much information as I can before I can answer the caller’s question. Creating effective imagery is about knowing exactly what the image needs to say, who its going to be speaking to and where its going to be seen. There are a lot of questions to be answered before we make an image. Those questions are very similar to business planning questions. How many of you have a business plan? I have a fantastic resource for you but we will get to that in a minute.

These are the key points we are going to talk about:

1-What is the job of a photograph, specifically the photographs you want to create.
2-Who is going to see your photograph, who is your target audience
3-What is the message you want your image to say
4-Where will you be using the images

What is the job of your photograph?

This is actually a smaller part to a larger question, what is it that you do? What is your brand? Do you have a mission or vision statement? Knowing your business clearly is the very first step to creating great images. That is where I would start, sit down and work on exactly what your business is. I recently was introduced to the Business Action Planner – tools and insights for creative freelancers. Its a fantastic toolkit which actually gives you the questions to help you have a clearer understanding of your business. It is directed at photographers and graphic designers but don’t shy away, its really powerful. Corwin has provided me with a promo discount for this tool kit, which will give you 50% off the price, making it about $25. I highly recommend it. Even if you already have a plan, just reading some of his questions can rejuvenate your clarity.

His site is http://www.businessactionplanner.com/ the code is: WendyD50 (Only til Nov 15)
I highly recommend checking it out.

Now that you have a clear understanding of your business (right!), we can move on. As part of doing your planning’ you will have answered the question of Who is your target market? Who will be seeing your image. This will help determine what style of imagery you will need. Are you appealing to business people, artists, bankers, agents, fans? Should your images be formal or casual, in studio or on location, are they headshots looking at the camera or editorial, are they serious or lighter, what colours should we work with?

That leads to, what is the message of your photo? What do you want to say with your images?

Actors – My first question to you is, what kind of roles do you want to get? Not necessarily the ones you are getting, but the ones you want to get. That’s the kind of image we should be concentrating on. You want to be true to yourself. Show who you are and how you want to be seen. You can control the perception of yourself. I say that but of course there are also agents involved. They see you how they can best sell you, that’s important and listen to what they say. Hopefully you are both thinking on the same lines, but if you see yourself in different roles than what you are getting sent out for, then show them the roles you want, the characters you want to be. Perhaps they just hadn’t thought of you in that way. So, in saying that, you will need a few different headshots; The ones they suggest and the ones you want to be portrayed as along with most likely a general shot as well as a commercial one.

I would like to introduce my friend Mandy Rushton (https://www.facebook.com/mandy.rushton.39). She is like many of you here, busy and wears many hats. Singer, songwriter, dancer, musical theater, MC, actor, massuse, teacher, event Liaison. For her, like many of you, one image might not cut it. With all those different hats, comes different audiences. The Singer images, look different than acting headshots, which are different from the Event professional shots. We made a plan for each of her images and there are a few that have definite cross overs but others are completely different. Planning ahead, knowing clearly who your audience is, and what you want to say to them will make your images more effective.

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Lets talk a bit about marketing images for your movie. I can’t stress enough, you need to be thinking about marketing your movie from day one. Answering the same questions, who is your audience, what do you want the images to say. Stills are important, you will need behind the scenes along with crucial moments in your movie. Also you will need “poster” shots or “gallery images. Plus having images of each of your characters as well of the actors (which they already have great headshots, right) will give you a lot of ammunition for social media marketing as well as for festival applications and so forth. If you plan on entering a lot of festivals you might want to change up the images.

I have worked on a few films that have done really well with the use of photography. Lawrence and Holoman feature film had a few different posters over its run. We did one gallery shoot and that gave them a lot of choice as time went on.

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I worked on a web series quite a few years ago called Divine the series. For that web series not only did I do the stills but we set up a studio at the filming location and did gallery shoots for each of the characters. Doing the gallery shoot during filming meant that the makeup and costumes were there, and done, it was a very efficient way of working.

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Leap 4 your Life, also did a fantastic job with their photos. I didn’t do the stills but I worked with Gary Hawes, the director and Taylor Hill the producer to create the poster image. When they approached me they knew already exactly what photos they needed for the poster and for the website. We did group images, again different versions, as well as individual characters. They slowly released the images through social media, keeping the premier of the movie in ever ones minds. I haven’t been doing much with movies these days, but I see many of them doing a great job with photos.

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The last point is where will the images be used? All the different usages of images require different size and shapes of images. Square for profile pictures on FB and Linked in, Banners are in all different shapes, some websites use a full image across them, posters are vertical, websites are horizontal. What difference does it make? Can’t we just crop the photos we have? Well yes you can but composition is different for every shape. Knowing what you need ahead of time will allow you to shoot for specific mediums giving you the best quality of photos you can have.

To summarize;

What is the purpose for you images?
Who is your target audience?
What is the message you want to send?
Where will the images be used?

Know who you are & what you want to say.

Stay true to yourself and follow your passion.

Thank You

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