Monday, March 29, 2010

Somebody, get those photos out of the can!

I was facilitating a social-media orientation and brainstorm for a university client recently, and someone brought to the meeting existing publications for me to see. They featured photos like this one: generic yet mixed-race groups of young people, posed as one never can catch them in real life, smiling beautifully as if nothing ever goes wrong.  My first thought: Somebody get those photos out of the can!

Stock photos--or those that are so polished, they may as well be stock photos--might be the last bastion of the static web-presence-as-pixelated-brochure.  And the more you're able to move in social media circles, the more out-of-place your posed visuals will look in the world of tweets, likes and shares. If you're still putting pristine photography on your website, consider these alternatives:
  • Choose from what's already out there:  If you haven't cruised photo-sharing sites, that should be stop one (and you'll find a list of the most-used sites in this previous post).   Pay attention to rights and permissions, but do post others' photography and give them credit.
  • Ask your visitors to contribute:  If you convene meetings, offer tours, hold events or otherwise let folks through your gates, ask them to take photos or video and give them a place to share their shots--a Flickr group and a YouTube channel are all you need.
  • Make candid photography the rule, not the exception:  Can we ban the grip-and-grin, the formal headshot, the "let's pretend all five of us need to look at this printed-out document at the same time" shots?  Yes, we can.  Try it for six months and don't look back.
Related posts:  Photos as a social-media strategy: 5 ways

No comments: