Few etymologists agree on the origin of the phrase, "putting your best foot forward," but what they all agree on is that it means to put one’s best features out front in order to make a good impression.
Businesses, especially, should consider highlighting their best features as part of their regular business practices. Below are some of the ways that businesses can ensure their employees, offices, work sites, services, and products all have their “best food forward.”
On most large-business websites, professional head shots of the executives are expected. On small-business websites, the entire staff is often represented… sometimes with formal poses, sometimes with more candid ones. And on some sites, the entire company is shown together in a group shot. Photos of employees provide an instant human connection whose importance is hard to overestimate in the business world. In an age of customer service handled by automation, seeing the faces of those who “stop the buck” provides the customer some satisfaction in knowing there is a real person guiding the venture they are engaged in.
One of the most professional ways to present your staff, especially executive teams, is to have everyone photographed in the same lighting situation and with the same background, even for candid photos. This provides a cohesive look that is most important when the photographs are shown next to one another. That is when the photos that are different stand out like a sore thumb.
When staff changes, a new photo shoot is needed for that person. Some businesses use this opportunity to reshoot the entire team so that photos reflect the current age of all of the staff. For example, if the president had his photo taken twenty years ago, and his photo is next to the newest member of the team, the difference in background and clothing style will be evident. Even more important, the president and the younger team member may now look the same age. While age is not important in terms of job performance, it does provide an expectation of appearance for those who might meet that president.
If the last team shoot has been more than two years prior, we strongly recommend new photo shoots for the entire team whenever a new member comes on board. If this creates a situation that is cost-prohibitive for your business, we recommend paring down the number of people you choose to photograph. It’s that important to keep your photos consistent among team members.
Architectural—Internal and External
If you have created a business environment that is visually pleasing or interestingly historic, it can serve as a draw for potential employees, a way to communicate that you pay attention to every aspect of your business, or simply a statement that you enjoy working in beautiful surroundings or places with a story behind them. Whatever the reason, a good photographer can show off the details of your work space to its best advantage. If your location is "nothing special" there are still ways to shoot to highlight the building's best features. Additionally, many people navigate to places more by landmarks than directions. If your place of business has a distinctive front, awning, signage, or any other distinguishing feature, it's a good idea to include it on the contact page of your website to aid in site recognition for visitors.
Whether it’s construction sites, landscaping, plumbing, or any one of numerous other possibilities, a photographer can highlight your business at the point where the rubber meets the road. Work site photography is great for showing the scope of the work your business does, the safety precautions you implement, how you organize the work, and so much more. The harder, more complicated, or even more dangerous your work is, the more value-to-cost you can convey to your customers with work-site photos.
Service & Product Performance Shots
The services and products your business offers are best communicated through showing exactly how the services are performed or how the products are used. Additionally, showing your actual employees in action provides a uniqueness to your images that stock photography simply cannot replicate. From including uniforms to showing your brand name, service and product performance shots set your photos apart from the competition. Using video for services and products is also a great way to convey the message of what you offer to your customers and prospects.
Product Glamour Shots
Whether in a catalog or online, if your business sells products, you want them to be shown in the best possible light, literally and figuratively. Customers expect to see products from multiple sides with important details highlighted. Your products should be positioned to maximize their best selling points—whether it’s reproducing bright colors or showing reflection off of chrome, a professional photographer can show off your products in a way that helps them sell.
Take advantage of the emotional response people have when viewing photos to create a positive connection with your staff and your work