Appropriate lighting is key to creating successful commercial photographs, whether you’re capturing a corporate event or a set of hotel rooms. Light not only establishes the brightness of an image, it also plays an important part in setting the tone and mood of a shot. Here’s why it’s so important for photographers and why we often need to manipulate light to get the image we want.
Natural light often isn’t enough
When shooting inside in particular, lighting is necessary to create the right balance, emphasise the subject properly and bring the whole image to life. Without our own light, photographers in the UK are at the mercy of the British weather and interior lights that are often fitted into the ceiling – it’s not ideal for creating a shot with atmosphere. Bringing lighting equipment to a shoot means we can choose where the source of light is positioned, reduce glare and soften harsh shadows.
The right details can be emphasised
Lighting means that certain details of a photograph can be emphasised to create a more interesting image or capture a certain mood better. For example, if we want to pick out a particular object or feature in a room or setting, we may need a spot light to draw attention to it in the finished image.
Similarly, without additional lighting it’s difficult to show, say, a group of people near to or against a window, as the window can end up looking over exposed, while the people’s faces are too shadowy. Lit properly, however, the subjects’ faces are clear and the view out of the window is also visible, making for a balanced and more inviting shot.
Light has a temperature
Different light sources have different hues or ‘temperatures’, which can cast varying moods on a photograph. Candlelight, for example, has a more orange hue than a fluorescent light, producing a warmer mood, while a camera flash might create a bluer hue on an image making it look colder. It’s therefore important to consider the existing light sources when on a commercial photography shoot and add extras when trying to create a certain mood. A blue hue, for instance, is unlikely to make a hotel room look inviting and comfortable in a promotional image, so it may be necessary to use a lighting kit to create that effect.
Post production isn’t always the answer
It’s easy to assume that poor lighting can be corrected in post production, but despite the clever technology and software out there today, it’s simply not true. Getting the lighting right at the time of the shoot ensures that parts of the image aren’t accidently under or over exposed – a lapse that’s hard to correct with software – and that the subject appears how we want it to. It also enables us to portray the nuances and tones that give an impression to the viewer of being at that place or event, which in turn evokes the emotional response that is a key part of good promotion.
Recently I was invited to do an interiors shoot for the St Giles Hotel, which is situated just off Tottenham Court Road.
The hotel is family run and its central location makes it ideal for tourists who want to see London’s main attractions and see shows on the West End. I photographed the newly refurbished lobby, which features work by the street artist, Pegasus, as well as the meeting rooms and bedrooms, some of which have fantastic views over London. With a large hotel shoot, it’s important to capture not only the style and space of the rooms but also the welcoming ambience.
For this project I had to be more selective in the framing of the shots, as using wider lenses meant that the feeling of warmth was lost a little. I used 24-105 LS and 35mm lenses and chose the elements of the shot carefully to convey the friendly atmosphere.
As in any business, photographers are always excited to learn something new while working on a project, and the St Giles Hotel shoot taught me a few things that I will be able to apply
to other jobs in the future. I’m really looking forward to developing my portfolio of interiors photography further.
Thank you to the staff at St Giles Hotel for their hospitality!
One of the most exciting projects I had this May was for an organisation called Bisnow. I met them through a property development client, and attended a networking event they held at the Royal Institute of Great Britain.
Bisnow describe themselves as “intensely curious about commercial real estate”. They facilitate gatherings for leading property developers and estate giants to share knowledge and make predictions on market trends and industry innovations. This particular event included breakfast networking and talks from a panel of speakers on topics such as London’s mixed-income population and what residents want.
As always, my aim was to tell the story of the event through my images. It was clear from the beginning that both organisers and delegates were passionate property, and there was a real buzz in the room. I captured people engaging and networking, the speakers themselves and Q&A from guests to give a visual overview of the day so that future attendees of Bisnow’s events can get a feel for what to expect before getting their tickets.
Thanks to Bisnow for inviting me along; I hope we’ll have the opportunity to work together again soon.
Think about how often you’re exposed to an advert or a marketing campaign. It might be on your commute to work, when you’re reading a magazine, when you’re watching television, or when you’re browsing the web. Regardless of where you are and what you’re doing, advertising is almost ever present in our day-to-day lives.
Now think about those adverts or marketing campaigns that you really remember – the ones that have had a lasting impression. What is it about those adverts that made them so enduring? Chances are, it was the visual impact. And that is normal.
Love at first sight
Much as we’d hate to admit it, we as a species are incredibly superficial beings, and are easily influenced by the things we see. As such, a striking image has the ability to capture our imaginations and live long in the memory. For businesses hoping to connect and engage with new audiences, therefore, it is of the utmost importance that high-quality photography plays a prominent role in your marketing campaigns.
Whether you’re creating a new website or promotional material, the thought of using stock imagery may well fill you with fear. All those staged shots that try their hardest to be inoffensive end up being stale and lack the emotional impact that connects with an audience. And, regardless of the type of campaign you’re running, you, your business, and your target audience deserve better.
Make it count
First impressions are everything to successful marketing, so investing in the right photography is key. Commercial photography services ensure that you can capture unique, engaging shots that convey the essence of your products and services, and which bring to life elements of your business that help you connect with potential customers.
From interior images, headshots and portraits to lifestyle photography, being able to create the right impression will benefit your business in generating sales and leads. After all, you wouldn’t want to invest in a product – be it clothing, property, consumer electronics, etc. – without first being able to accurately see how it looks.
Professional commercial photographers have the expertise of identifying the right angles, the perfect lighting, and the ideal setting in which to positively capture the best shots. And, while we may all have access to digital photographic equipment such as DSLR cameras and smartphones, it’s this expertise that really makes the difference to the success of your promotions.
No photography, no marketing
If you’re planning a marketing campaign, it’s imperative that you have the correct imagery. Without it, you may as well as well spend your marketing budget elsewhere, as the likelihood of any return on investment is negligible. From a simple blog post to a full billboard promotion, the commercial photography you use will make all the difference to generating the sales and interest your business deserves.
To find out more about how commercial photography can help drive your business to greater levels of success, contact Charlotte King Photography. Our marketing photography services help businesses large and small develop image libraries packed with engaging photographs for use in all marketing campaigns.
To find out more about how Charlotte King Photography can help develop the visual assets you need for your business, contact us today by calling 020 3651 9363 or email email@example.com. We’ll be delighted to discuss your requirements and help provide a detailed overview of the services provided.