How to unmute your annual report.

Powerful photos engage your audiences

By Richard Strever, Zoom Photography.

There’s no doubting that financial information is at the heart of a company’s annual report. But, in this day of unprecedented transparency and corporate social responsibility, many companies want to tell a more inclusive story.

They want to highlight achievements, promote the business, and share a wealth of information. Company reports talk to a wide range of audiences. Shareholders and investors certainly rank among the most important. But so do journalists, employees, suppliers, and especially customers.

“What worked for the greybeards no longer does”

Graphs and tables of numbers and ciphers may have worked for the greybeards. But modern audiences demand a more easily digestible serving thanks to the influence of social media where videos, info graphics, and images of a great variety reign supreme in the drive to win eyeballs and click throughs.

Creative or risky?

Do the figures make sense?

But many companies still get it wrong.

Images are great. We’ve all heard the adage that a picture tells a thousand words. But what people sometimes forget is that it must be the right picture. What are those thousand words saying about your company? To give you an idea, Hubspot has a pretty funny blog post about how to get stock photos wrong.

“What are your pictures saying about you?”

You’re probably not going to use stock photos to tell powerful stories about your company in your annual report. Professional photographers, like me, do this kind of thing all the time for a reason. We get quality, professional shots of your business and your people doing their work, being sustainable, helping customers, innovating, being efficient, productive, and so much more. Photos that arouse emotions, stimulate thought and create the right feelings.

Are you curious?

… or feeling like this?

We can help you get the special shots that elevate your annual report from the mundane to the exceptional. But we need the right brief. The brief sets the tone and creates the foundation for the entire job.

We may learn, for example, that you want to tell a story about how safety has improved at one of your sites because of new SHEQ processes. Better safety may have impacted the bottom line or it may be part of your sustainability drive. Knowing that difference is important. It will be the difference between shooting workers in hard hats as they crush aggregate or show them in white lab coats testing the water pH at a nearby lake, stream, or river.

More emotion….?

Too busy or effective?

“What questions should you ask before you shoot?”

These are subtle yet important cues that help us tell your company story.

  • Why do your shareholders invest in your company? ROI? Making a difference? New technologies?
  • Did you have specific goals for this financial year? Improved safety ratings or increase capital spend?
  • What’s the overall message you’re trying to convey? Positivity, upbeat, downcast but optimistic for the future, and so on.
  • Do you want to focus on any macro elements? Or are there specific elements to avoid?
  • What overall photographic style do you want to adopt? Black and white? Formal? Arty? Classical? Innovative? Serious?
  • How will the photography integrate into your annual report? Square, full page, deep etched, info graphics?
  • Most importantly, which locations to be included and how to prepare them.

One of the most time consuming activities in preparing for a shoot is making the site photo ready. Vehicle maintenance bays must be cleaned. Offices must be cleared of stacked paperwork, odds and ends that sometimes adorn employees’ desks, blinds and fluorescent lighting taken into account and so much more.

There are hundreds of details that need to be handled. Do them properly and the results will speak for themselves. That’s why I always encourage people to talk to us beforehand, share as much information as we need to get the job done properly, and include us upfront to help achieve your goals. Don’t be shy. Speak to us so we can help you.

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