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Taking a photo is easy! But, taking a good photo is a mixture of luck, preparation and good timing.

As mentioned in previous blogs taking photos in the brand style requires preparation and thought in order to achieve a good result. So to get better at it I have been out and about snapping images, some of which have been used as supporting images in the Undergraduate Guide 2012.

Combining my experience with the brand photography guidelines I’m starting to get the hang of it. But practice makes perfect and after hours and hours behind the lens I’ve started seeing the world in frames that work as photos.

Now I have a personal checklist that I try to follow when thinking about taking photos.

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Considerations that you should take into account to help make sure your photos are appropriate are:

Is the camera appropriate for the purpose?

Our camera at WPP is 10mp so needs to shoot portrait format to be able to print a full page A4 in a publication. I shoot in RAW format to allow greater flexibility for editing in post production. Our blog post Pixel to Print covers the requirements of print when using digital images.

When taking photos for publications you need to ensure the portraits are flexible enough to work as primary (portrait) as well as situational (people doing things).
Remember to take multiple photos in portrait and horizontal formats, and zoom in and out.
Remember to review your photos with the on camera LCD screen before moving on.
Remember you are trying to capture their personality and a thought, not a cheesy smile.
Consider a plain or textured background, such as dappled light on a wall as an option, though don’t overuse as your collection of images will start to look all the same.

For situational photos the background of your image should be appropriate to the person/subject. Ask yourself ‘what is the real world effect of their role’, and ‘how can it be illustrated in a photo’.
Remember to take multiple photos in portrait and horizontal formats, and zoom in and out.
Remember you are trying to capture a moment, so take lots of photos to increase your chances of capturing the right combination of light, action, composition and expression.

A standard camera mounted flash will wash out your image and take the shadows from your subjects face. A bounce flash angled from a wall or ceiling will retain the look much better.
Remember to pay attention to the light which will be captured, looking especially at highlights and deep shadows. And that shooting into the light will cast strong shadows on your subjects face and will often blow out in sections.
Remember to review your images on the LCD screen on your camera each time to check how the light is behaving.

Make contact again with the subject the day before the shoot to confirm the time, location, purpose of the shoot and what you are hoping to achieve.
Remember the more relaxed you can make them, the more comfortable they will be exposing their personality to the camera. Keep in mind that they will be more comfortable in an environment they are familiar with.
Before the shoot you should discuss locations and visit each so there are no surprises. This scouting expedition will make the shoot go more smoothly and give you ideas for multiple angles and shots to set up.
Also, ask if they have been involved in photo shoots recently, it may save you shooting them again. As WPP is a bit of a thoroughfare for images we see instances when the same person has been involved in multiple similar photo shoots, especially in offices.

Fashion can make or break a shot.
Before the shoot instruct your subjects that:
1. patterns should be reserved for feature items such as scarves and hats
2. pastels and light colours fine but should be paired with darker, contrasting colours
3. if an outfit consists of only one lightly coloured piece ie. a dress then it should be paired with a darker, contrasting item such as a scarf
4. outfits made up entirely of lighter tones ie. pastel and white outfits should be avoided
5. clothing should be appropriate for the situation. Avoid singlet tops and short skirts, and ensure that all appropriate safety equipment is used (goggles, lab coats and footwear).