Photograph, drawing or nothing at all: How do you decide?

My career in photography began about 15 years ago, somewhat by accident. I needed to capture still images from which I drew true-to-life pencil studies; so, in the beginning and rather sacrilegiously, photography was a means to an end. I was however seduced by the clarity and immediacy of photography and the impact it had on the viewer. I would show my photographs to friends and family and the response was often ‘oh wow!’ and this instant positive reaction, now given by my clients, has never lost its appeal. The world through a lens seemed larger than life and I was able to observe detail I’d not seen before - I was hooked. Over time, I think photography has trained my eyes to see more clearly.

Despite becoming smitten with taking photographs, which eventually meant packing away my pencils and paints in a box in the garage, my appreciation for art and design is as strong as ever. In a commercial setting, contemporary design and typography are crucial in portraying your company’s aspirational style; it may be true that your business will move with the times as fast as your graphic designer does! So if these rudiments of design are so compelling, why do we even need commercial photography and why choose a photograph over a drawing?

The strongest impact is arguably made when you lead with photography. Magazines, for whom grabbing attention and being current is key to their survival, rely heavily on photography, with typography and photo-illustrations/drawings in supporting roles.

This doesn’t just hold true for the world of print publishing. On the Internet we are even more impatient for information. It’s reported that over half of web visitors spend less than 20 seconds on a website. When a mass of words can appear dull and foggy, homepage space is limited and attention spans even less so, striking photography to support relevant content can excite the viewer and guide them further into your website. A single, eye-catching image may make all the difference in engaging with your audience. Transforming your brand therefore, can be as simple or as involved as your design preferences and budget allow.

As an art form harnessed for promotion, photography has just as much flexibility and appeal as a painting for creating mood. With the right lighting, scene setting and post-production, your resulting photographs can be bright and professional, or dreamy and romantic, or hearty, rustic and warming. Being versatile enough to fit with any branding is what makes photography so appealing – and it puts customised commercial photography in a class of its own.

Photography can communicate with your audience in a direct way. Perhaps most crucially for the corporate world, where securing investment and building strong client relations gives you the competitive edge, photography is more trusted by the viewer. You can accurately depict real-life scenarios, people and products. Whereas an illustration or piece of artwork is, by its very nature, open to interpretation, a photograph immediately relays your message without confusion or misrepresentation.

Finally, one of the most captivating qualities of photography is what I also love about a well-written, best-selling book; it triggers the imagination of the observer in the ‘first person’ perspective. Using effective photographs in your marketing allows prospective customers to envisage themselves in their mind’s eye within the scene. Maybe they’re meeting you professionally for the first time and shaking your hand, or sipping a perfectly made cocktail in your bar after work, or choosing a piece of your artisan jewellery for a special gift. Encouraging potential clients to first imagine themselves using your services is a powerful tool in evoking emotion, making your brand relatable and, of course, securing their custom time and time again. 


Interested in Mirror Imaging helping to further your branding? Take a look at our pricing here.