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There’s only one first impression

April 3, 2010

Lately I've been doing a lot of commercial photography for various businesses in the area. It's finally springtime and these businesses are updating employee photographs, freshening up Web sites and redecorating storefronts with new pictures in an effort to attract new customers and portray a good impression to the public.

Some of you may remember back in the day when everyone got new clothes for Easter and the whole family would go to church together on Easter Sunday in their new duds. Why did we bother to get dressed up? Haircuts, nice shiny shoes, the whole works. Why the big deal? We did it to create a good impression and to start off the spring season fresh and new.

In commercial photography, this is especially important. A product should look attractive enough for customers to make a purchase; a business should look inviting and welcome customers in to browse. Every picture taken is designed to give an impression or tell a story about something or someone.

Even if we are taking pictures of something unpleasant, we are still trying to give someone an impression of the thing we photographed. Let's take the old high school for example. Some people took pictures of it because they wanted to maintain the good memories they had in the old days. Some other people took pictures of it because it was an eyesore and they wanted to have it demolished. Same picture but two completely different impressions.

A good example of how people pictures give an impression are those used in weight-loss ads. One picture shows the person before the weight loss. Usually the person is shown in a poorly lit photo with a sad face, telling the story of how unhappy they are. The after photo is always a professional shot, smiling in a bathing suit saying, "Now that I'm 50 pounds lighter, life is good and now I'm heading for the beach." Again two separate impressions.

I guess the point of all my rambling is for you to slow down the next time you are taking pictures and consider what impression your photo will make. If you stop and put some thought into your photographs, they are likely to improve and you will be much happier with the results. It is finally springtime and nature is putting on new clothes and colors - so why shouldn't we?

(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a master photographer as well as a certified professional photographer.)



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