All Change: The New Business Imagery

5 Feb 2013 | By | Trends

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Fast Company Magazine: Photographer Adam Fedderly

Get ready. Business imagery is one of the most searched for categories on-line by customers and needs constant updating as new trends and ways of conducting business develop and become the norm. For the next 8 weeks, we will be offering exclusive insights into the visual trends that you need to know to create great, saleable images.

You would be foolish to ignore the data. The top searched subject on Image Source is “Business”, each month Google sees over 6 million searches for “Small Business”, and over 90,000 searches for “images of business”.  And Forbes magazine predicted a 6.4 percent rise in marketing spend by businesses this year.

But the rapid shift in business imagery is the content,  the kinds of concerns business that business is addressing, that we see in editorial and commercial tearsheets - new kinds of companies, offices/locations and kinds of working that blurs the boundaries of worktime and leisure time, the rise of the touch-feely ‘artisanal’ alongside the small tech start-ups.

There’s different kinds of people, different kinds of management, different kinds of “leadership” and “collaboration” different kinds of business concepts we haven’t seen before.

And all these need new visual forms, demand fresh ways of picturing them.

My Dad would drive into the city and drop me off at school on his way to work, each day a different suit, that to my eye looked the same kind of business uniform – Pin-stripe, Herringbone, Check. The look signalled subtle shadings of serious and casual, in the office all day or schmoozing a client. Business circa 1980.

In 2013 there is no Uniform anymore,  there’s only “Pluriform” as the trend watchers might say. Anything and everything goes. What it means to do business would not have been imagined in my father’s days, or even five years ago. Economic and social changes, and geographical shifts that were happening during the boom years have been intensified during the bust years. It means a radical departure in how business looks and how it will be communicated. Businesses, especially start-ups, no longer look white and male.

They are female.

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Businesswoman Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, on the cover of Forbes

They may be in the wordmash of trendspotters – “Mompreneurs” – mothers at home with kids working online, via eBay or Etsy.

They may be Seniors, as Baby Boomers discover they either don’t really want to retire or just can’t afford to.

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Oh yeah and that Herringbone suit? This is a business meeting Dad!

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The team from the Evernote app, on the cover of Inc.

We’ll be exploring the new dynamic of the group business photo. But that doesn’t mean previous models are extinct.

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Google’s Eric Schmidt on the cover of The Financial Times magazine

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The image of hard-earned wisdom in the face of Bill Gates

They’ve just been tweaked a little. The businessman is occasionally  little less certain reflecting the sober and serious post-crunch mood, and consequently, close-up, can express a kind of  “rugged”, “senior”, “wisdom”. But then the faces of technology, business and communication a few years back are changing too.

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Actress/Writer Mindy Kaling and social media

Oh, and Business are going to change in other ways. In a Report conducted by Future Laboratory for HSBC bank, Ian Pearson, a ‘Futurologist’ who used to work for British Telecoms says, “It will be more difficult to describe what you do for a living in the future, as the nature of business changes, but also the way business changes.”  This is what used to be known as the portfolio worker but at a time when careers are more fluid than ever, it is known as the “slash/slash” generation – entrepreneur/designer/dj/barman…the kind of thing photographers might have done when starting a career.

Business imagery, in the language of management consultants, is in a state of disruption. Over the next 8 weeks we’ll be bringing you insight from experts in how to shoot images that creatively engage with the latest concepts and styles  to make your images commercially-telling for the user. We will be looking at models, props, concepts, locations and many different kinds of business and business imagery. Business means technology and industry, but also baking and dress-making. It means singular leadership and collaborative teamwork, it means business becoming more local as people become conscious of provenance, but also more international as small businesses are finding it easier to access markets in the vibrant new economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China – who also have different models of management and leadership. It also means, like Kickstarter, doing it by yourself. All of this translates into pictures.

Our members will get more detailed briefs in our members area, from their Art Directors, and in the upcoming Workshops in New York, LA, London, Munich and Copenhagen.

In the meantime, just remember, the surprising thing about change is that it always surprises.

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Billionaire investor Ron Perelman and his brother on the cover of Forbes

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