Jan 2016

‘Factory photo-shoots’ are the default setting for most businesses. Carbon Curated caught up with photographer Tom Jackson for the first time since our exciting shoot together. Read on to discover how a more creative take on portrait photography could develop your company’s image.

The man behind the camera

“I don’t like cameras”… not words you’d expect from a professional photographer. But Tom Jackson is far from your typical equipment geek. “I’m into images, not lenses. I enjoy creating the right picture, making the moment happen. That’s what drives me, really.”

Tom specialises in portrait photography for high-profile editorials and advertising campaigns, and regularly contributes to the Times. Since starting out as a studio assistant in London working tough hours, Tom has shot to success at an impressive frame-rate. “I’m the catalyst” he insists. “Yes, there’s a lot of momentum building – but it’s all off my own back. If I slow down, the picture looks very different!”

Expressing something different

Tom enjoys working with clients who have something a bit different to say. For instance, the team at Carbon are smart, discerning, disruptive entrepreneurs. These traits jump out from the images we created together.

Portrait photography is a powerful tool. It’s especially important when businesses need to connect with people on a human level. Faces convey messages instantly, because we’re hard-wired to read expressions. “So many firms just view their work photos as a necessary chore,” Tom explains. “Factory shoots are just about saying “here we are”. But with a bit more thought, you can say “this is who we are.”

At Carbon, we work flexibly, creatively and collaboratively to build real connections with people. In Tom, we’ve found a photographer who works like us. At our shoot there were props everywhere – roller-skates, ridiculous trousers, Santa costumes. “That’s how it should be!” Tom laughs. “My work focuses on how a person makes you feel. After all, that connection is what you’re selling.”

Making the moment count

This is easier said than done. As many readers will know, the morning of a work photo-shoot can be tense. The office fills with nervous laughter and the tinny scent of hairspray. The words “let’s just get it over with” spring to mind. But the whole point is to express your team’s mutual, collective pride – it’s not about what you look like. So take a deep breath, master your nerves and really make a day of it.

Tom has a knack for working out what makes people tick. He knows just what to do or say to bring your character into focus. “It’s about spending time with each person. Getting to know them, putting on music, creating the right vibe. Then you just frame up and wait for something to happen. It’s my job to capture these happy accidents.”

Start with why

So if you’re in charge of organising the work photo-shoot, don’t settle for the point-and-click approach. Start by deciding why you are creating these images. Understand what your message is, and how you want to make other people feel when they see your images. Then you can all look forward to photo-shoot day.

And remember – don’t just say cheese. Say something different. Only you (and your business) know what that will be!

You can discover more of Tom Jackson’s work by visiting his website and blog.