Now here is a controversial subject... Design Agencies and the mediocre images they use on their websites to show 'Their Work'. Well that is my opinion anyway. I would imagine as a photographer you may wonder if I am qualified to have that opinion, however I know design agencies very well.
Back in the UK where I am from I worked for only major named design agencies from 1994 until 2005, I didn't photograph for them, I was a senior production artist and retoucher. Although I studied photography at university, prior to that I went to college for graphic design. Even today good design is something that inspires me, especially packaging, which was my speciality way back then. My dream as a young 20 something was to work for the big named agencies in London and indeed my dream came true I was very fortunate to have worked for companies where I learned a lot. I always say to everyone when I discuss my working life experiences that I loved everyday of my working life in London, I worked hard, I never got out of bed not wanting to go to work and I have many many fond memories of all the years and people I worked with.
I actually believe that the immense experience that I gained working for those amazing agencies in London have a large impact on how I work now as a photographer. I often say that I look at photography in a more graphic way, how lines and shapes intersect.
Anyway enough of that... so since moving to Montreal I have unashamedly been very critical of the so called graphic design and photography industry in this town. That is largely because I realised I was extremely lucky to have worked alongside some incredibly talented designers and within award winning agencies in London. I have had no shame in saying how the graphic design industry in my hometown is one of the best, and indeed I feel it is but, there is a but...
The design quality, creativity and innovation in London in my opinion to this day remains excellent but the BUT is... why are so many of these super amazing agencies using such awful and mediocre photographs on THEIR websites as part of their portfolio?... Honestly I was shocked after recently looking at many sites of the great agencies I used to work for. Suddenly all my talk of how amazing these agencies are to people on this side of the pond sounds like a crock!
I am not going to name names of agencies, I would love to if I thought it would kick them into actually making an effort to hire a pro to take their portfolio images, like they did back in the 90's when I worked for them...... ahhh but wait, yes its the DIGITAL AGE and now every designer is also a photographer n'est pas? WRONG.
Please gorgeous, talented, amazingly creative agencies in London, stop with your dreadful in house taken photos that actually look like in house shots on a piece of foam board photos, and worst still stop using photos of your products in the store that someone from the office went to take and has a horrible urine yellow cast. Seriously what is up with this trend?
Yes good photography costs money but can you afford for a potential client to visit your website and see these mediocre images and for that client to then think.... Hmmmm nope I think I will head on over to someone else who's work looks better! (Probably an Australian agency as they seem to be on the right track).
Sadly I do think there is an element of arrogance that makes some London agencies not realise how important it is to have great shots of their packaging/identity, on their websites or more worryingly, perhaps they don't realise how bad their images are, until now that is. HA.
I loved my London working days and all the people I worked with, I understand that times have changed and perhaps I don't know the industry as it is now, maybe budgets don't allow for good photography, but then how can they maintain their reputation of high standards if they themselves are not prepared to invest in showcasing to their target markets, their work in the best possible way.