Nadav Kander, to me, is much more than your average Joe Blow photographer.
When I look at one of his portraits, I am first taken by the subject of the picture.
After this, I consider the technique of how this image was made.
Colours, textures, light treatment.
It all treats me to a visual celebration that is distinctly the work of this tall, soft spoken Israeli expat.
Nadav's work makes the viewer see the subject while appreciating the feelings that inevitably rise to the surface. The portraits are not about cameras and lenses, Photoshop or filters. These images are about emotion, life, feeling, place, origin, character. As he has indicated, his work is metaphorically like chocolate cake. With mustard. I agree.
I look to his work when I want to feel something. His images are moments in time being presented for you to respond to in whatever way you deem to be appropriate at that moment. His portrait work celebrates not only the subject, but also the way in which the viewer responds, reacts.
He doesn't talk about technique, camera models, lens aberrations, post-processing. None of that matters in his work. His work is that of an artist, with a camera. He is an artist with a camera, creating work that means something.
I aspire to be able to create work that is stylistically and distinctly mine, but work that has the power to instigate thought in the viewer, just as his does. Those of us who are privileged to be aware of his work, will undoubtedly be impacted by it. I certainly am. Having learned of his work just last year, I have noticed a difference in my portrait work. A more cohesiveness and work that has a deeper meaning than those of simple portraits. From here, I can only grow. From here, I can become a true artist.
How important is the image you put out into the world for your personal brand?
I would suggest that the image you use to promote your brand is extremely important. It's right up there with the ability to breathe. In my opinion.
If you are anything but a recluse or a hobbit, you are probably communicating with other humans on a regular basis. Maybe communication itself is your business. Maybe you are a team leader or a manager of a large department. Everyday you communicate with any person anywhere, you are communicating your personal brand.
When your image is viewed in any form, you are communicating your personal brand. Viewers are forming an opinion about you whenever they see your image. You have no control over that. However you do have the ability to influence what they think of you, what opinion they form and consequently how they may react to meeting you face to face.
This is where a quality-driven photographer can make things go either positively or negatively in regards to the first impression your portrait creates. A talented photographer, who listens to the person in front of the camera will be able to bring out the authenticity required to get that amazing shot. The brand building portrait.
Now for some data.
On occasion I will take a few of the images that I have created and submit them to public opinion. I'll upload them to a polling site that shares them with the general public who then rate each image based upon a specific criteria. Usually I will let the poll run overnight to gather a decent number of votes, but other times just a few hours will be sufficient.
I recently did just that with these 3 portraits. You will see that each ranks fairly high in each of the 3 criteria. What this tells me is that what I am accomplishing with good photography, proper interaction with the client and constant practice is working for both myself and my clients.
Your personal brand can move your forward or keep you at a standstill. Your portrait is part of that brand. Consider your portrait as an investment in you. It can pay dividends but you have to invest wisely. Make this year the year to invest well in your personal brand with a quality portrait.
I guess you could classify this post as a mini-rant, because that is how I feel whenever I see a "Meet the Staff/Team" web page and almost wretch at the images posted.
Granted, on rare occasions the images are acceptable and on even more rare occasions they are exceptional.
Here's my 10 tips for putting together a cohesive and professional set of staff/team headshots.
This is an exercise that will explore the importance of hiring a photographer who's sole job is to make you and your business look great.
Here is an image of a man. Take a quick look at the image and then blurt out where you think the man is while the photo is being made.
The internet is a wonderful thing, mostly. Private individuals and businesses are using it to connect on a global scale. People use the internet to do amazing things and also to get mundane tasks completed, like shopping and researching products they are interested in.
For the past month or so, I've been researching the various businesses in order to find potential prospects for my photography services. Small and medium sized businesses primarily.
Here's what I've found out.
People are lazy. Yes, even business managers and owners. They feel like they are obligated to put up a website because that is the "normal" thing to do. Sure, they hire a site developer or maybe a design firm to get it done. But that's where things usually leave their scope of interest. I get it, they've got daily tasks to attend to.
But, in doing so, they are forgetting to pay attention to the fine details. The details such as branding.
They forget that the first impression, and one that is more and more being formed within a few seconds of seeing a company website, can make or break the flow of a client once they've entered the sales funnel.
Think about this, if you were to post a personal headshot on the internet, in the hopes of securing a job, a date or whatever is your interest, you would probably post the best image of you that you could get together. Right? (I sincerely hope you would). Well, then why would you waste your web page by posting sub-standard images of your business in the internet?
Did you pay for your website? Are you expecting people to feel confident in your abilities based on the horrible images of your staff? Studies have proven time and again, that a viewer forms an opinion of a person in a photograph within 3 seconds of seeing it. Wouldn't you want to assure that that impression is a positive one?
Let's get back to the photo of the man above.
What was your first thought? Was it a jailhouse lineup?
(that was mine)
Well, you are incorrect. I won't reveal who he is or where he works, but this is a staff photo.
I know that he and his employer deserve much better.
When you take a close look at your staff photos, be sure that they leave a positive impression with the viewer. Your business is one step closer to closing a sale by telling visitors to your site that this is a good place to be. A good place run by welcoming, professional people. Don't take the chance of ruining all the effort you put into your business every day by posting unprofessional images.
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.
For those of us interested in better marketing techniques, get this book.