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Photo by Nick Cole

Nudity and other distractions: Five pitfalls to avoid.

We’ve all seen those images: the plant pot growing out of someone’s head or a naked man in the background. You know, typical business networking.   

Bored Panda has compiled a list of no less than 72 of the worst photo fails – when people forgot to check the background.

And earlier this month a politician was caught with his trousers down during a live interview. He put on a smart shirt but decided to forego the trousers – and an unfortunately placed mirror revealed his underwear.

Antwerp mayor Bart de Wever said ‘I’ll remember this for a long-time’. And he’s not alone.

Needless to say, an embarrassing photo may not be the best way to showcase your business. 

I spoke with photographer Nick Cole, who uses images to show the story behind the business. He creates photos that feel relaxed, authentic and filled with emotion.

He said: “Great images don’t simply look nice; they tell a story. It’s a way to connect with people and it can be their first impression of you and your business.”

Nick shares five common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

1. Distractions

The photo needs to guide the viewer to the main message or subject matter. Clutter, objects sticking out of people’s heads and unintentional images of partially dressed people can be somewhat distracting from that message.

Always check your background for unwanted reflections and distractions, ideally when you’re taking the photo and definitely before you share with the world.

2. Wrong venue

Anyone remember the Four Seasons saga? Plan the photoshoot in advance and check the details of where the photos will be taken.

3. Arty shots

A silhouette of a person may be suitable for sensitive subject matters and protecting someone’s anonymity. But the press generally prefers images of people, which tells the story. Think of the Ronseal approach: does it do what it says on the tin?

4. Poor lighting

A potentially lovely photo can be ruined by poor lighting. It may be easier for those who are not professional photographers to use natural, outdoor lighting.

Consider whether the person can be seen clearly and whether they are covered by shadows or overexposed by bright light.

Are they squinting from the sun? Do they have white or fair hair which blends into a white background or sky? Seek out good light and a background which provides contrast.

Photo by Nick Cole. The individual can clearly be seen.
5. Miserable-looking people on happy occasions

Imagine you and your team have cause to celebrate, with an award win, for example. Yet your group photo shows a bunch of miserable-looking people.

If you interact with the people in the photo, encouraging them to get energised and involved, you’ll draw out a natural and engaging smile.

Photo by Nick Cole. The individual looks happy – suiting the occasion.
About Nick Cole

Nick Cole specialises in helping people bring their business vision to life with images which tell a story. 

He lives in Wiltshire with his wife and two children. Nick loves to head out to the mountain trails or on his bike to keep fit and is counting the down the days when we can all enjoy live music once again!