Skewing Perspective to Fit the Message

My boss recently shared how happy she was to get a “twofer” by hiring me: She gets a marketing professional who also happens to be a photographer.  I’ve been thinking about how best to use my skills to integrate our messaging into every aspect of our visual marketing. I got a chance to experiment with the concept this week, when I attended one day of the School Food Initiative’s week-long Culinary Boot Camp.

At Boot Camp, local food service workers learn how to transform their school cafeterias from “heat-and-serve” to cooked-from-scratch environments, providing healthier, less commercially processed foods – usually far more economically.

Our foundation prides itself on our entrepreneurial heritage. We were founded by Paul Orfalea, the man that grew Kinko’s from a single, 150 square foot shop into a two billion dollar chain. We don’t just make grants to prop up the status quo; rather, we create initiatives like School Food to take action on problems that can be solved NOW. We like to say we’re changing the way philanthropy changes the world. We look at things differently, and I thought about that while making photos at Boot Camp.

I don’t know if this experiment will pan out, but currently, our website and brochures feature pretty standard commercial photography – everything looks just right. But if we look at things differently and take action, maybe our images should look a little skewed, conveying a sense of motion and energy.  Maybe.  Here are some of my experiments.

During Boot Camp, some attendees arrive early each day to prepare breakfast for the full group. This composition is supposed to emphasize the delicious looking scones while also noting the professional looking (because they are professionals) team in the background. Ultimately, it’s the food that counts, because if kids won’t eat the healthier food we prepare, then the School Food Initiative is for naught.

Chef Instructor Claud Mann shows how a breakfast burrito assembly line speeds completion of the task.

Timers, scales and thermometers are critical tools for cooking from scratch. The Boot Camp participants are pushed hard all week, and I was impressed by their focus as they learned new tools and techniques.

The School Food Mobile Chef Instructors push the students hard, yet maintain a fun and friendly environment. Can you tell how many ways the camera is tilted, or do you mainly notice the smiles?

Speaking of smiles, I didn’t tilt all of the images, because the technique does not always suit the image. I like this one because it shows the absolute focus of the students as they handle raw chicken, and the natural joy Melissa Bishop derives from the camaraderie of her School Food team.

As I work on the visual style for our marketing materials, I’ll try to refine ideas like this, looking for unusual angles and perspectives.

And just in case you’ve come to believe that Culinary Boot Camp is all fun and games, here is a reminder that one should not cross Chef Naomi!

As I develop the visual style for School Food and our other initiatives, I’ll continue to experiment with tighter, more skewed compositions that emphasize key messages. In this case, their gazes should direct your eye to the thermometer. Too bad it’s a yellow thermometer…

Perhaps the best part of my new job, other than working for a philanthropic foundation that’s trying hard to make the world a better place, is that in order to craft perfect images for the School Food Initiative, I’m going to have to attend a lot of Boot Camps. When’s lunch?


Filed under Composition, Motivation

2 responses to “Skewing Perspective to Fit the Message

  1. myrna Cambianica

    absolutely great photos dean … the foundation is indeed lucky to get a “twofer”

  2. Nice Joie de vivre. That’s french for nice pictures.

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