Businesswoman taking notes at a meeting

Corporate Photography: BNI Folkestone

One of my favourite areas of photography and my primary focus these days is Corporate Photography. The business and professional world is one of the few sectors where photographers can still find consistent work alongside an adequate wage. On this occasion, I took the opportunity to capture some stock photography for my BNI Folkestone chapter, where I recently applied for membership.

businessmen chatting and networking
Corporate Photography for me starts with a commercial approach. I look at pretty much all of my photos as a chance to add value to whatever I’m capturing. That can be a beautiful landscape that I want to appear spectacular or perhaps a savvy businessman like Zarak of Thomas and Partners, with whom I’m looking to connect on a sentimental level. At all times for me, photography is about adding value to and for my subjects.

My primary interest in the BNI is quite simple. The BNI (Business Network International) is the world’s largest referral network. BNI members enjoy unparalleled business growth as a result of this unrivaled network with 8.8 million referrals last year alone, resulting in more than $11.2 billion in business.

Businesswoman taking notes at a meeting
As a photographer, I always do my best to capture the essence of my subjects. This is probably easier said than done, but the fundamentals of good composition and technique are always the starting ground for crafting my images. Here, Julie of Hestia Property Services represents the focus and fluidity that comes with a businessperson being in his or her element.

Since applying for membership, I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on a number of BNI meetings. There was no doublespeak and it was quite straightforward seeing what this chapter was about. From the BNI Folkestone website, “BNI’s philosophy is Givers Gain®, which is simply this: “If I give you business, you’ll want to give me business.”.”

Businessman raising a plaque in honor of attendee
An avid golfer, Trevor of The Utility Warehouse has presented us with an ideal opportunity to capture a victorious shot.

One of the newest members of the BNI is Wendy Flanagan of The Holistic Home. Wendy’s story is reflective of how the BNI’s aim “to help members increase their business through a structured, positive, and professional “word-of-mouth” program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals” simply works. Wendy is a big BNI supporter and one of the primary reasons that I didn’t hesitate to apply. As far as I can tell, the BNI is about putting in the effort to ensure that you’re an integral part of a thriving and successful network. This means giving has to be heralded equally as giving for the network to be successful.

Attractive lady reading notes to attendees at a meeting
Wendy offers a unique Holistic experience, here in Kent, and I’ve gone to some effort to capture her serenity and her natural peace, using the window frame and bring her into prominence without effort.

Nigel Wilkinson of Kent Garden & Property Maintenance represents my first referral through the BNI Folkestone Network and I look forward to my upcoming blog post featured around his Gardening services. In Nigel’s case, we’ll be building a stock catalog from his projects and our resident Web Designer, Dave Hoe of LocaleBiznet, will be building his website.

Businessman giving speech at meeting
You always want a sense of character and personality with corporate photos. Timing is usually key and holding the shutter tends to give very different expressions frame to frame.

Sarah Harvey of Frizbee Print & Embroidery is a great example of how the BNI can be an absolute asset to your business. Each week I admire in awe at the constant stream of referrals that land in front of her. Not only is it a testament to the BNI’s networking system, but it’s a huge compliment that her fellow business owners see her work as constantly being deserving of referrals. One of the things I appreciate most in the BNI Folkestone’s chapter is the general consensus on a standard of excellence.

Lady taking notes at meeting while man speaks.
Another favourite technique is capturing subjects through the silhouettes of their colleagues. It both sums up the experience and the environment and gives a sense of movement through their implied interaction.

Ray Johnson of Independent Insurance Services is one of the longest tenured members of the Folkestone chapter and is renown regionally not only because of his success and influence in the insurance sector but for his local charity work commitments as well. Ray is the race director for the Folkestone Coastal 10K and also chairs the Kent CII Regional Conference.

Businessman addressing colleagues
Ray Johnson is a razor sharp professional who is also highly personable. Such a dichotomy can seem a contradiction, but back button focus has given me a tack sharp exposures that really brings those two characteristics together.

Here, Jake Sackett of JJ Taxis is delivering his one-minute presentation, detailing his service and the type of referrals that he’s most interested in. Over the years, the great ones like Jake develop a sense of showmanship and personal presentation skills that seamlessly captivate his audience. Learning to become an effect public speaker is just one of the many business development courses that the BNI make available to their members.

Man talking and attractive women giggling at meeting
Light moments are often the best.

Oliver Kleinman of Orbital Print maintains a number crucial roles of leadership within the Folkestone chapter and is part of the Office, Marketing, and SupportPower Team” that I hope to join.

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Chris Dodd of Pentis Accountants deals with new member applications and has been instrumental in guiding me through the process along with Julie of Hestia Property Services.

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Woman talking to colleagues at business meeting.
Always looking to capture the essence of my subjects.

Tuija Foster of East Kent Handbooks is another member of my prospective Power Team.

Woman in yellow flowery dress talking at business meeting.
One of my favourite compositions and a candid photo that nears on being a Lifestyle image. It was an early morning meeting and the sun was just starting to give depth to the scene outside the window. Golden hour can make even indoor corporate photos sing.

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Businessman giving powerpoint presentation at meeting
Room shots can be tricky. A wide angle lens can make subjects seem distorted and far away. Here, I’ve used a telephoto lens to compress the scene. This keeps the subjects in the foreground the same relative size as those in the background.
Businessman in grey suit passing out cards at meeting
One of the attendees of this meeting asked me at some point “if I had one photo to take, what would it be of?” I replied to him, “the moment of transition.” For me, that is the essence. When people are at the moment of transition, forethought gives way to instinct and what is manifests unencumbered. It’s one of the reasons that I adore Lifestyle Photography and one of my most assured ways of coming away with solid results.

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Dave Hoe, Web Designer from  LocaleBiznet is another longstanding member and one with whom I look forward to working closely with over the coming years.

Businessman in blue sweater smiling at meeting
And again, nothing says a happy, successful, compassionate, businessman, like a relaxed, smiling, businessman in his element. Find them. Connect with them. Capture them. Repeat.

I’m a commercial photographer, based in Kent and I specialise in creating dynamic, eye-catching images for my clients. My images are created to add value to every message conveyed across the spectrum of digital and offline platforms alike, including websites, brochures, blogs, social media channels, case studies and any other medium as required. My clients range from BAFTA award winners, multi-national building firms, television personalities and heads of state to local businesses, respected artists and ambitious entrepreneurs. I was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas (U.S.A.), and after a stint as a lab technician followed by time out to travel, I began a career as a production rigger, working primarily in television and film. This experience allowed me to become accustomed to pressurised working environments and a demanding clientele! In 2011, I began studying at the London Film Academy, which eventually led to me devoting my time and training to becoming a commercial photographer. Whether you have a specific project in mind or you’re looking for a complete brand identity overhaul, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at kevan@smithstudios.co.uk or give me a call on +44 77 6666 1253.

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