Maybe it’s because we’re enjoying such beautiful weather, in sharp contrast to the Beast from the East this time last year, but over the last few days I’ve been feeling the urge to pick up my camera.

I don’t mean smartphone snapshots when out and about. When I’m using a DSLR, I’m in a different mindset; it’s a little more…deliberate, and I usually have at least a vague plan for what I’m trying to create, rather than simply capturing what I come across.

While I get a huge amount of pleasure from photography no matter what I’m using to do it, I guess I see a DSLR as a work tool in a way that doesn’t apply to my smartphone camera.

Say cheese!

Before starting two years’ worth of night classes over a decade ago, I’d wanted to learn to use a camera with some skill for many years. As a journalist I worked with photographers on a daily basis and learned a lot from them. One urged me to take it up, telling me that for him photography was “food for the soul”. Cheesy as this sounds, he wasn’t wrong. A dawn wander, camera in hand, is the absolute best start to the day.

Not only that, but capturing moments in people’s lives, such as special birthdays, weddings and the newborn phase of their children’s lives is incredibly special and can’t help but make you beam with pride.

Even on the more corporate side, such as for headshots, I enjoy helping someone move from pulling a Chandler Bing grimace of discomfort to exuding confidence and feeling good. The buzz I get from seeing these shots litter LinkedIn and the like is amazing, particularly when I remember the first few, often awkward moments of the shoot.

So I love the fact my career involves photography, both as a standalone service and in combination with public relations and marketing. But people are often surprised when I say I do both.

Deep impact

I find this a bit confusing if I’m honest. After all, photography is one of the most powerful communication tools there is. Yet it’s an often overlooked part of the communications landscape. I find imagery is frequently an afterthought when organisations are planning PR and marketing activity, and this is a mistake.

No matter how strong the copy is on leaflets, posters, websites and in media stories, it’s imagery that at a glance, tells the story, and is often the difference between someone choosing whether to turn the page, or to start reading.

Like all the tactics in your communications strategy, the use of imagery should be carefully planned with adequate budget for it earmarked. Quality photography isn’t cheap, but really packs a punch. Take the fashion industry for example, which is built on the power of photography.

A strong image can invoke an instant emotional reaction that is hugely influential when it comes to consumer decisions. Why wouldn’t you invest in it?