Beth Jennings – The Journey Captured » I capture the journey of people in their personal and professional lives. I teach amateur photographers how to capture their life in beautiful photos. Photography, Melbourne Photographer, Photography Workshops, dSLR Camera Workshops, Creative Camera Course, Photo Course Melbourne, Camera Class Melbourne

Can culture be captured?

Hi Beth, 

John, Nina and the rest of the team are really happy with the collection. John is particularly impressed by how well you captured our culture. Also, what is really nice is that everyone looks like themselves. Our space looks great too.

Thanks so much!!

Sarah, Executive Designer, ThinkPlace

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Recently I was in the nation’s capital and was approached by Sarah to photograph head shots, the executive team and some team-in-action images at her workplace. I was specifically asked due to my skill in capturing brands in photographs.

What is a brand?

Bernadette Jiwa is a brand specialist. In her blog The Story of Telling she says that product + meaning = brand. Without meaning, your brand is just a commodity.

Meaning is seated in feelings and emotions, and as we know from Simon Sinek, it resides in a part of our brain called the limbic brain where language does not exist.

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How do you know? I don’t know, it just feels right.

So how do work out how to photograph a feeling?

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Flesh it out.

Normally I ask my clients (who are often the decision makers in the business) to talk to me about their business, what lights them up, where they’re going into the future and how people would describe their business.

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In the case of ThinkPlace, I was unable to meet with the executives until the day of the photo session. I find it to be the norm that most people struggle to articulate in a few succinct words or phrases what an organization is about. Quite often the business owner themselves can even struggle to articulate it clearly. In this case I had to do a bit of hunting. Mnnn, let’s see what we can find.

On the ThinkPlace website the USP is ‘We humanise complexity, creating public value through design thinking.’ I had to read this several times.

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Dig a bit further.

They work mostly with government, sometimes with large scale private organizations, and non-for-profits – all of whom have challenges with delivering services to their clients. They have a human-centered approach to solving their clients’ complex problems.

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They describe themselves with words like innovate, crystallize, change, experiment, improvise, design, rigorous, comprehensive, perspective and harness – very visceral and cerebral words that explain how they get the job done.

At their team meeting John talked them through the company’s big picture goals which included their focus towards preeminence.

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In viewing their promo video it was apparent that the physical environment plays an important role in supporting the way they work. It’s full of great design elements, lighting and colour.

Can you see it starting to come together?

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Location, clothing and posing

The workplace made the perfect setting.

They were told to wear what they would wear if they came to ThinkPlace for an interview. What impression would they want to make?

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For the individual portraits it was important to get away from the traditional ‘head-shot’ because this organisation is using out-of-the-box practices.

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Visually translated, this means I deliberately placed each person in their own space so the portrait was more half-body where the viewer could learn a bit about each person by the environment around them.

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Posing was executed to reflect their individual personalities – they come together under the banner of professional, cerebral and design-focused but there is room for individuals to move and be themselves in this company. They were each asked to position themselves in the composition in their own way which allowed for personal expression to come through.

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Rapport was built quickly. I encouraged them to focus their mind on the fact that they are part of a small team doing extraordinary things and making a difference. Proud thoughts lead to proud energy which is expressed in subtle ways through posture and facial expression.

The overall environment was very inspired and dynamic, just like them. Feeling inspired I decided to capture individual elements as well, little close-ups.

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The team-in-action collection tells the story of how they work together. Close-ups, the whole room, spontaneous and unexpected moments. Click the slideshow to watch what unfolded.

The four executives also needed a group portrait. They preferred to be portrayed as a unified team rather than four unique players, so we captured them in-action and built the triptych.

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Can culture be photographed? Yes, if you take the time to figure out what it is.

What’s your company’s culture? How do you describe your company’s values, essence and personality?

If someone were to describe your business in ten adjectives, what would they say?

If you can get the words out of your head and down on paper, then you sit back and start to see what your brand looks like which will help you to accurately brief your photographer, videographer and designers.


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