For many in business, wall calendars have lost their value as scheduling tools — a working professional’s daily schedule is often too cluttered to fit into a 2-by-2-inch square, and a piece of paper on the wall won’t beep to remind you it’s time for another staff meeting (ugh). Still, we use wall calendars for more than a quick glance at the month; they give us a glimpse, a reminder if you will, of the machines, people and, hopefully, the beauty in the world, even the beauty in our industry.
Here are some thoughts on capturing and incorporating images for your calendar.
One approach is to feature the subject (I'll be using aircraft, but it could be armor or trucks or boats or those annoying scooters millennials hop on, burly-man beards flying, man-buns not-flying. (Actually, I don't mind the scooters, and my son sports one of those burly-man beards though, sadly, a man-bun is out of his, um, reach?)) Where was I? Photographing the aircraft coming your way is a powerful approach.
Then again, you can also place your subject in a larger view of its environment, if that environment or the composition warrant it.
If you are shooting air-to-air, plan to take advantage of as many backgrounds, lighting directions, and camera settings as you can. All of these came from fewer than 90 minutes — plenty to choose from, for the calendar and beyond.
If you are stuck shooting from the ground, a good vantage point and spot-on timing are your best friends (and a dynamic sky doesn't hurt).
If your subject is on the ground with you, do your best to make the composition and lighting work for you. The first job of an image is to make people stop and look, so give them something more enticing than "aircraft on ground."
Of course, if you can get in the air while the subject is on the ground, go on up — bold, graphical, eye-catching results are there to be found and captured.
Whether making the image or fitting it into the calendar, don't be afraid to put the subject off-center. Such a layout can add energy to an otherwise static image, or allow space for other elements — like text or inset images. (But don't, please, don't feel you must fill such space with something else — just sayin'…)
Another approach to adding visual energy is rolling the camera along the lens' axis. You might think the view from a KC-135 is the view from a KC-135, but by rolling the camera left, there is more oomph in this shot. It's a simple technique that can be employed almost anywhere.
Another example of rolling the camera, this time while capturing an aircraft just sitting on the ramp. Combined with a low angle to exclude the background and, perhaps, hide the fact there's no pilot in the cockpit, I've made something useful from almost nothing.
This barely scratches the surface of the challenges and opportunities for photography in service of a marketing calendar. I think an important concept to grasp is how a calendar is like a book, with the need to both draw and keep a reader's attention, then to tell the story of your company, your products, your people.
If yours is a good story, be sure to tell it well.