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The Changing Face of Social Media Imagery

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Just a few years ago, a corporate Christmas party would have been a relatively private event. If there was a professional photographer there at all, the images would be filtered out with only the favoured ones appearing in a blog, newsletter or small corner gallery on the company’s web site. All that has changed.

Now it is almost impossible to go to an event without images being “posted” or “tweeted” with a few hours or, in some cases, within minutes.  Whether we like it or not, the world has become Twitter, Instagram and Facebook obsessed.  On a corporate level, this addiction has had a dramatic impact on the perception of a company’s ethos and culture meaning that PR and Marketing departments are working ever harder to ensure the right image prevails in the Social Media arena.

The clamour to be the first to show “celebrity X” at their event, before another guest posts a “selfie” with the celeb in the back ground is fierce. The more worrying trend is colleagues snapping themselves, each other or clients behaving inappropriately and posting them on-line. The potential reputational damage caused in a corporate and professional capacity has ensured that companies are more social media conscious; becoming draconian about what is uploaded into cyber-space by its staff.  The number of companies which ban the use of cameras on mobile devices at their events is becoming more and more common.

John Cassidy is a world renowned headshot photographer who is in great demand at corporate events. He explains, “If you consider the digital footprint of any images these days, the figures are astonishing. That is why corporate clients want to ensure that they get the right style of images of their guests and colleagues, behaving in an appropriate manner.”

His is correct, even Mark Zuckerberg could not have imagined 10 years ago, when he started Facebook that he would have over 1.35bn active subscribers. In the last year the company identified that almost 950m of their active subscribers are mobile users with over 300m photographs being uploaded every day.

In general people are becoming more image conscious. We are all aware of the reputational damage caused to Ed Miliband over the “Bacon Sandwich Story”, we want to ensure that, in a professional capacity at least, there are no “sandwich moments” on public display.


People are aware that, when looking for a job, it is quite common for HD departments to check out candidate’s LinkedIn profiles. Cassidy explains, “If the image is absent, unsuitable, or of poor quality, the application may end there.  This is not to say that companies expect everyone to look like a super model, more that they project the correct look for the position they are after, professional yet open and approachable.”

The days of the austere corporate mug shot with a blue marbled backdrop are gone. Nowadays, people want their corporate photos to look natural, more engaging and less structured – as if they have been literally captured in action looking imperfectly perfect, which is all down to social media and the digital footprint we leave.

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