LECB – Learning & Enterprise College Bexley Commercial Photography Session

Picture of Graham Baker Photography

Graham Baker Photography

Brand Photography for LECB - Learning & Enterprise College Bexley

I was contacted by the Marketing Officer for the LECB – Learning and Enterprise College Bexley to work with the college for a re-branding project and create visual content of the college facilities, learners and staff in action (& headshots).

They would then have a library of images for the LECB college website, social media and printed publications.

The shoot was planned over 2 days, covering staff working in the reception area, business support hub office & IT support office. The photo shoot also covered adult learning activities from Maths & English, Glass making workshops, cooking classes, Pottery and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) classes.

I caught up with the marketing officer and asked them about the project from their perspective.

What is the LECB?

“I’m Rushali, LECB – Learning & Enterprise College Bexley marketing officer. We’re part of the London borough of Bexley, so all of the LECB communications we do are part of the comms team at Bexley Council.

The college is an adult education college for learners aged 19 years plus. However, we’re also well known for our SEND (Special Educational Needs & Disabilities) provisions and have an exception for our SEND Learners, who we help from age 16. Other popular services include ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), English, maths, and GCSE courses.

We also contribute to the community; people can apply for various free courses. Anything from accredited leisure and hobby courses. Such as pottery, glass making, well-being, and health and fitness courses.”

The Learning & Enterprise College Bexley - LECB

Tell me about the branding project and why you needed new images.

“We wanted there to be unique, updated pictures of our Learners. We had previously used a lot of stock images, and the photos of real learners were out of date and pre-covid pandemic. With a lot of these Learners having moved on, they were not no longer with us.

It just didn’t sit right to keep on using older pictures when they’re not even studying with us anymore, so I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get fresh new branding and picture style for our website, social media marketing, plus printed materials like the leaflets, posters and course guides we produce and distributed throughout Bexley Borough.”

Why was it important to move away from using stock images?

Stock images are not authentic! I also find many of them very Americanized. We’ve previously used “Shutterstock” for most of our pictures, and it’s tough to find images of British schools & colleges because of the American Vibe a lot of stock images have.

Also, we didn’t want to clash with other colleges that use the same pictures. For example, let’s say you were browsing different colleges, and then you see the same stuff and the same learner just because you’ve got it from a stock image service.

We still use them occasionally, but we’ve come a long way from using stock images as a majority. It’s far better to see real people and not models.

Authentic images convey many different emotions, and many of our Learners love seeing themselves, especially when they’ve spotted them on posters, banners and local buses around Bexley borough.

The signature image (Above) you took during an ESOL class as our primary brand image is a great example. The principal learner who’s in the picture loved it! She even shared it with her family back home, which was lovely!”

Learning & Enterprise College Bexley

What was the advantage of using a professional photographer instead of doing it yourself?

“Even though our college cameras are excellent quality, you just don’t get the same quality of images. I’ve gone into classes and taken pictures here and there, but it doesn’t look the same because I’m not a professional.

Also, as part of the new brand, we wanted to focus on large banners and posters; the quality and size of images were essential to blow them up for large-format printing. The quality is not the same when taking a picture from your phone, and it gets very pixelated when trying to blow them up to the size we need.

We also needed two to three thousand printed copies of our new course guide this year, meaning all the pictures had to be top-quality for a better viewing experience.

While I work in graphic design, I’m not a Photoshop expert, and the time it would have taken us to photograph and edit all the photos would have taken; I don’t even want to think about how long it would have taken me!

However, you provided all the images “ready to go”, and at such a quick speed turnaround saved us a LOT of time and work! Especially the 360 Photography and videos. If you can afford it, then definitely book a professional photographer!

How did you research photographers for the project?

The other main factor for us was to find someone local. We’re a local College and want to support the local business community.”

“I found you via a Google search for local commercial photographers in the borough of Bexley, and you came up as top in all the results and had plenty of great testimonials. You have a great website and portfolio, and you were flexible to customise a brand photography package that worked within our budget.

Tell me about the process of booking Graham Baker Photography.

“I contacted you via your contact form on your website, and you quickly got back to me. After a few emails, we had a proper sit-down chat on teams to discuss what we needed and plan the dates. You then provided a very detailed plan with all the costs, which was helpful because someone else makes the final decision as it has to go through my manager and the college principal.

You had me create a schedule because it was a packed two days of work, including the 360 photographs, headshots, staff working, classes and other details. Having a plan was essential!”

Were there any concerns or objections about the photography

However, you gave us tips to prepare and kept everyone calm during the headshot section. You also provided different options so that staff could pick the one they liked the most, which worked well.

You were fantastic to work with, and I’ve not had any negative feedback about you. Your interaction with our staff and learners was relaxed, and you had a bit of banter going on as well, which was great to see!”

How have you used the images?

“Along with our website & social media, as mentioned, we’ve used them mainly for all the marketing and advertising for our 2023/2024 courses, including our printed course guide, bus ads around the Bexley Borough, massive billboards, and roadside banners. We’re also hoping to do some more printed leaflets.

The 360 Images on Google Maps have been excellent – I’ve often referred back to them for prospective Learners to see our facilities or anyone who needs to book a classroom space with us. They can see & even explore how the area looks like compared to a static image.

The 360 images that you took of the building outside so that you can see whereabouts where the building has also made it easier for people to find us!”

What has been the overall benefit you’ve seen using the images?

“The ability to get more engagement with potential Learners has been a benefit with recent applications and interest for the college. Everyone loves seeing a personal story or real-life experience, and they can relate more when they see people like themselves in these pictures.

That’s why we wanted to use actual staff and our learners rather than stock images so it relates more to the current community. Regularly updating the college’s image keeps potential new Learners and existing Learners engaged.

I believe any school or college that updates its image library regularly will see a benefit, and I’d recommend you every time!”

Adult Education College Bexkey

What the client said...

“We had the pleasure of working with Graham recently for a re-branding and headshot project for the college and we cannot recommend his services enough! From start to finish, Graham was an absolute pleasure to work with. He was professional, friendly, and went above and beyond to ensure that we were completely satisfied with the final results.

The re-branding photos were equally impressive, and we were blown away by the quality of each and every image. He also took some amazing 360 images of our college which you can view on google under photos in Learning & Enterprise College to see how great it is!

Overall, we would highly recommend Graham to anyone looking for a local professional photographer. Thank you for helping us to elevate our college’s image and for providing us with some truly unforgettable photos!” – LECB

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