CMO Breakfast Recap: Steve Thornton on Storytelling Through Photography

After a year hiatus, the CMO Breakfast was relaunched. This morning, award-winning photographer, Steve Thornton, discussed how brands can better capture their story through photography. He delivered a compelling presentation to a very diverse audition which included leaders from both brands and agencies.

The Power Of Imagery

During the CMO Breakfast, Steve provided a very unique perspective on capturing a brand’s story.
Through a slideshow thoughtfully designed with his own images, he began to unravel the importance of images.

“Imagery helps identify who you are.”

– Steve Thornton, Award-Winning Photographer

Steve began the presentation by highlighting, “Imagery helps identify who you are.” He continued to elaborate on this idea as he said, “It often gives people their first impression of your business.”

How It Relates To Digital

Imagery is crucial when it comes to social media. It was projected by Statista, that in 2019, the average person will spend about 153 minutes on social media each day.¹ With this much time spent in the digital world, it is crucial for brands to develop an online presence. However, to do this successfully, you have to do more than just post a random picture. You have to demand the users’ attention. Force them to stop swiping.

And, one of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a powerful image with the help of a photographer.

Finding A Photographer

If you aren’t quite exactly sure how to find a photographer that fits all your needs, I suggest checking out these two articles. Here, Steve gets into the nitty-gritty of how and where to search for them.

Capturing That Image

In addition to explaining why images are significant, Steve told the CMO Breakfast audience the best way to capture that perfect image. And, it all begins with one question. What do you want? When talking to a photographer, providing any ideas will be extremely helpful. However, according to Steve, the most valuable thing you could do is create an outline.

By providing your vision with the photographer, this allows all parties to be on the same page. Nonetheless, be prepared to answer questions! Any good photographer is going to be asking you a lot of questions.

Keep reading to see what should be considered in the outline.

When Building An Outline Keep In Mind

  1. What type of image is needed?
  2. What’s important to highlight in the photo?
  3. How many finished images do you need?
  4. What are the images for?

To get a more in-depth idea of how to approach your outline visit Steve’s “How to prep for a commercial photoshoot for your company.”

Behind The Scenes

Steve also delved into a side of photography that most people know even less about. He emphasized that it takes more than just an individual with a camera to get that perfect shot.

In fact, it takes 5 areas of expertise to produces an amazing commercial image of people.

  1. Makeup
  2. Hairstyling
  3. Wardrobe styling
  4. Photography
  5. Modeling

When all of these things work in unison, it can create something magical. Steve explains that if any of these 5 items are missing, you have the very real chance of missing out on a good image.

Respecting The Process

It’s important to remember that amazing photographs don’t just happen at the snap of your fingers. They take time. Steve stresses to remember that there are a lot of things at play: location, time of day, light, model, etc. During the talk, Steve stressed how important lighting was, as he said, “Light, Light, Light.” He explained that it’s extremely important and it can turn a photo from meh to wow.

“Light, Light, Light.”

In addition to this, it takes time to edit that photo to perfection. It’s during the editing process where a whole other layer of magic is added to the photo.

Don’t believe us? Check this series of photos to better understand the process we’re talking about. Visit here for more information about this shoot.

CMO Breakfast

Stay Tuned

Check out and join our mailing list so you don’t miss out on our next event! Meanwhile, be sure to check out Steve’s website here.


¹ Statista


Nicole Schuster
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