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Old 08-24-2006, 07:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4
Default Designing around substandard photographs

A new client has requested a brochure to represent a line of high-end, built-in, custom cabinetry. The target audience is primarily professional interior designers, but the end users must be considered as well.

This company is very well established in their home city. Over the past few decades they have secured an excellent reputation, and rely on customer referrals for nearly all new business. They have a large showroom to reel in whatever new leads come their way.

However, they are now branching out into a nearby city where they are almost completely unknown. The rep who hired me will be their only presence in this city, and the nearest showroom is 4 hours away. So, clearly, this will have to be a hard working brochure.

I've advised high-end (almost decadent) production across the board...best quality paper, halftone varnishes in matte, gloss, and satin, hand binding, etc. To express all it must, it has to itself be luxurious and well crafted. However, the product photos they have given me are to work with are just unacceptable. They are basically digital snapshots of past jobs...often with tools, masking tape, and workers still in view. I am good with Photoshop, but there is only so much one can do with a bad image.

Has anyone ever faced this situation before? Normally, I would design away from the photos and create the required mood with other design elements. But this is a product brochure for an unknown brand...without clear focus on their product line, there's little point to any of it. I am meeting him with late today or tomorrow, and I am tempted to tell him that without better photos, the lux production we have planned will market my design skills more than his cabinetry.

I would like to offer him some options. Does anyone know a clever way to mask crappy photos? I'm considering doing most of the brochure in black and white...cropping in close for drama. But when I do that, the product looses much of it's definition...it could be almost any wooden thing.

Sorry to ramble, but I am frustrated. I really like this client and it kills me that his boss sent him out here but won't back him up with a few thousand in product photos to help him get started.

All suggestions are welcome...Photoshop tips, interpersonal guidance, marketing angles...I'm open to everything at this point.


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