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How professional photography adds value to research content

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Creative photography can spark our curiosity and help people to better connect with complex ideas.

Scientific discovery hinges on people who are curious and dedicated. People like Dr Paul Umina, a director of Cesar Australia and an Associate Professor from the University of Melbourne.

Coretext editorial director Brad Collis recently photographed Dr Umina, creating images to accompany an article by our writer Nicole Baxter for the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) GroundCover™ magazine. The article reported on a talk Dr Umina gave at a recent Crop Protection Forum about insecticide resistance.

When photographing people for client publications and platforms we want to create strong visual entry points to an article. This is important when writing about research.

Without a visual hook, science and research can be intimidating for readers unfamiliar with a complex topic. Thoughtfully crafted photos humanise a subject and make the content more accessible to a wider audience.

Having professional photos on hand

Brad took a range of photos to show the scientist in his workspace, creating images that help build a connection between the researchers and the challenges they are working to address.

This suite of photos taken on the day includes Dr Umina looking at blue-green aphids in a covered petri dish and checking experiments in his lab, a simple portrait shot, and macro photos of the aphids themselves.

While the images were commissioned for this one article, Brad was also thinking about photos of Dr Umina and his work that could be used in multiple ways.

These have all been entered into GRDC’s Photo Library, which Coretext manages. Within a few weeks of being taken, the photos were used not just in GroundCover™ but also to promote a podcast that Dr Umina had recorded.

Having great photos on hand is an important way for an organisation to increase the profile of its work and people. Media platforms will give your stories more space when there are good images to go with them, whether on social media, a web page or in print.

photographer taking photo of researcher in greenhouse
Brad Collis photographing Dr Paul Umina. Photo: Claire Crawford

Quality images, multiple uses

Many new ‘tools of convenience’ such as smartphones have given photography a prominent role in social media and digital platforms. But professional photography is more than a snap capturing an obvious moment.

Effective photography that stimulates an interest in the world beyond the candid requires empathy with people and their work and a genuine desire to use this fantastic medium to communicate. It requires the photographer to also do a bit of research beforehand!

While all Coretext writers arm themselves with smartphones, our equipment preference for photo library images remains digital SLR and mirrorless cameras. The higher image resolution of images produced allows for a greater range of future use, including as potential high-resolution cover shots for printed magazines or annual reports, posters and banners.

Working with a camera, lenses, and lighting builds into the process time to think, compose, and work with light. We aim to ‘stage’ and capture realistic work settings and environments, which are dynamic ingredients easily overlooked if merely snapping on auto-pilot.

Our photographers are adept at helping people to feel comfortable and relaxed, on the day of a shoot, to achieve a more engaging result.

Contact us if you'd like to discuss how we can help develop your collection of file photos or an image library to showcase your organisation. Phone +61 3 9670 1168, or email our General Manager Imogen Sumskas,

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