Kevin McLauchlan wrote:
" ...a photograph is a complete representation of the real thing. People
react to a photograph differently. If you don't yet have a production
version when you create your docs, you pretty much have to go with a
Not necessarily. I use (shoot) photographs all the time of product
development units. Some of the images are replaced just prior to publishing.
Some are shot of components that I know will not be changing as the systems
move from development to production. All are available to the other members
of the writing staff.
"For a photo to look professional, especially among other photos in the
same document, it must be of the same style - thus, either you must have
all the photos done by a competent photographer with the expensive
lighting equipment, the nice, seamless backgrounds, etc., or else you
must take your own photos and then Photoshop/GIMP them to match
lighting, remove shadows and variations of background, and so on."
I shot product shots for a company that has a virtual monopoly on the
high-end (read Emmy Award/Academy Award level productions) wireless
microphone manufacturer. I used a Canon Pro digital camera and a "studio"
that consisted of a table, an innovative home-made light baffle system,
three run of the mill tungsten shop lights and a variety of backgrounds, and
I didn't spend a lot of time cleaning things up in Photoshop. My shots were
used in the company product catalog through convention banners. The "lab"
cost about $50 to put together. If you know what you are doing, have a
creative mind, a little knowledge of photo composition, and a few hours
practice with a digital camera, you don't need expensive lighting equipment,
seamless backgrounds, etc. BTW...even the best photographers can't shoot
every shot without shadows, especially if it's the innards of a complex
"Photos can easily become dated, when somebody decides to change the
silk-screening on the product, or change a component (even substituting
a different brand of connector, indicator, card-reader, etc. With all
the extraneous detail fully present in a photo, the person looking at it
- against the current version of the actual hardware - might wonder if
they received the right equipment, or if they're reading the instructions
for the right model. At our place, managers won't sign for
the purchase-from-inventory of a new $20,000 appliance just because the
cosmetic bits have changed."
Each place is different. I never had a problem with dated photographs or
drawings, because I reshoot whenever I can and put the new images in a
library for all writers to use. If I can't reshoot, I use Photoshop to
update if I can't. (Updating often means erasing extraneous stuff.)
"It's easier to tweak a vector drawing than to acquire a clean-looking
sample of the current hardware and schedule a photo shoot."
Our company moves so fast in development that the SolidWorks drawings are
always months behind, so tweaking a vector drawing may be nice, but it ain't
gunna happen 'cause there ain't no time.
My staff and I also don't schedule photo shoots, we either have the
engineers shoot the images we need/want, or we shoot them ourselves. (I
always shoot my own images and then put them in a library for others writers
to use.) As I said, each place is different. Sometimes, when we get really
desperate, we borrow images from Marketing.
Technical Writing, Help, Marketing Collateral, Web Design and Award Winning
(Online portfolio and resume)
(Fine art photographic prints for home or
office and beautiful note cards for all occasions.)
" ... I walked to work, quit my job, and kept walking. Better to be a
pilgrim without a destination, I figured, than to cross the wrong threshold
every day." (Anon)