Creating a Business Story with Professional Imagery: An Interview with Mike Nakamura

Mike Nakamura  (Image:

NORTHWEST MOUNTAIN MSDC (DECEMBER 30, 2017) Business photography, now more than ever, acts as the face of your company and represents your organization’s level of professionalism and credibility.  The digital age has transformed the way your business is viewed and, therefore, what it communicates.  Potential clients are able to get their first impression even before walking into your place of business or before meeting your corporate representative.

Mike Nakamura, a professional photographer based in Seattle, Washington, specializes in “Business stories,” which he refers to as lifestyle photography in a business context.  “There are many types of photographs,” he said, “that serve different purposes.  There are portraits, still life, architecture, artistic, sports, commemorative and many more.  Arguably, there aren’t many images out there that are truly effective for business or professional use.  There are even fewer photographs truly depicting minority businesses in a professional environment.  Through professional photography, businesses are able to promote their culture, share their organization’s unique position in the community, or share a compelling business story.”

Nakamura’s business insight comes from speaking with clients, asking the right questions, nurturing long-term relationships, and being an entrepreneur himself.  Before taking on a career in professional photography over ten years ago, he worked in businesses engaged in printing and store displays.  As the industry went through major changes, not only did Nakamura adapt to new technology, he remained at the forefront of change and innovation.  When asked about the current and future state of the industry, he said, “Photography is advancing at an increasing pace.  State-of-the-art equipment is becoming more advanced and easier to use.  High definition imagery has achieved perfection.  What remains to be improved is the method and speed of delivering the finished product.  In the future, we will see faster delivery of images with less processing time and quicker turnaround time – ideal for immediate posting of high quality images on social media or blogs.”

President Barack Obama  (Image:

President Barack Obama  (Image:

Whether these images are viewed on a device, ad, or presentation, it makes a difference when your visual story is captured and depicted by a trained eye within the “best” context.  To optimize effectiveness, professional imagery must deliver your business story in the quickest and most effective way possible.

When Nakamura was asked, how important is imagery for a business?  He answered, “Still images define an important event or moment in time and are remembered throughout history.  For an individual and/or brand, iconic images – such as Steve Jobs’ headshot for Apple, President Obama’s campaign photo uniting the country, or Reverend Martin Luther King at the podium sharing his Dream – have tremendous impact felt by entire generations.  These images etched into our memory are based on excellence in photography within the best context.”

Nakamura has taken iconic images of many celebrities and personalities, including the President and First Lady Michelle Obama.  He has covered milestone events for Fortune 500 corporations such as Delta Airlines, Microsoft Corporation and University of Washington College of Medicine, to name a few.  Recently, newly NMSDC-certified Mike Nakamura Photography was hired by the Northwest Mountain MSDC as the official photographer for the 2016 Annual Conference.In closing, Nakamura was asked what type of imagery businesses need to improve their probability of success.  He replied, “Every business is different but generally, a company needs photographs of: the leadership team; the executive team; customer facing personnel; and any person the company can leverage as their representative.  Depending on relevance to the business, images of facilities can be included.  Additionally, the company’s business story must feature images of engagement with their clients to inspire prospective clients.”

To learn more about Mike Nakamura, visit his website at