Corporate Portraiture

Hi gang,

Today I’m writing up a post about corporate portraiture, and the importance of being ready with gear, quick thinking and the use of available light.

About a week before shooting I got a call asking me if I was available for some corporate portraiture. The client was a law firm who needed portraits of the associates & partners for their website, folders and whatnot. The only catch, they needed it fast. The portraits were to be taken on a friday, and the photos delivered Wednesday. Problem? Normally not, except I had a flight for Spain at 5 in the morning the next day. Aside that, I accepted and we quickly went over the details.

Always make sure to have a general idea about what you’ll be shooting. Here we had clearly assesed that I had to take portraits of an associate in the court, some enviromental portraits in and outside the courthouse, some portraits in the building of the lawfirm etc…

Going over the shotlist, I quickly realised i’d be needing available light, speedlights, studiolights, the whole shabang. Don’t forget to make a gearlist 2 days beforehand. 2 days, because you will almost certainly forget one or two things the first time you write it up, but you’ll probably remember it the next day when you look at your list.

Brussels' Courthouse

Brussel's Courthouse, Nikon dSlr, Sigma 10-20mm f/4.5- Sandisk Digital Film; Available light

We started the day of with some photos to describe the environment. They wanted them to decorate their website with. Soon followed the first portrait. This one was purely shot with available light. I used my favorite lens, the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 for all the portraits shot that day, and I must say, there’s a reason it’s most people’s go-to portraiture lens. It performs amazingly on all aspects. It’s sharp starting at f/2.0 and it’s sweet spot is already at f/4. This still leaves you with plenty room for a gorgeous bokeh.

Portrait, Nikon dSLR, Nikon 85mm f/1.8, Sandisk Digital Film, Available light

After that we moved onto the law firm itself for some portraits. Again, these were shot with the 85 although I introduced light from a 400w/S Lastolite flash kit and a 56cm beauty dish. The light form that the dish gives out is perfect for enviromental portraits.

Shot with available light, and a small strobe left high to give a glow on the hair

Gridded beauty dish left high of subject

Studio head with beauty dish with white cover left high. Reflector to fill-in shadows on right.

Fun fact. On the next photo, depicting the main hall of the courthouse, you’ll notice all these paper birds hanging from the roof. These were actually all made by prisoners, and are a temporary exhibit in the courthouse.

Inside of the Brussel's courthouse. Notice the paper birds.

So, I ended up shooting some 600 pictures that day. We wrapped up around 18h00 I think and then made it home by 19h00. I started packing immediately since I was leaving for Spain a couple of hours later. Those who follow me on twitter noticed I posted a photo at around 5 AM of me editing a recent shoot in the waiting lobby of the airport. Well this was this shoot. I did the selection process then and on the plane, and ended up with some 100 images to retouch, and prep for delivery.

I had them all processed by wednesday morning, and uploaded everything by FTP onto the client’s private page on my website, and they had them that same night. It’s extremely important to develop a good workflow to provide a lean, clean,and easy service for your clients. It’ll be one of the reasons they return to you!

So, the most important things to remember when accepting an assignment : make a shot list you need, figure out what equipment your need for that shoot. Check and double-check that equipment, and have fun whilst being professional.

Cheers!

M.

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