Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Corporate Headshots and Executive Group Photos for Q-Spex

I get to make a lot of headshot portraits for corporate clients. Instead of the client coming to my studio, it is usually more convenient for me to show up at their office with a portable setup. Scheduling is always an issue with busy executives so we time the photoshoot on a day when everyone is in town.

To make the photos consistently sized, I visualize the final proportions of the portrait. Sometimes I crop the photo very tight if it going to be used for low-res applications such as websites. That way, the face is larger and easier to see.

It is important to be fast and efficient when making these portraits. The last thing you want to do is waste the time of someone who has meetings planned all day. To do this, I shoot with my camera tethered to a laptop computer. As soon as I take the photo, it is transferred to the computer where we can review it. After several shots, we pull all the photos up on screen, and we pick the best one... usually by process of elimination. It is rare when we do not all agree on the final choice.

When I first visited the QSpex building, I was drawn to the front entrance that had a sitting area next to a huge window. Window lit portraits are things that photographers dream of... unless the sun is pouring in like bright white laser beams as it was that day.

The day we showed up was overcast which was very lucky indeed. I still could have made it work with  bright sun, but maybe not without a more complex multi-light setup. There was no time for that since one of the executives had a lunch meeting and had to leave. Nothing like performance under pressure, but that is always part of the game. I set up a huge and high umbrella and fired off several frames concentrating on the placement of the executives. The basic photo is below marked with things that I did not like.

I am not a photo journalist so I am not bound by truthful reality. If I think I can make the final image better by retouching, compositing, tweaking or outright removal of distractions... I will do it. Of course, I do share this fact with the client and let them see both versions... just in case they like fire alarms and closet doors. The cleaned up image is below.

I knew we would be making a web site for QSpex also so I wanted to make sure I could use the group photo in a web banner which has more of a 16:9 aspect ratio. See it still works this way.

And finally, the image must work as a black and white photo. I often turn images to grayscale to make sure that they have enough detail and contrast to work without color.