Fair question from a new client, or any client for that matter. I frequently talk to people who have never experienced being photographed, save for family snaps and weddings. Sometimes an individual will have been photographed for business but very often, when I am working with a whole team I find people have never been properly photographed.
I think we’re all alike in the sense that we work in our chosen fields and just assume everyone knows what we do and how we do it! Well, generally we don’t. Everyone looks on the skin of what someone does for a living but rarely the skeleton and organs underneath. On the whole we don’t need to look deeper, shouldn’t need to really, that’s why people do their thing!
Everything you pay for though has unseen processes, costs, time investment, which go to making things convenient for you the client, customer or consumer. For photographers, the biggest unseen aspect is the amount of time spent editing and preparing end product photos. That’s our ‘back end’, to borrow a website builders lingo. Our ‘front end’ is the photo and the experience you have as the subject.
Unless you want a lesson in Lightroom and Photoshop you don’t want to see me editing. It’s not much of a spectator sport!
So, to come back to the question I was asked. I do a variety of photography from shooting product and people in the studio to people and business promo photos on location. This post today is going to briefly show you what I might do if I came to your offices for headshots.
I try to keep things simple, especially if I am working on my own. Also, not everyone has oodles of spare office space. My basic, default set up is to use a pop up background, giving me white or black. If grey is preferred I might use a paper roll on a background rig as I prefer the paper texture to the pop up grey option.
To shoot with a white background the surface must be lit with a flash. Essentially the idea is to overexpose the background in relation to the subject. Shooting without the background flash will give a light grey shade.
Then there is the stool, for you.
Now, photographers will have all sorts of ways to light you for your photo, from the simple to the complex. My opinion is that a business profile photo should be clean with plenty of light showing you off in all your glory (I have spoken before about my separation of the Profile Photo and the Character/Branding Portrait and I will re-visit this again soon).
My preference at the moment is to use a single light with a largish softbox and wrap around reflectors. I don’t have to use this set up but it works well and gets results quickly. It also makes things easier working on my own.
It is amusing though to see people’s faces when they take their seat. I have subjected myself to the ‘hot seat’ with a cable release, creating my ‘selfies’ but the surprise is lost on me!
The above photo shows you the set up. I have spread out a bit, this client had lots of space.
So, that shows you what the set up entails but what of the photos themselves?
I try to make it fun, I will talk to myself and to you, I take a fair amount of photos so we can have options and 99% of the time people find the whole thing less stressful than they imagined.
When I remember I grab a mobile phone image like these below, with my subject in situ. With these I have posted an end product result, as chosen by each person.
So, the set up, the process, the end result. Hopefully that answers the question! A bit!