When I meet a person for the first time to take their photograph I try to get to know them a little bit. You can learn a lot about people just from how they communicate with you and their body language. I then try to put them into an environment and mood that best aligns with their personality. Here is a small sampling of headshots / portraits that I have taken over the last few months.
Shooting portraits is always fun. As a photographer you show up having never met the person, possibly never seen the location before, and within a short time period you must pick the best location, setup the lighting, and develop a rapport with the person you are photographing.
I wish I had a dime for every client who tells me that they don't like having their picture taken. Fortunately, most of my clients are very interesting and accomplished individuals and it is very easy to strike up a conversation, and before they know it the photo shoot is over and we have some great portraits that capture their personality ... and we had a fun chat while doing it.
The best part of portrait photography is that you get to meet so many different people from all different walks of life. Over the last three months since my last blog post I have had the opportunity to meet executives from a large biotech/pharmaceutical corporation, financial planners/advisors from some of the most prestigious investment firms, the president of a local bank, the SVP of a large application software company, consultants ... and many more.
I have discussions ranging from curing cancer to what are the best places in ski out west. And in terms of locations we have been in conference rooms, lobbies, alley ways, hallways, staircases, decks, you name it ... whatever it takes to get the best photograph.
The environmental photographs below were taken in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern VA over the last few months.
All of the environmental portraits below were shot in different buildings / settings. Some were photographed outside, some were in lobbies, and one was photographed on a stairway. The stairway shot was fun because I photographed him walking down the staircase to get a more natural smile and body posture.
I always enjoy doing portraits / headshots. Each session is unique because every person who I photograph is unique. Getting their personality to show in their photograph is what makes portrait photography so interesting. Sometimes it is easy, other times it takes a bit more effort to get my client to relax and be themselves.
I had the opportunity to photograph another cover photo shoot for Scholar Magazine, Strayer University's alumni magazine. This assignment took us to Cleveland, OH in the dead of winter. Cleveland was hit by a big snow storm the day we were traveling. Most flights into Cleveland's airport were being diverted away, but for some reason our plane was allowed to land! The cab ride to the hotel was very interesting, the cab driver kept apologizing for not going faster on the snow covered roads because the other drivers were going too slow. I kept assuring her I was in no hurry.
The next morning it was about 5 degrees outside, so we were not likely to take any photographs outside. Fortunately, the Cleveland Clinic's campus is quite large and provided a lot of interesting walkways, stairways, and lobbies to do some great editorial photographs.
I had the pleasure of photographing Rosie Allen-Herring a few months ago for the cover of Strayer University's Scholar Magazine. After spending 21 years at Fannie Mae here in Washington, DC, Rosie became the CEO at of the United Way of the National Capital Area.
We arrived at her office a couple hours before the shoot and scouted areas at the UWNCA offices in downtown Washington, DC. One of my favorite photographs is the one with Rosie looking out a window in one of the conference rooms across the street from the Strayer University Washington Campus. And as it seems to work out that sometimes the simplest shots (this was shot with entirely natural light) are the best.
Professionally photographed Executive portraits (aka head shots) have never been in more demand. Quite often the first touch point that a new customer has with your company is via social media, be it your own website, Facebook, Twitter, etc..
That first impression can make the difference between them staying on your website or Facebook page for more information or bouncing to your competitor's website. Sharp, engaging portraits can make a big difference in your bottom line.
Here are just a few portraits I have done over the last few weeks. About a third of my work is done in portrait studio setting, and the rest are done at the client's location where we do more of an environmental portrait.
A local company that I work with was looking to update their executive portraits for their annual report. They needed both individual and group portraits of the three top executives. The executives were getting ready to release the year end numbers and prepare for their investor conference call, so we would only have them for a few minutes.
I went to their location the prior week and we took test shots and we decided on the locations and lighting for both the group and individual photographs. The morning of the shoot I arrived two hours early to setup three different locations with the proper lighting. We started the shoot at 10AM and we were done with all the photographs (both group and individual) by 10:20AM. The executives were happy and we got the photographs we needed.
We traveled to Grand Rapids, MI to do the cover story / photo shoot for Strayer University's Winter 2014 edition of their Scholar Magazine. We arrived the night before the shoot and to my surprise Grand Rapids was a very attractive city. The cover story was about Keith Brophy, CEO of Ideomed, a mobile application development company that allows patients to input daily health data that is shared with a case manager to help better manage chronic health conditions.
Keith's company is headquartered in a restored building that was built in 1904 by the Wolverine Brass Company. The building provided a great backdrop for the photography. We arrived at the building around 8:00AM to give ourselves a couple of hours to scout the building for the best settings for the photographs. All of the photographs required some level of artificial / strobe lighting. We try to blend our lighting with the environment to make it look as natural as possible.
To minimize the amount of time the executive has to spend with us, we get the lights ready and have the shot all framed out and tested. My assistant stands in to make sure the lighting is just right. My Nikon D4 is tethered wireless into an Apple Ipad that is used by the Strayer Managing Editor to review and approve the shot. We then ask the executive, in this case it was Keith, to pop into position and we do about 10 minutes of shooting and the we send him back to his office to resume his day and then setup for the next shot. We did a total of six different photographs / settings. It took us about four hours from start to finish and Keith only had to spend about sixty minutes of his day for the entire shoot.
We were packed up and ready to go for a late lunch by 2:00PM. We went to a very nice wine bar down the street to relax and celebrate with the client. The wine was excellent and the hamburger was out of this world. Great way to end the day. We flew back to Washington, DC that night.
You can read the entire article by clicking here: Scholar Magazine Winter 2014.