Portraits ... Just Great Conversation

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.  

Environmental Portrait Discussions

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.   

Corporate Portraits / Headshots Photography

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.  

Professional Portrait / Headshot Photography

There is something simple and elegant about a portrait with a very straigthforward background.  With Linkedin profile pictures that are the size of a postage stamp it is nice to have a professional photograph that looks professional and shows your true personality without any cluttered background.  I take these types of photographs both in my studio and on location at my client's location.   

Washington, DC / Georgetown Executive Environmental Portraits

I was contacted by a new company that works with developing countries' leaders to strengthen the cultures of their societies so that their political units adapt better to threats.  They needed a photographer to take environmental photographs in an urban setting.  Living in Washington, DC provides a lot of options.  The one executive takes a lot of walks around Washington, DC and was struck by one neighborhood that he felt was the perfect backdrop.  We met at around sunrise and walked the neighborhood.  Every block presented us with new and interesting backdrops and lighting.  We wanted the images to be very earthy with little or no retouching or fancy lighting.  We wanted the executive to be approachable, but still somewhat serious.  So getting just the right expression was key to a successful shoot.

The second executive was from Colorado and we scheduled his shoot one morning the Georgetown area of Washington, DC.  We stayed primarily around the C & O Canal area which provides the urban brick look we were looking for.  Here again, simple lighting, approachable expression, and somewhat raw.  

PHOTOGRAPHER INFORMATION: Both photo shoots were shot primarily with my Nikon D4 with my Nikon 24-70MM F2.8 lens.  Most images were shot with natural light and/or a little fill flash.  I used my Fuji X100S camera a few times just to see if it gave me a different look from my Nikon at about the 35mm focal length. 

I used my Olympus OMD E-5 with the my Olympus 75MM F1.8 lens for a few of my tighther head shots like the first shot below.  The Olympus 75MM lens is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used.  The depth of field and bokeh on this lens makes your subject seem almost three dimensional.  

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Washington DC Georgetown Environmental Portrait Photographer
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Sky High Rooftop Photography in New York City

The Spring Edition of Strayer University's Scholar Magazine featured Allyson King, Vice President of Education at Clarins, the French skin care and cosmetics company.  We photographed Allyson at the Clarins USA HQ in New York City at their Park Avenue office.  Their office's are on the top floor of their building so we were able to go out on the rooftop and  take some great photos of Allyson with the Chrysler Building in the background.  

It was a very sunny day and the sun was right in Allyson's face.  So there was no way to get a good photo of her without her squinting.  So I had my assistant hold a large card between the sun and Allyson and we used an Paul C. Buff Einstein strobe to light her face.  

The cover photograph was taken with Allyson in front of a window through with me standing on a high stool shooting down at her with a New York building serving as our background.  We were able to open the window with no screens or glass to worry about.   You can see the entire article by clicking here.

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Executive Portrait / Headshot | VA Photographer

I received a call from Steve Lasko from Lasko Design + Consulting in Reston, VA.  Being a designer, Steve had very definite ideas of how he wanted his executive portraits to look.  He wanted a number of portraits so that the images could be used, not only for his website, but for other articles and speaking engagements.  So I tethered my camera to my laptop so Steve could see in real time what it is we were capturing. We had fun experimenting with a lot of different compositions and lighting.  Within 30 minutes or so we had what we wanted!

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Posted by Reston, VA Portrait Photographer - Len Spoden

Executive Portrait / Headshot | Washington DC Photographer

I have a number of clients that are in need of a photographer to take a professional photograph of them for their business.  Most of them are looking for the conventional head and shoulders executive head-shot / portrait.  If they have a few extra minutes I like to take a variety of photographs of them to give them options for future use. 

Clients appreciate having a number of different photographs of themselves so they don't keep using the same photo for different occasions.  Frequently they are asked to provide photographs for speaking engagements, articles they may have written, etc. and it is nice to have some professionally taken photographs at their  disposal.

Last week I photographed an executive who needed just a single head-shot. We were having a good time we took about 15 minutes and we took a few more photographs that he can now use for future needs. 

Executive Portrait Head-shot Photographer Reston VA

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