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.   

Cleveland Clinic Cover Photo Shoot

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.  

Steve Harvey's Act Like A Success Conference

Strayer University was a sponsor of the Act Like A Success Conference presented by Steve Harvey which was held in early March in Reston, VA.  Strayer invited me to photograph the event for them.  

Steve Harvey was the keynote speaker on the second day.  He was funny (as you would expect), inspirational, and motivational.  The cornerstone of his presentation is that he believes that everyone has a unique, God given gift that you need to discover and then leverage that gift to achieve happiness and success.

He is great to photograph because he so animated and he has his audience hanging on his every word.  I never realized that not that may years ago he was bankrupt and living out of his car.  He discovered his gift (comedy) and leveraged that into the success he enjoys today with his own talk show and as the host of Family Feud.  He as written a book and has started the Steve Harvey Radical Success Institute ... a busy man.

Professional Headshot Portrait Photography | VA Photographer

One of the largest set of requests I get is to do a head-shot or portrait photograph of an executive or business person.  With so much social media and web sites visibility, professionals want and need professional looking photographs that project who they are.  

I have learned over the years that it is not the lighting or camera that makes a good portrait.  The key is to get the person who you are photographing comfortable, talking, and just being themselves in front of the camera.

I also try to give my clients a lot of variety ... not just the typical head and shoulders portrait.  Peter was starting a new business and needed a set of photographs that he could use for his website and other marketing materials.  As you can see, he has a lot of great photos to choose from that fits the medium that he is using.

McLean VA Headshot Portrait Photographer
McLean VA Headshot Portrait Photographer

McLean VA Hilton Hotel Holiday Party | VA Photographer

ASCE held their annual holiday party at the McLean VA Hilton Hotel.  Over 200 employees and their guests enjoyed a great evening of good food, good drinks, good dancing, good friends and most of all good cheer.  Awards were given out for years of service, and a raffle was held with the grand prize being an Apple Ipad II!

McLean VA Event Photographer Hilton Hotel

McLean VA Event Photographer Hilton Hotel


McLean VA Event Photographer Hilton Hotel

McLean VA Event Photographer Hilton Hotel

McLean VA Event Photographer Hilton Hotel

McLean VA Event Photographer Hilton Hotel

McLean VA Event Photographer Hilton Hotel

McLean VA Event Photographer Hilton Hotel

Executive Portrait / Headshot | VA Photographer

The classic executive portrait / headshot never goes out of style.  Every client has a different personality and objective for their portrait.  I try to get to know each client and understand what they are looking for and trying to portray before every portrait session.  

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Posted by Virginia Executive Portrait / Headshot Photographer - Len Spoden

BMX | VA Photographer

I had the opportunity to photograph a BMX racer back in October down at the NOVA BMX track in Woodbridge, VA.  The magazine I was shooting for wanted portrait (vs. action) shots so we walked around the track and tried to get as many fun angles as we could and leverage the blue sky and midday sun.  

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Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Corporate Citizenship Awards Chairman's Luncheon | VA Photographer

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 2011 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards were presented at the group’s Annual Chairman’s Luncheon & Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards on June 29 at the Fairview Park Marriott. Nearly 600 awards finalists, honorees, elected officials and members of the business community were on hand for the event. Some of the people on hand included Congressman Gerry Connolly, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jack Dale, and George Mason President Alan G. Merten.

I had the pleasure to photograph the event.  You can see and purchase prints from the event by clicking on the Client Photos tab above.

Photograph of Jim Corcoran


Photograph of Dr. Jack Dale

Photograph of Congressman Gerry Connolly

Posted by Fairfax County Event and Meeting Photographer Len Spoden