Along with other types of commercial photography that I’m hired for, I photograph a tremendous amount of executive portraits, including this recent one of a company’s CEO. This particular project had me traveling to their headquarters to photograph not only the CEO but all of their upper management staff. This seems to be a common practice in the metro Detroit corporate arena, as I receive headshot bookings frequently, both for photo sessions in our Troy studio as well as the convenience of having me set up shop at corporate facilities. As in this case as well as many others, clients will add retouching to the scope of work.
I photograph portraits of executives frequently, on location at client’s facilities as well as in studio at Blue Sky Photography in Troy. I enjoy photographing both location and studio portraits, although shooting against environmental backgrounds can often be more challenging. There is a fair amount more involved than just a standard portrait lighting set-up against a paper backdrop.
In the above photograph, the art director preferred a limited depth of field which required shooting through neutral density filters of three stops, even with the flash heads output to their lowest setting. To complicate matters even worse, the conference room had two walls of glass that I had to contend with their inherent reflections. But that’s why I enjoy shooting within environmental backgrounds; bigger rewards come from bigger challenges.
I’ve been photographing executive portraits for quite a number of years at my Troy, Michigan studio, as well as on-site at client’s facilities. The deciding factor as to where to shoot usually is determined by how many subjects need headshots for their business. Typically if there is only one or two from a company, its more economical to come to my studio. Situations where a business needs a half-dozen or more of their executives photographed, it is much more advantageous for me to come to them.
This woman executive I photographed (shown above) came to my studio on short notice. She works for a New York IT consulting firm, but is based out of the Detroit area. As is often the case, she was to have a press release published regarding her work and needed a professional photographer to capture her portrait. Although I’m a bit biased towards having a corporate portrait done, I believe it is money well spent.
I was recently commissioned to photograph an executive portrait for an automotive technology company from the United Kingdom. The Advanced Propulsion Centre helps to fund green technology companies as they embark on getting their vehicles to market.
For me, it was a chance to embrace a somewhat different directive than a typical executive headshot. The client was looking for a black and white portrait, something that I lacked in my portraiture repertoire; plus a very tight crop of the subject. Any assignment that breaks the mold is a photographer’s delight; this was one of them.
Photographing executives on location can often be challenging, primarily due to limits on time. Add to the mix finding a suitable setting for your client’s portrait, one can feel a bit of stress creeping into the photographic process. Fortunately most clients realize that giving their commercial photographer the time he or she needs, will reflect well on their final image.
My recent assignment with Morgan Stanley was a testament to cooperation between client and photographer, resulting in an executive portrait we could both be proud of.
When I’m not photographing products for commercial clients, I can usually be found shooting executive portraits. Asked recently by an executive during his portrait session how many portraits I’ve done in my career, I quickly responded “hundreds”. I thought about that for a moment, and then changed my answer to “thousands”! Not that I really have the time or the inclination to research the exact number, I do find it to be a fascinating amount of people that I’ve worked with over the years.
A company out of Dallas hired me last week to photograph these three attorneys for a feature article. Its not often that I shoot against a true black background but it was a good exercise in lighting and separation, and it fulfilled the client’s requirement design. This legal trio was a treat to work with; consummate professionals! Here is a link to my Blue Sky Photography “Lifestyle” site: https://www.blueskyphotographyinc.com/people/
When an executive hires me to photograph them for a business portrait, they are relying on my expertise to show them in their best light. Their images may be used for company brochures, a bio in an upcoming press release, or for their own website in hopes of attracting new business. I’ve discovered that its the subtleties in expression that can make a corporate business owner seem approachable or as in this case, confident.
During an executive portrait session, I’ll often share with my subject captures that I’ve made so they too can view those subtle changes, and more often than not, they are enlightened to the process and are willing to refocus on a look that will benefit them.
There’s an old adage that says you only get one chance at making a good first impression. There are variations to that theme, but as a professional portrait photographer, I am whole-heartedly in agreement with it. With the proliferation of inexpensive digital cameras along with decent quality camera phones, there seems to be a tendency to use what I’ll call “grab shots” in lieu of professionally photographed portraits. It’s probably fine for one’s FaceBook headshot, but I find more and more business executives hiring Blue Sky Photography to photograph them for their LinkedIn page, company bios, business cards, and websites.
These businessmen and women have a desire to stand out from their competition and are willing to invest a bit of their time and money to achieve those results. They realize hiring a commercial portrait photographer may give them an edge, and more importantly, they know that in the competitive business world we live in, it is essential to make a great first and lasting impression.