I photograph numerous executive portraits each year, both in studio and on location. Each subject has their own personal reason for having their portrait captured. Some hire me to replace an older portrait that no longer represents them properly due to age or stature. Others need a professional portrait because of new employment or job promotion. And many feel a need to have a quality portrait for their social network such as LinkedIn, to stay competitive in the business world. The environmental portrait displayed above is of the famed Detroit chef and restaurant owner, Joe Muir. Joe needed a professional portrait for a completely different reason; he was producing a new cookbook. Bon Appetit !
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 receive quite a few portrait requests from executives to photograph them for their Linkedin social media page. I was originally surprised by these assignments as most people tend to use an informal portrait of themselves, usually taken by a spouse or friend. But as I started booking more and more headshot sessions, I realized that these corporate execs needed professional looking portraits in order to compete on a world wide stage.
The headshot portrait shown above was a truly enjoyable collaboration. My subject had just been hired to be the Creative Director for a California high tech automotive start-up company. He came to my Troy, Michigan studio with several ideas of what he was looking for in a portrait, and we experimented with an assortment of backgrounds and different lighting setups. He was thrilled with the results, which of course validates my photographic efforts.
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.
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.