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.
Most commercial still photographers will receive a client request at least once during their careers to shoot on a motion set. I can remember even as an assistant when I first moved to Detroit, that this type of assignment, although somewhat rare could be gratifying and profitable in its own way. Like everything else in the commercial world of photography, there are positives and negatives to this sort of gig. On the plus side, there is very little photo gear to haul since you’re working on someone else’s set. On the negative, you’re working on someone else’s set! That means of course, you’re second fiddle for the day. But you know that going into the project so its really just a matter of creating the best possible photography you can, under situations that you have very little control over.
I was hired by an agency to shoot on a Chrysler motion set for Dodge Truck. Much of the work was keeping a low profile and shooting when I could without disrupting the film/sound crew. But on occasion, usually between “takes”, I could create my photographs such as the corporate portrait shown above. I had to work quickly, directing my subject, knowing that I had only a short window to work within. Would I shoot on a motion set again with the limitations I know it brings? Absolutely! Working under pressure and lacking total control is often the norm when photographing on location. Its what brings us back time and time again.
I had the good fortune to shoot portraits for an automotive supplier, Inergy, several weeks ago. The assignment was to photograph individual head-shots of approximately one-hundred-and-fifty people against a seamless backdrop. In addition, I was to photograph key members of their enterprise in environmental backgrounds.
I really enjoy photographing executives within an environment. It adds challenges to the shoot, both logistically and creatively. It requires fast work and quick thinking to produce a quality image that clients will appreciate. The backdrop here is cut-away vehicle fuel tanks!