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/
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 was recently hired to photograph a testimonial group portrait for a BrassCraft ad. This project was particularly enjoyable for me as I had the opportunity to work with an art director from BrassCraft, as well as the senior art director from the advertising agency that hired me. Having art directors on site seems to be a bit less common these days, but I do enjoy the collaborative effort when the opportunity arises.
Individual portraits were also done, as well as a secondary ad featuring just one of the men, also in testimonial fashion. BrassCraft has a long term history with Blue Sky, and as always, we appreciate their repeat business.