Corporate portraits are something you almost have to do as a professional photographer.
I recently shot a portrait for a client that wanted a very specific looking style. They’ve been running a series of ads for a long time that have a consistent look to them. Basically, one of their art directors must have come up with this brilliant, easy way to get consistently-styled photographs from different photographers.
The brilliance of this portrait is that it has style and is easy to reproduce…
Here’s how you can do it:
The client’s instructions to me were:
- Shoot a horizontally-oriented portrait with lots of empty space to one side (for logos and slogans).
- Keep the facial features sharp but with soft edges around the head.
They sent me some samples and I realized that I needed:
- A plain white or light gray wall for a background.
- Two strobes. One mounted to a soft box or shoot-through umbrella.
- A 50mm f/1.4 or a 85 f/1.4 lens (or something close) to blur the edges of the subject’s head.
I called the subject and asked him to reserve a conference room in their building with a plain white wall for about an hour. The set-up took about 20 minutes and the shooting took about 20.
Check out the diagram:
I turned off all the lights in the room because to soften the edges of the subject’s face I shot at f/1.4. This caused the rare problem of my strobes having too much power, even set at their lowest power. I solved that by putting a -1 neutral density filter on each strobe.
Start by setting up the background strobe pointed at the wall in the background. I held a flash meter to the wall to over expose it by about 1.5 stops. This insured a bright white background without blowing it out too bad.
Next I set up the small softbox and took a few test exposures while shooting tethered into Apple Aperture. I didn’t have an assistant with me, so I held my fist out and took a few test shots to get the exposure about right.
When the subject came into the room and I took a few test pictures I could tell that he really liked seeing the big pictures on the computer screen. I think this helped loosen him up and made the whole experience more enjoyable for both of us.