I was asked to take some portraits of people I work for to use on company literature.
Whilst initially flattered, I was quickly left panicked by the thought of stuffing it up and wasting everyone’s time. I work for a good company, but some of these people hold my career in their hands so things needed to be done properly.
The brief itself was quite simple…
Take head shots of 5 – 10 people which could be used for press releases, white papers and general marketing material. Everyone needed to look business casual, so relaxed and smiling but in a business shirt or suit (with or without a tie).
The challenges I could see
- To take consistent photographs over a period of days. So making sure the light was the same for each shot and the poses similar
- To work with quite limited gear – I have only a couple of flashguns and no backgrounds or anything else for portraits
- To get the images right more or less first time
Being such a lover of alliteration, I broke the challenge into three parts – Location, Lighting and Logistics
At this time of year, there is no consistency in the weather, so anything outside was out. I scouted out the offices after work one evening and actually looked at the decorations (for probably the first time ever), identifying a section of red wall in a meeting room I thought would work.
Since I was going to use flashguns I resorted to two of my favourite blogs on the web Strobist and Smoking Strobes (NSFW) for lighting ideas. In the end I settled on a simple, easily repeatable set up.
(Lighting diagram courtesy http://www.lightingdiagrams.com/)
This light set up meant I had some definition on the face from a little shadow. The background was still visible though muted.
Actually in one of the shots the person was wearing red so I was able to move the setup out a little further making the wall darker.
The key to this for me was repeatability, I prepped for these like I’d never done before. Recharging all my batteries the night before, test firing all the flash guns and then making sure I had 15 minutes for setup each time.
It made a difference.
I was able to tweak lights and be sure things worked before anyone arrived. A definite thing to try to do in future.
… So Anyway…
I’m quite happy with the final shots. I didn’t have to go mad on them in photoshop, there were no blown highlights or lost details and for the most part they worked well.