The Business of Portraits

The corporate portrait. Everyone in business is likely to need one at some point, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that it will be accompanied by the statement, “But I hate having my picture taken. Can you Photoshop out my wrinkles/spots/roots?”

The quick answer is yes, but there’s much more to a quality business portrait than a bit of retouching magic.

The first and arguably most important step is to build a rapport with your nervous subject. It’s amazing to see someone visibly relax, a look of relief on their face, as they realise you’re not an evil wizard with a soul-capturing machine, hell-bent on exposing their every flaw to the world.

Often with this type of assignment, I’ll be photographing a large number of people in a short space of time. I can often have only three minutes with each person from the time they walk into the room, but usually we’re only looking for that one killer shot – the image that shows the person looking relaxed, confident and professional, or whatever the brief requires.

Even with only a few minutes to work with, it’s crucial to first connect with each person and get them involved in the process of creating the image. Giving them clear instructions and an insight into how the finished images will be used is just as important as the quality of the photography brief I’m working to.

And although a corporate portrait isn’t always the most creative of assignments, there’s no excuse for not pushing the limits when the opportunity presents itself…

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