Indermaur Media, inc.
Visual Narrative
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Indermaur Media - Visual Narrative Blog by Scott Indermaur

Informational blog about techniques, ideas,industry trends, clients and projects of Indermaur Media. Written by Scott Indermaur, professional corporate photographer.

Building your Multi-Media Team - Behind the Scenes

The intended audience of a portrait or multimedia project only sees the final product, not the stages of its development. In some cases, it takes one photographer to create that image or video, while other assignments it may comprise of a team of individuals. Any projects may be joyful or stressful. In either case, I look for a crew that can go with the flow during the fun and stressful times.

I like to build a team that collaborates and enjoys the day working as a team. When there is a bump in the road, our crew can step up and smooth it out, then move on to the next task. Building a team that fits the tone you prefer on set is necessary for a creative and fruitful project.

When it is time to get serious with a corporate photography or videography production, we do. In between those moments, we enjoy our comradely and synergy. This energy allows for more creativity to blossom and fosters a friendly environment. I Thrive when collaborating, I grew up sailing a forty foot wooden sailboat with my dad, and he taught me collaboration was necessary for survival on the water. I have extrapolated that mindset to my art.

With a sailing crew of five, we all had assigned tasks that required us to work as a team although in a moments' notice, if a teammate needed some extra help, someone would jump in to help them. We wanted to win the race as a team. As with racing, when on an assignment, our crew needs to make a victorious finish happen, so we work together to make the client look like a rock star by creating a superior final product it is a real team success when we can do that while we all get to enjoy the project the experience.

Similar to hiring a new employee, keep in mind your photographer's personalities and their experience and who is on their team. Align this with your vision of how you would like your still photography and video assignment's experience to be. 

Do you want a creative (photographer or videographer) with a who has as their stronger style collaboration, vision, excellent with collaborating or someone who completes the tasks exactly as you request? Do you need a photographer that is decisive or prone to remain quiet with their process, vision and or preferences? Be confident your creative team handles the stress related to your assignment demands?

Communicate for a Successful Visual Creative Project

I have worked with visual narrative productions projects with excellent clients, from simple to large scale productions. Even during the conceptualization phase, I am also looking at building a relationship so we can work on future projects together with a deeper level of efficiency, trust, and collaboration together. It is highly advantageous to evaluate the work style of a client so you can maximize efficiency but to the artistic end, to create deeper and more meaningful collaborative chemistry

Here are a few tips for a corporate or commercial visual project that can be helpful in creating a long-term relationship with your photographer. 

The most important action is to be active with your communication. The more clarity you have with the photographer and creative team, the More accurately you can bring a team to full, an infestation of the initial concept. Share your budget, layouts, your original thoughts, technical concerns, short and long term use of the visual assets. All ideas and thoughts should be encouraged. Even what might seem like a bad idea, because it may begin an unexpected creative thread that leads to originality.

  1. Budget - Be open to talking about your budget with your photographer. Much time can be wasted with a back and forth on estimating when there is no budget discussion. If the first choice of a photographer is more expensive than your budget, have that discussion with them and don't just walk away. For me, I am always striving to make the visual assignment a success, and sometimes a simple budget conversation allows for a more realistic fruition of the project with your first choice for a photographer.
  2. Have a vision - I have worked with clients (art directors) with a strong vision and others who just want myself to figure it out. I enjoy working both ways though I mostly enjoy collaborating with the client, art director, and even the subject and assistant. We have to communicate, work as a team, respect each other's ideas, be flexible to change course and at the end of the day, the client needs to be happy. If you (as the art director) does not have a vision, just an idea. Then communicate with the photographer to make sure their vision is in alignment with your idea.
  3. Do not forget details - communicate all your needs during the estimating phase. If your portraits need to have a vertical crop, but you feel there are times it will need to be a square, then communicate that detail. If you want to plan a small thing to be photographed on the side, then discuss that beforehand. I realize some things just happen at the last minute, but the less overlooked details, the better as that helps with the assignment's flow, making sure you covered the potential future use and creating a deeper trust with you and the photographer. 
  4. Be flexible and listen - The photographer is a business professional, and may have some good ideas that match up with your vision. You know what is best for your brand and be open to discussing and possibly implementing new ideas that match your vision and brand.
  5. Compare apples to apples when bidding a project among a few commercial photographers. Sometimes the client calls one photographer, gives them the specs, then during a conversation with a second photographer new ideas arise and the projects are being estimated on different specs. If specs change, drop a quick email to the other photographer(s) to make sure you are getting an estimate based on the same job specifics.

Many enjoyable collaborations and long term clients come from communicating their needs, vision, and budget up front. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.

8 Steps for a Successful Headshot - Portrait

Portraits and headshots have many uses in social media for your LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many other purposes. I am often hired by corporations to photograph headshots for an individual and or an entire department with uses for their website, associate's bios, sales brochures, public relations, social media, and many other applications.

When a corporation is in need of portraits/headshots, we usually set up a studio at their office--that way the subjects only need to take about 10 minutes of their day for the session. Few people have the time it takes to drive to a photographer's studio during busy work schedules. A large space gives us more options with lighting, though it is not necessary. We have photographed headshots in offices, conference rooms, a corporate lobby and even hallways. I often am hired to photograph assignments in New England and throughout the country, and headshots are part of the schedule.

Headshots can be a simple portrait taken in a few minutes. There have even been times when we have to photograph 20 subjects in about an hour. Other times we may spend 20+ minutes with a subject. I do find that non-professional models will fade energetically after about 10-20 minutes.

To give you a sense of the possible images and their uses and versatility: all the sample images below may be cropped tighter, or the entire image may be shown to fit a layout better.

Remember - they may be cropped

Environmental Headshots

Another modern style of a headshot is the environmental portrait. Environmental Portraits are very popular among corporate and commercial clients. These pictures use available and meaningful surroundings as a background. The background is often blurred to make the human subject a unique graphical element as well as providing more of a sense of place.

 

8 Steps to a Better Corporate Headshot:

  1. A working studio created from a conference room, office, cafeteria, among others works well. If a room has furniture, it is best to move it to the side. I have photographed headshots in hallways (must be wider for lighting equipment), lobby, offices, conference rooms, unfinished rooms and even outside.
  2. Less production may work best. The above doctor photograph used only the ambient lighting. While the image may not be as high quality as a studio style portrait, it allows for a more straightforward journalistic style. It may fit your purpose better than a more "polished" portrait. The other advantage is it allows photographing in a high traffic area in which setting up a mini studio is not ideal. This environmental style headshot also makes it possible to capture the "doctor office" feel of the orange door.
  3. 15-minutes is an appropriate time to spend with a subject. If you have a large group and just need some basic headshots in a short period, allocate 5-minutes. I have done less than 5-minutes and more than 15.
  4. If a subject wears glasses regularly, leave them on.
  5. A makeup stylist is very helpful if there is enough money in the budget and time in the schedule. It allows the subject to have a little down time between meetings and being photographed to shift their mindset and relax. It also provides a higher level of makeup application since an expert is now doing the touch-up with photography/video in mind. For females, I like to leave about 20 minutes for makeup.
  6. Wardrobe should be kept simple, with solid colors usually work best. I typically say to stay away from solid white or solid black. Though I find there are times that subjects look great in those colors. It is helpful for men to bring a few ties for the creative team to pick and females to bring a few outfits if there's time for a wardrobe change. Remember, if you have a group of people for individual headshots, you may not want four of your five men to show up with similar ties or females with same color outfits. While unlikely, I have seen it happen. A discussion beforehand on what looks good with the background color can be constructive. Keep in mind what is most comfortable and makes a subject feel good helps them to relax and be more themselves in front of the camera. So, all the rules with wardrobe can be thrown out the window at times.
  7. Most subjects do get nervous about being photographed. As a subject, be serious, be silly and express yourself on how you want the others to see you. Also, work a bit outside your comfort zone. Follow the photographers lead and don't fixate on that bad frame/photo or awful expression. I will take 100++ photographs of one subject to get that perfect portrait. Focus on the positive and the perfect portrait of you, and it will happen.
  8. Retouching will elevate the quality of your headshot. Allowing to eliminate stray hairs, better skin tones, fewer skin blemishes, among a few other improvements. I did share a few headshots above that were not retouched, maybe you can identify them.
 
July Portrait Sessions Availability

Scott Indermaur and Nonni Sansoucy are excited to offer 2-days of creating portraits in the Pawtucket, Rhode Island studio on July 15th, 16th, and Saturday, July 29th.

We are offering portrait sessions for individuals and couples. These sessions will include personal portraits and business headshots that tell your story. Use your picture for Facebook, Linkedin, blog, personal website, and other applications.

Each image delivered will be a high-resolution file. Gallery quality prints are also available. The sessions will take place at a studio in Pawtucket, RI. We will be in contact with the address and more insight on what makes an excellent session after you sign up.