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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.

Posts tagged Corporate Photography
10 Tips for Using Mobile Phone Photography in Corporate Social Media

Many of my clients are using their mobile phones to share their corporate narrative on social media. Successful mobile phone photography is essential for any corporate social media marketing plan. I partnered up with a strategic marketer to create Visual Thrive and streamline the storytelling for companies social media use. Visual Thrive hires professional photographers because we know they have the “eye” for the details, lighting and angles; but with a few tips you can level up your social media photography and draw more engagement from your followers.

WITH MOBILE PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO?

Yes! The new generation of mobile phones offer sophisticated technology, mobile apps with filters to process images and video that rival content captured with professional photo and video cameras. Phone photography allows you to create images much easier than a more sophisticated camera and definitely share online with ease.

10 TIPS TO BETTER YOUR IPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS FOR INCREASED SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

1) Shoot wide, medium and close - A general rule for photojournalists is to take a wide photograph of the entire scene, then a medium one, and end it with a close detail photograph. This makes your story more interesting and brings your eyes to various locations within the same scene. This tactic will cover your visual narrative needs and after you take photos using these three angles, you can have some fun experimenting with different perspectives or color schemes to see what you create. You can use many photographs from the same scene, mixed in with your experimental angles for lots of interesting visual images for your social media feed. If you only need one photograph to use for your story on a particular day, then photograph all three angles anyway, it will allow you to choose your best in the editing room or save others for another post on another day.

2) Show the entire scene (wide) - Remember your narrative, and at times the whole environment is exactly what your story is about.

3) Photograph medium perspective - this is an excellent opportunity to show close up activities, smaller groups of people, and minimize the surrounding distractions.

4) Get in close - Many times people take a full body photograph of someone doing their activity when the story they want to tell is actually about their hands and face. Zooming in close and tight to your subject makes it more exciting. This works for people, a house or an object. Show only what is necessary to get the point across. A simple detail cell phone photograph can tell a story and increase interest in your narrative. For example, the action of hand writing notes can be more interesting than a table full of people taking notes.

5) Photograph lots of images - For a Visual Thrive assignment, I typically photograph 300 images with the goal of creating 30 excellent photos for a social media campaign. It’s always better to have too many pictures than realizing you didn’t photograph enough, or had an excellent photograph but your subject’s eyes are closed.

6) Watch for items in the background - Images with poles, branches and other background distractions coming out of the subject’s head or ear is not visually pleasing. A simple shift of the angle will clean up the background and make a good photograph even better. The below examples were all photographed by me. This happens often, and the reason why taking multiple images of each scene will help you fine tune the image as you take more.

7) Creative Angles - Be creative with your angles. Take you phone low and shoot up, or hold your phone high and shoot down, or use foreground elements to draw the viewer into the subject matter. Cover your basics and then enjoy being even more creative.

8) Shooting in front of a window - Sometimes a window view looks great when you are in the room looking out. Keep in mind that a phone may not be able to balance the brightness of the outside with the indoors. Also, if a window has bars going through it, it may fall under the realm of Tip #5. A window with a view may not be the best selection. Sometimes having a person in front of the window and photographing them with your phone from an angle will be more pleasing depending on the background.

9) Have fun with phone photography - Have fun, take lots of photographs and the more you tell your corporate social media narrative visually, the better you will get.

10) Enjoy using your filters - Instagram and many other photo apps and platforms offer filters. Have fun with these filters. Filters allow you to get creative and add a level of interest to your photos that you won’t get from a non-filtered image.

Social Media Marketing Using Phone Photography
Branding and personalizing your company through social media marketing can be fun and practical with a few mobile phone photography tips to keep in mind and practice. Remember the more phone photography you create, the better you will get. When you are busy, do not hesitate to partner up with a co-working that understands your company’s brand and story, or hire someone like Visual Thrive to take that task off your plate.

6 Tips for Creating a Successful Corporate MultiMedia Production
corporate multimedia digital production tips for success

An effective production process for digital media production is essential in making any assignment a success, beginning with a solid foundation during pre-production. This allows the content production phase to run smoothly, focused on developing compelling multimedia stories.

Commercial Multimedia Production - Boston MA
While producing a commercial multi-media campaign, using photography and video for a midwest financial company, we conducted a nationwide search for locations that needed a unique vision and style. We decided on Boston, Massachusetts.

This project was a rather large with a multimedia crew of 24 people that included Boston based actors, makeup artists, a wardrobe stylist, producers, assistants, art directors, client and of course the media crew to capture lifestyle still photography and video. With lots of moving parts, it was critical to have a production team we could rely upon. Primarily, a Producer that is organized will understand all the details. The producer’s role entails getting permits and finding talent, arranging many people on location in Boston, and holding a large multimedia video production crew to a schedule that constantly moves to different sets around the city.

A few tips we learned from this project:

  1. Focus mostly on today. During the pre-production phase, there are tons of moving parts and loose ends. Pleasant surprises appear and there may even be a shift with the art direction. For me, as the Director, I needed to look at the production’s overarching big picture with deadlines and tasks. Though the majority of my time spent is focused mainly on today’s tasks. Sometimes looking at the big picture, with the hundreds of tasks to complete, can be overwhelming but concentrating on the immediate production tasks makes for a less stressful and productive day.

  2. Have a fantastic crew. In this case, we created a team that was mostly Boston and Rhode Island-based. New England is my “backyard” so this wasn’t overly stressful; but on other assignments there will times when a local producer, scout or contact is worth their weight in gold. It is common, especially on larger projects, to hire local connections to ease local logistics. From a permit that needs a local to push it through, to knowing certain areas that may not be the ideal place for a visual production.

  3. Create a detailed schedule. Have an agenda that is minute-by-minute and also lists all the crew members and their contact information, location scouting photographs and talent headshots. This agenda keeps everyone accountable, and allows them to see the big picture and understand what the photography and video production entails.

  4. Be prepared for surprises. There was one location we thought we had a permit for and we unknowingly crossed the line into another town by about 50 feet. The crew was in a park that extended into two different cities. We didn’t realize that until a police officer asked us about our permits. We had the correct permit for one side of the park, and we needed a different permit for the part we were shooting on at that time. Kindness and understanding goes a long way, and the officer allowed us to finish our work on both sides of the town line.

  5. Weather. This 3-day production was blessed with perfect weather. Though we were watching weather patterns weeks beforehand. A while back, we had a similar project where we needed to postpone a Georgia media project for a week because of weather. We made the right decision because it turned out an extremely turbulent wind storm went through some of the locations we had planned. We would not have had the opportunity to capture what we needed, or do a retake. Always watch the weather, and have a backup plan if the weather isn’t right and the outdoor production needs to be postponed or caught inside. This is a detail no one can control!

  6. Be prepared for a shift in art direction. After researching locations, scouting, discussing and finalizing plans, there are still times when we show up to a site and decide to shift course with the visuals we want to capture. This shift could be due to lighting, weather, a perspective we overlooked or even art direction. It is always a good idea when hiring a strong and supportive crew that each person is able to shift with ease and maintain positivity.

With large or small productions, this overview of a Boston multi-media project will make it easier to understand a multi-locational multi-media project. We do the same type of planning for projects with a crew of 2 or 24. Everyone likes a good solid schedule that keeps everything flowing with ease, and ultimately creates a successful commercial photography and lifestyle videos.

Rhode Island Commercial Photographer for a Restaurant
Rhode Island Commercial  Photographer for a Restaurant with a video timelapse in RI

There are many types of commercial photography and advertising campaigns. A number of my advertising photography projects and corporate video assignments are for small and medium-sized businesses that I thoroughly enjoy. Having lots of experience with more significant projects allows me to create an even stronger plan for smaller marketing campaigns.

Typically a smaller project involves myself and an assistant with different levels of collaboration and expectations with the client. In most cases the client wants me to create a majority of the art direction and production of images. We have conversations on their vision, goals, brand and the narrative they want to share. Also, I will research their presence and competitors in what they are sharing visually, creatively and with the written story. In other cases, I work closely with the client in creating visuals with their vision.

The smaller multimedia projects are wonderful because such a significant portion of the creative collaboration process is baked in without managing a large logistics crew to make it happen.

Successful Restaurant Photography Project - Cafe And Bakery

I recently completed a Rhode Island restaurant photography assignment and their 2nd location for the pantry. The client hired me to photograph their restaurant and bakery to capture the fresh, high quality food they prepare along with the fun personality of their staff. I also created their new websites for both the cafe and bakery; which allowed me to be a partner in their creative process from conception to publication.

We visited their Rhode Island locations a few times to capture candid style photography that portrays this vision for use on their new website and for their social media. At times I photographed people in action and other times asked the barista to hold up a delicious pastry towards the camera to create a social media style photograph.

The production crew was just myself as the Rhode Island commercial photographer and the owner, collaborating to create their impactful marketing photography visuals that tell their narrative and make a strong marketing presence. During the photography sessions, the restaurant owner was with me to point out potential strong visuals, and I shared my ideas with her. We made a terrific visual team as her small business narrative unfolded.

I kept the actual production simple with using ambient lighting and an occasional 1-2 Profoto A1 small battery flash units. This allowed me to work without an assistant and be nimble in a small, busy bakery and restaurant. Most restaurants have limited space so it’s easier when I am solo vs. working with an assistant. It brings me back to my newspaper photojournalist days of working creatively, but nimble and fast. This technique allowed me to stay out of the way during active business hours when they are serving their customers.

Also, I suggested we create a video for their home page of their website. I then created 2 videos from time-lapse photography to capture the busyness of their locations with a social media style video. This added action, movement and energy to their website’s opening page. It’s become a much watched, very popular video!

I enjoy working at all levels of production, as I move a project from pre to post production workflow. As a commercial photographer, every advertising or marketing photography project is a unique experience. From the planning of the types of a commercial advertising campaign, envisioning the visual narrative, to the coloration of the actual photography and video productions in my home state is very rewarding. Being creative with images or adding a social media video clip as a new style and asset for the client makes projects more exciting; but more importantly, it delivers what type of narrative the client wants, which can be challenging and very rewarding. While I travel nationally for video and commercial photography projects, I do enjoy the journey as a Rhode Island commercial photographer - Rhode island has so much to offer!

Creating Strategic Marketing For a New Startup

So, what is it in Kansas that will change the world? Indermaur Media has an exciting and unique opportunity to join a brilliant team about to change the AG industry. Our client has gathered top minds in the fields of technology, engineering, chemistry, agriculture, and environmental sciences too (as they have said) change the way the world farms, and eventually save our Earth. That's a big vision, but one we believe is possible.

I have known and worked with Rob Herrington over many years, often on the next successful start-up adventure. The latest startup, PrairieFood, has been in our discussions (and in the making) for years. It's been exciting to learn about and watch the new company move from an idea into the actual production of its product.

Marketing Strategy & Communications Plan
Indermaur Media is documenting all components of PrairieFood's narrative with photography and video for historical purposes, as well as produce their digital media, and written content. I decided to bring in Indermaur Media's Producer and Visual Thrive partner, Lori Giuttari, to manage the written content and strategic communication plans for Prairie Food. The entire team works closely with their strategy and communications, from developing their website, maintaining consistent branding within all the messaging, to their upcoming social media feed.

strategic marketing - communications - video and photography - social media project

This past November, we were excited to travel to Kansas and meet our team, and to photograph and video PrairieFood's first milestone: Completion of their commercial scale continuous flow reactor, fired up for the first time, was captured within meaningful video conversations and hundreds of photos that tell the story of PrairieFood.

Think cow manure. Ahhh! That fresh farm smell! What do we do with the extraordinary amount of manure we have on this Earth, as we continue to deplete our natural resources to produce more food? Well, the PrairieFood team is tackling this issue from every angle in one fell swoop.

Like any waste, it's essential that we, as humans, learn how to recycle and reuse as much as possible. In manure's case, it's even more critical. This nutrient-rich bio-waste is regulated by the US EPA and must be safely disposed of or it can cause lots of environmental problems. Manure continually emits methane gas and leaches nitrates and phosphorus into our water supplies - both a leading contributor to climate change and pollution. Mother Nature can only take so much, and I'm sure she expects us to know better and do better.

PrairieFood's award-winning, proprietary process takes the carbon-rich manure and deconstructs it using heat and water. This novel process swiftly recycles and binds the organic nutrients in manure to the carbon, kills bacteria and weed seeds, and deconstructs any antibiotics within it in less than 1 second! The outcome: PrairieFood - an organic, carbon-rich, nutrient dense material immediately available for organically farming safe food.

Because of decades of conventional farming, our land craves carbon, nutrients and the organic microbes PrairieFood delivers. This intensified process takes what Mother Nature gives us and returns it to the Earth to enrich our soil, and produce nourishing, safe, better food within the first crop cycle.

Organic farmers prefer to feed their soil just like this but to do it right; it's a five-to-six year process that still needs to address dangerous bacteria like e-Coli and listeria, and disrupting weed seeds within the manure itself. The PrairieFood team believes their innovative process will change the way our world farms. As a very health-conscious society, PrairieFood delivers precisely what we need - safe, organic, nutritious food without further harm to our planet.

I captured the photography and video to share their story as the company grows. Their website -PrairieFood.com - is up and running as was also developed by Indermaur Media! And we will continue to share the development each step of the way. You can follow these updates on PrairieFood's LinkedIn Page too!

This adventure is just beginning, but how cool would it be if:

  • Organic farmers are immediately able to produce higher yields?

  • Conventional farmers could replace synthetic fertilizers and enhance their land?

  • Manure won't sit around emitting methane gases?

  • In three years all farms could become organic farms without loss of yields?

  • All our food was organic, safe, and nutrient-dense?

To be a part of PrairieFood’s team is exciting - they are a brilliant group - and to be able to manage and create consistent, reliable communication through photography, video, website design, written content, social media management, and strategic marketing is a fascinating opportunity employing all that Indermaur Media offers.

The story has just begun. Follow it unfold on PrairieFood LinkedIn page.  

Bostitch Office National Multimedia Campaign

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My client, Bostitch Office, wanted to develop a multimedia campaign to showcase their new product, creating videos for use in social media ads, point-of-purchase displays, and installation instructional videos, and photography for packaging and advertising, as well as for trade show collateral.

We began with meetings to outline concepts for their multiple visual needs. Shooting the video and photography during a three-day multimedia assignment allowed us consistency with the actors, location, and style. It streamlined the visual process to save on the client’s budget because we would be able to run photography and video concurrently. During this phase, we created a video storyboard, a photography shot list and produced a detailed schedule to capture the ideas for their photography and video needs efficiently.

In phase two, scouting for locations, we visited locations throughout Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts. We found a perfect site in Boston for our video production and as a Boston advertising photographer. I also added it to our location library for future projects. The Boston location is a very modern looking office with lots of glass doors and large windows with new furniture, and we were able to have full access to it for our three-day multimedia assignment.

Timelapse of a messy desk to organized by Bostitch Office Konnect Workspace + Cable Management System.

The new product is a modern workspace and cable organization system. It includes spaces to organize and store desktop clutter, management of cables, among other ways to keep the desk area efficient and free from clutter.

Now that my team had the assignment tactics approved, and secured the office space, we contacted a few talent agencies for the casting of our three actors.

The client wanted people that would be comfortable in front of the camera, but we also included an employee who knew the product well and could easily set it up for the instructional video.

Moreover, before we began the assignment, the entire office needed to be propped with office supplies and accessories that made the office look as active and productive as a typical busy office. We wanted to be sure to use as many as the client’s office products as possible. A product manager focused explicitly on the setup on their new workspace system, which was still a prototype at the time.

Our Multimedia Production Crew
The Indermaur Media Boston multimedia production crew consisted of myself, as production director and photographer; a New England videographer, two multimedia assistants to set up and attend to anything that keeps the set running smoothly, a wardrobe stylist, a makeup artist, and a producer/prop stylist.

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Day one, of production, was primarily focused on product setup and photography. No models were needed. It also gave us the opportunity to watch the limited daylight time and adjust our video schedule for this winter assignment.

The remaining days were a mix of environmental photography and video. We’d set up a scene and video record it, then photograph product close-ups and office overviews for web, packaging and other print use. Then we’d setup and move on to the next scene.

Also on set were four people from the client’s marketing and product development team to manage art direction and set up of the product. They also acted as extras during the video scenes. We typically had 2-3 setups at any given time in different stages of setup to keep the photography and video production flowing.

As always, I want to create a fun, high energy environment as the team comes together for a multi-day assignment. We focus on what’s needed and get straight to work. On video recording days we work non-stop to meet the client’s vision, and having a fully engaged, professional team is the key to our success.

Please take a look at the video and photography outcomes from this exciting assignment, and let me know what you think!

Also, visit our new venture for your company’s social media marketing - Visual Thrive.

How A Producer Can Better Organize Your Shoot
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With all the aspects of a photography session in play, it may seem like the greater task at hand is hard to manage. My blog has represented various ways of improving the quality of a shoot, such as hiring a makeup artist or having a solid understanding of visual narrative, and increasing the likelihood of a satisfied client, like my helpful advice for a successful headshot.

When it comes down to it, a photographer and their client may find themselves with totally clear senses of their roles in the shoot, but outside forces conspire against the shoot itself. Changing weather, a multitude of crew members, and accounting for on-site necessities have an effect on everyone involved, and may introduce pressure into the situation. In conditions like these, we need all the help we can get.

I find a producer is critical in many photography and video projects; while some assignments may be as easy as scheduling a subject for the photography session, others are more in-depth and necessitate an experienced producer that allows the assignment to go very smoothly and blossom into a stronger finished product.

I have often collaborated with Stacey Koch in both small and large projects, and I have worked with her for many years. She knows how and when to get permits, negotiate fees, find the best talent, help the crew find parking, make sure we all have food on set to keep everyone from becoming “hangry,” and many other small yet critical tasks. Working on larger projects with Stacey has taught me the importance of a detail-oriented producer and what they offer to our team.

The aspects to a shoot’s success for myself as a photographer, are very much in-line with a producer’s idea of success. Here are some elements of an effective session that are improved with the presence of a photography - videography producer like Stacey:

  • Timeliness: Having a producer on-site to handle the small and big issues, as stated above, allows the photographer to remain focused on what their final product may look like.
  • Shared Vision: As someone who understands what must be done to ensure a good shoot, a producer also has a vision of how the shoot can be optimized, allowing for a photographer to do less guesswork and, by extension, do less unnecessary work.
  • Collaborative Strength: A producer and photographer that work together over several projects can often pinpoint what must be done, what angles work best and how to achieve them, how much equipment and supplies to bring, and what sort of timeframe a specific shoot may occupy. Most importantly, the learning experience is shared, so each shoot makes a photographer and the producer more knowledgeable and more aware of what to expect for their next potential video or photography production collaboration.

You can visit Stacey’s website. She has been a phenomenal help in all my Boston-based projects, and her presence can inspire a better, more efficient, more successful session.

Save Money by Combining Multiple Projects
 
Industrial Photographer time-lapse
 

I often get awarded corporate photography projects that are smaller productions. Then I discover the client has many other corporate video and photography needs that are not being addressed. For example, they may initially call me for a portrait of their CEO, then with some discussion find out they need headshots of executives, a video about one of their associates for their Youtube channel, and a group photograph of the Sales Team.

If you have lots of little visual needs and don't have a large budget, or the time, then combining the projects into one sizable project will allow you to get more photography and video projects completed and save you thousands. I created a quick estimate to illustrate the savings for a corporate photography in Boston project and figured it will save about $5,000 if we combined four half-day assignments into a 1-day project.

Create a full day (or more) jam-packed with 3-4 assignments you may typically complete on different days.

A few tips on combining corporate photography and video projects to save money on your yearly budget:

  1. Keep a project calendar
    1. This is very helpful with planning your current and future visual needs.
    2. When you have a visual need and a tight deadline, look at this project calendar and see what you can also get completed with your current assignment.
  2. Work a few months ahead to allow yourself enough time to combine projects into one more extensive project, find the appropriate photographer/videographer and schedule the projects.
  3. One crucial factor is to work with a multimedia vendor that creates excellent photography and video and most importantly enjoys this type of assignments.
Timelapse of a painter in an industrial painting booth painting the finishing touches on a piece of machinery.
What is Visual Narrative?
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In recent years, many people express what they do as if they’re telling a story and one way to do it is through visual media or “visual narrative”. Visual narrative is a way to tell a story using visual media such as photos, videos, and even graphics. Wikipedia also defines it as "visual storytelling."

I started my career as a photojournalist for newspapers, wire services and magazines. Back then, I did not use the term “visual narrative” for my work though it is what I have been doing for my entire career. What I learned as a storytelling photojournalist has been of great significance and help to me on corporate and commercial photography, as well as video assignments. 

What is a suggested visual narrative for a corporate mission, you ask? As with any story, there are multiple ways on how to tell it. 

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I have one client in the banking industry. They help other financial institutions by providing a broad range of financial products. These products boost community banks to be more efficient and competitive, contributing to great changes in their respective communities. They give impact by helping those that are in need of their services, allowing communities to practice proactivity

The stories of the residents are important because they actually showcase how the local banks have been a part of their success. This adds up to the contributions of our client who helped make it all happen. We partner their financial product with a multimedia visual narrative of heartfelt stories from residents of the community. 

Some feature the lives of their employees. It can be either in the office or their work area. With video and photography, we can tell the company’s story through the eyes of its employees evoking a sense of belongingness and realness to the audience. 

Fort Morgan, Colorado community has a love of family and pride in the work they do every day. They share stories of how their local community bank, Morgan Federal Bank, stepped in and made things happen and what they mean to their families. Fort Morgan is located in Northern Colorado.
 
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?

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.