The Nitty Gritty of a Corporate Photo Shoot – Photography of new CEO of Kingfisher Group at B&Q for The Times Newspaper
Like a lot of corporate photography, getting the right image, on time, within the budget is always much harder than it looks. The image above looks deceptively simple, it shows a new CEO (Chief Executive Officer) for B&Q smiling patiently at the camera in a garden centre for a half page in The Times newspaper, but the process behind the photograph requires skill and experience.
Choosing the Location on the Day
Firstly, the location of the corporate photo shoot had to be recced and approved by the client and this takes an hour or two on arrival, as the site was large and varied. We knew that the CEO was under great time pressure, so when he was ready the photography needed to be quick and efficient. We had to find three locations and time how long it would take for the Chief Executive to start in one place, have some portraits taken and then walk to the next.
Photographic Lighting Set Up
The plan, once compiled, had then be forwarded to the CEOs PA for approval and scheduling. The photographer has to be aware that the photography will be later in the day so the current natural light will have receded at the time of the shoot. For this reason, off camera flash lighting needs to be set up. Piranha uses a large Elinchrom Octa softbox and power pack to achieve this. This equipment needs to be moved for each of the three portrait sessions, so it is crucial to set everything up at the best location first, so if a phone call comes in and the half hour photo shoot is now a quick 5 minutes, the best location has been used, never consider using an inferior location as a warm up or ‘practice’ session, it may well be the only one you get.
The branch of B&Q where the photo shoot was executed is large and busy with many members of the public, which provides another layer of complication to the task. The photographer needs to be sensitive to the nearby shoppers while clearing an aisle for the approaching Chief Executive’s photography.
Taking the Portrait Photograph
The next phase is always crucial, as the photographer needs to get and maintain the subject’s attention for the 10 minutes that he has available. If a PA or store manager distracts the Chief Executive then the image will inevitably be poor in terms of expression and posture. For this reason, the photographer needs to engage the CEO in conversation in a way that helps them to look positive, confident and approachable.
Whilst conversing the photographer can fire a test shot or two, to check for shadows and distractions. These include anything that may have suddenly appeared in the frame, such as a curious customer or bag of compost in this venue, that has been repositioned by a gardener. The photographer must ensure that he is creating the optimum image by adjusting the surroundings and camera while keeping the subject focussed and composed to create the best photograph. Douglas balances time constraints and experience to create a collection of outstanding shots.
Reviewing the Photographs on the Day
It is possible to preview the raw images on the back of the camera during the session and this provides quick and easy insights into how the photos will look. Douglas uses this to allow the client to see and approve the look and expressions, to ensure everyone is satisfied with the results. Images can be wirelessly sent to a laptop or phone but past experience has proved that even a small glitch with WIFI interference can make the client nervous about the session, so as with all things in life, Keep It Simple.
While the client is scrolling through the images on the back of the camera for a moment, it is important to keep the CEO talking in case we have to move him to the left by 6 feet to include a new element of branding or logo. Maintaining his attention allows the photographer to immediately continue shooting from where they paused. If he has even the slightest chance to glance at the 500 emails he has missed while posing for the shoot you will never get him back again.
Moving to the Second Location of Corporate Photo Shoot
After taking the photographs at the first location and ensuring the client was pleased with the look, we moved the camera and flash kit to the next spot on the pre-planned route. The camera remains on a tripod to ensure that the image composition is consistent throughout the shoot and the transition is slick due to the organisation and timing that took place in advance when recceing the locations. We can then repeat the process at the third location, keeping the process positive throughout.
Processing and Delivery of the Final Photographs
Once the photographs are taken and the shoot is complete, the CEO is whisked off to his next appointment and Douglas begins to download the files onto his laptop. Piranha uses Photomechanic for this as it is hugely reliable and fast. If the client then pops back to say goodbye as Douglas packs up the kit, it is incredibly useful to be able to display the images large on a laptop where the client and PR team can mark their favourites there and then.
Once back in the office, all files are copied over to the bigger, more powerful MacPro’s. Using these, the ‘keepers’ can be chosen and processed in Lightroom, which is used to set the correct black and white exposure values, adjust vibrancy and clarity and export them out to a website. This is uploaded to Piranha’s secure server and a link is generated to send to the client, along with the processed hi res images.
Piranha is fast and efficient during this process and the client can see that the images are good and precisely what they need for the press as well as having them quickly delivered in the correct format for the newspaper.
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