‘You cant have too many Leica lenses Santa’ – I explained, he just groaned and said ‘can you just get off my knee, you are waaay to heavy’ – I was thrown out of the grotto.
Persistence pays off however as he delivered down the chimney a new 35mm Summilux F1.4 – the all time classic reportage lens.
My trusty 35mm lens for the past 25 years has been the F2 Summicron, a design which has barely been changed and I thought was beyond improvement (great colours, sharp corner to corner at all aperture etc) but even a quick glance at the back of the camera to review the files showed the new lens in a completely different light. With its modern lens coatings and floating lens elements the images have a new level of clarity and ‘pop’ to them. F1.4 is fantastic to shoot in low light that extra f-stop makes all the difference and provides that very attractive shallow depth of field.
This lens is considered to be the finest 35mm lens ever made and its easy to see why.
One of the pleasures of my work is being able to visit companies on their premises during photo-shoots. You learn a lot when inside the citadel.
One thing I notice is that there’s often a big difference between the ethnic diversity of their workforces and that of the board of directors when it comes to the largest companies.
In short, at large companies their workforces are generally multicultural, reflecting the ethnic diversity of modern Britain.
But the boardrooms are not. I see very few directors from black or minority ethnic backgrounds sitting on big company boards.
As a photographer, I know how important images are to corporate story telling. If you see pictures of someone from a BAME background filling the most senior company roles, it sends a strongly encouraging message to others who aspire to reach the top of these organisations. It also demonstrates there are no barriers to anyone rising through the ranks regardless of their background.
But my experience is one thing, but is this true of the other large UK companies I’ve never stepped a foot inside of?
To test my theories about the lack of board room diversity, Piranha analysed the latest annual reports of each of the FTSE 100 companies counting the numbers of photographs showing BAME board directors.
Our simple but effective way of measuring a board’s composition found that over half of the main boards (56 boards) have no directors that appear to be from Black or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Moreover, out of the rest of the FTSE 100 companies with BAME directors on their main boards, 33 companies had just a single director from an apparently BAME background.
Only one FTSE 100 company, Dubai-based healthcare group NMC Health PLC), had BAME directors in the majority (6 out of 11 directors) are non-white.
We also looked at women board directors. The good news is that none of the FTSE 100 boards comprised male only directors. The bad news is just one board – Royal Dutch Shell’s – reached parity of the sexes with equal representation of male and female directors.
In wrapping up, while we wait for boards to boost their numbers of women and BAME directors, we can at least ensure corporate images of staff are ethnically diverse where possible, because it’s not difficult to achieve, as long as the people commissioning the photographs are wise to the issue.
I think your photographs are fantastic and there are some group shots in particular that capture a moment so perfectly and look so natural, I think they are brilliant. - Design Manager, Equistone Partners Europe Limited
Over half of the main boards (56 boards) of the UK’s leading 100 quoted companies have no directors that appear to be from Black or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Press coverage discussing Piranha Photography’s research findings –
Clearly these days women are much better represented on the main boards of the UK’s largest public companies although there is still far from parity of the sexes.
However, our desk research found that directors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds appear to be either not present at all on the majority of FTSE 100 boards or are the sole representatives of people from non-white backgrounds.
More positively, at the operational level, the annual reports of FTSE 100 companies do carry plenty of images of people from BAME backgrounds, which is an accurate representation of their management, staff and customers in modern Britain. - Douglas Fry, Piranha Photography
Photography in Finland of power stations for marketing literature, as part of a Pan-European project
Tracking the use of licensed images can be a costly headache. If you use the services of image libraries or some photographers, you will be strictly restricted to their licensing terms.
If you break the terms and use their images, even by accident, in annual reports or any other marketing materials that are not covered by your original agreement, you’ll be facing retrospective fees. And they will find out!
Office photography for annual report
Large companies have the biggest challenge tracking licenced images. With marketing teams spread out over different parts of the country, or perhaps in different countries, they often discover no-one considered seeking permission before they used a licenced image.
Piranha will save you time and money if you’re considering creating your own image library. You can use our images in your library as many times as you like for as long as you like. They can be used across all your marketing materials, including your website, (but excluding advertising) and there’s no extra fee other than our standard shoot cost. Nice and simple.
Collaborative meeting photography for new website
Why are we doing this?
We have found that the typical lifespan of a set of corporate images is generally just one year. Therefore, with or without a licence clients often want a new set of pictures. Of course, some photographs can be used year on year, but most will be reshot in the natural course of a branding or website refresh.
So the next time you’re commissioning portrait photography, why not allow some extra time in the shoot for me to take some location shots, or shots of your facilities or office interiors?
It will help you build a library of fresh, totally original images that tell the unique story of your business.
I think your photographs are fantastic and there are some group shots in particular that capture a moment so perfectly and look so natural, I think they are brilliant. "
-Design Manager, Equistone Partners Europe Limited
Of late, a strange thing has been happening when shooting CEOs and other board directors at corporate photo-shoots. I have suddenly become a person of interest.
I’ve been working for well over 20 years as a professional photographer. Normally on a CEO shoot, the best I can expect is a quick handshake, the briefest of enquiries about my train journey, and then a reluctant five minutes in front of my camera while I get on with the job. Most CEOs would much rather be running their businesses than standing in front of my camera. Or so it seemed.
What’s changed? This Christmas I bought a Leica M10 to add to my Leica SL and Leica M240 cameras. This new camera is of such iconic status it’s changed the whole tone of virtually every big shoot I’ve done since.
Such is the Leica M10’s mystique, it’s like opening your wallet and flourishing a black Amex card. The camera is so well put together, so perfectly engineered, so – forgive me – beautiful in its form and function, that CEOs can’t resist asking me what’s it like to use. I have become persona grata with the senior executive.
Believe this, I am now routinely spending an extra half hour at every directors’ shoot to talk with them afterwards about the Leica M10. And like every professional who loves the tools of their craft and sharing their passion, this is time well spent.
What I love about the M10 is that it’s been stripped back to the essentials. It’s a classic case of less is more. While the camera itself has been stripped of fripperies, it generously gives back far more in terms of the depth of its images and colour accuracy.
Personally, I love the manual lens focus. By not using auto, the camera forces me to slow down, think more, notice more, plan better and not waste shots. Rapid multiple shots have given way to single clicks of the shutter, and the results are all the better for it. It’s as if I’ve gone back to using real film where every frame counts.
I’ve used Canons and Nikons for years and they’re all fine cameras. But the Leica is in a league of its own, the professional photographer’s choice, bar none, and – who’d have known? – it appears also to be the camera that would be the CEO’s first choice.
We look forward to hearing from you,
What I love about the M10 is that it’s been stripped back to the essentials. It’s a classic case of less is more. - Douglas, Photographer
A recent photo shoot at Crepeaffaire in London was commissioned to generate varied and interesting photographs for the press. Below are a couple of the articles featuring the images in The Times newspaper and BQ online –
Sam – these are wonderful. Some really nice shots and the colours are great. Many thanks, - Client
Good to see one of Piranha’s recent photographs taken for Equistone Partners in Manchester featured in Real Deals – Private Equity Publication. The site features articles about European Private Equity companies.
January 2018 –
Another story ran in Real Deals in January 2018 again illustrated by one of Piranha’s photographs this time take in London –
Thanks Sam, Loving the background architecture - really nice. Thanks for sorting all this out. - Designer, Private Equity Client
Thinking of Some Corporate Head Shots for your Company?
Portrait photography comes in all shapes and sizes, do you need it with or without a background? Have you considered a lighting style, that is should there be no shadows on the face or more contrasty? It’s worth giving it a thought before commissioning new photography.
There are many options but read this short article to help you choose a successful style for your company.
Does the final image need a background as white as driven snow? That funnily enough will require quite a bit of kit, a pop up background, the lights to illuminate this background, lights to illuminate the subject and the camera on a tripod in front of all of it all, and a burly assistant to help carry it all in. It will require a bigger room with little or no furniture. As this large studio type room is rarely available, another solution often needs to be found.
This allows for using a smaller room and is therefore much easier to organise, and any room can be used on each successive visit. This often provides the most practical solution for portraits.
An Office or Outside Background
It may be felt that a portrait shot with a background would be more interesting. A picture that is usually to be run slightly larger than its white background cousin. The scene behind the subject can be the view through a window to illustrate ‘we have a city location’ or a blurred office backdrop can illustrate as being part of a larger team.
Another style is the ‘discussion’ or meeting format, often used in the service industries to convey that the person being photographed is in mid conversation with a client. The photograph can incorporate the blurred shoulder of the person nearest the camera whilst focussing on the subject who is speaking animatedly. This style shows a busy, active company.
Portraits for Press Coverage in Publications
A popular PR shot which is picked up by newspapers is one that illustrates and enhances a story.
The photograph below was taken by Piranha to encapsulate the accounting firm’s story. The picture caught the eye of the newspaper editor and so was published with a short article about the problems of mounting legislation.
This photograph taken by Piranha for an accountancy firm ran in several national newspapers and business titles. The image highlighted the recent increase in tax legislation.
The dramatic lighting for this industrial pipe company assisted in getting the companies story published by catching the eye of several national newspapers.
The Contemporary, Creative Solution
There are many possible creative styles for websites and annual reports – these involve shooting a meeting through a glass panel, or walking down a corridor or in an open plan office. A creative look works well to show an integrated team, a busy office and is often used in a profile document about a company.
A contemporary look like this can offer a cohesive style to the company’s portraits and be used to tie in creative direction of all their website designs.
The Photographic Brief
Before starting new photography, it is important to think about what is needed and discuss the brief with the web designer and photographer. The nature of the business will lend itself to a certain style, to convey a message to the clients looking at a company’s website or reading the article, there are lots of interesting and effective options to choose from.
Please do drop us and email or call 020 7193 9446 if you would like more information or to discuss a project.