Posted in Board Photography, Corporate Portrait Photography, Tips and News from Piranha
Persona Grata with Leica
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
Posted in Law Firm Photography, Corporate Portrait Photography, Tips and News from Piranha
One of Piranha’s recent portrait photographs of a barrister appeared on the evening news this week, on the BBC’s ‘South East Today’.
Here is a photograph of the TV screen – Piranha’s photograph is of the speaker on the right.
Posted in Private Equity Company Photography, PR Photography, Tips and News from Piranha
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
Posted in Private Equity Company Photography, Corporate Portrait Photography, PR Photography, Tips and News from Piranha
November 2017 –
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
Posted in Head Shots, Corporate Portrait Photography, Tips and News from Piranha
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.
A White Background
The old chestnut head and shoulders white background is often requested and consideration needs to be given to how the photographs will be achieved.
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.
Using a Grey Background
An alternative solution to achieve a pure white background is to photograph the subject against a grey or off white background and then in post-production, ‘cut’ the subject out and place against a pure white or pre-shot office background created in Photoshop. The cutting out procedure is now extremely accurate so any type of frizzy hair poses no problem and each hair is retained before cut-out.
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.
Posted in Head Shots, Tips and News from Piranha
Many companies commission head shots of their staff members photographed against a white backdrop so that this can then be used as a PR photograph for websites and LinkedIn. In this short piece, I am going to touch on the white background head shot, and how it can be achieved. I will touch on the snags, and why deliberately choosing a grey or off-white colour instead, might be a better option than pure white.
OK so you have decided as many clients do, that you would like a portrait with a pure white background so that it blends with the pure neutral white of a website, well that is MUCH easier said than done for a number of practical reasons.
To achieve a pure white background headshot
- The size of room allocated for the shoot would need to be BIG, it is important that the white background is evenly lit independently of the subject, this is done with good effect with two lights at 45 degrees to the white screen (even this may not guarantee a totally even light).
- The subject a few feet in front of the backdrop will need to be lit too, preferably with a large soft box to achieve a soft flattering light.
- The camera should be in front of the subject (of course) with a mid tele-photo lens for a pleasant perspective and to reduce flare.
Diagram showing set up to achieve pure white background head shot
- The snag with that arrangement above? It requires an assistant to help carry and setup additional lights etc, it requires the room to be quite large and free of heavy furniture. I’m not sure how many companies have this on offer (most have a large table in the middle of the room for meetings not unexpectedly).
Photograph the head shot with a grey background and then ‘cut them out’ in PhotoShop
Deliberately photograph the subjects against a grey or off white background and then cut the head shot out afterwards in PhotoShop. This method has a number of advantages over the first method –
- The size of the room can be smaller and the background does not have to be lit at all
- The subject can be closer to the background, maybe even casting a slight shadow – it doesn’t matter
- The camera is in the same place for the same reasons as above.
If the staff members are wearing white shirts/blouses etc then it’s a much easier extraction from the background if its grey or similar.
Diagram showing set up to achieve head shot with white or grey background
The software these days is remarkable in its accuracy and precision, do you have frizzy hair? No problem every hair is identified and retained allowing your new background to come through, looking very natural.
I recommend having a clear idea of the type of background you would like to see in the final head shot image. Can it be off white or an elegant grey? Or would you rather photograph the person and cut them out later? This would achieve a pure white background. A conversation with the photographer and discussion about the meeting rooms on site at the office would be a good starting point.
Posted in Corporate Video for Companies, Tips and News from Piranha
Here is a showreel of the corporate videos Piranha has carried out for a variety of businesses both in the UK and abroad. Some of the pieces were talking heads when company directors described what work their organisations were carrying out. Other footage is from company events and parties, and sometimes conferences in London –
Piranha Video Showreel
If you would like to hear more about how we can help you with your video or to discuss your ideas for filming, please do get in touch.
Posted in Tips and News from Piranha
The Leica Noctilux lens on M240 rangefinder camera
The incredible Leica Noctilux lens
OK this post is about an insane lens, insane in more ways than just its huge cost of nearly £8K. This is a lot of money for small amounts of glass and brass, so how can it possibly justify the hefty price tag? Perhaps its neutron star density?
Well, like the volume control in Spinal Tap, this lens goes all the way up to ’11’. In photographic terms its top setting is f0.95, making it the fastest production lens yet made by man. Its light gathering abilities are better than the human eye, which means there isn’t a shoot yet devised that requires available light that cannot be tackled by this lens.
It doesn’t end there. This lens renders images that border on the magical, with sharpness even at its top setting as good as many other lenses at more sober apertures, yet still producing superb colours and contrast.
The image above was taken in very low light and is pin sharp.
The holy grail of all lenses
The expense is down to a meticulous, hand-crafted manufacturing process. Each lens is repeatedly checked by technicians during production, to ensure the highest possible quality of image.
It has long been considered the holy grail of all lenses, so where does this leave my clients?
As recently demonstrated to corporate clients, I use it at for events or conferences where I need discreet but comprehensive coverage using available light only. It’s also fantastic in board room situations where I can use the lens’s incredible razor thin depth of field to isolate individual directors even when they are seated close together.
What this lens allows is corporate photography that is much more interesting and elegant. It offers new solutions to photoshoots, and in the hands of a pro, makes the images for websites and annual reports more attention-grabbing and able to stand out from the crowd.
Of course not every shoot requires available light or shallow depth of field. In normal shooting conditions when used with studio lighting, its colour rendering is unsurpassed. Unlike other lens makers, Leica do not rate ‘sharpness’ as the sole criteria for a lens’s construction and design. For example, the lens is designed to give skin tones a tactile realism, in addition, colour, contrast and even the out of focus areas are extremely important to the overall way an image looks. This applies to all lenses in the Leica range; they are incredible quality and built to last a lifetime. But it’s just as well given the price tags.
This lens is fantastic in board room situations, where I can use the lens's incredible razor thin depth of field to isolate individual directors even when they are seated close together. - Douglas, Photographer
Posted in Tips and News from Piranha
To contact – Helen and Douglas House