In terms of the challenges facing a corporate photographer with this kind of portrait session, its back to the key skill of ‘capturing a moment’. As the shoot involved slightly different set ups, a large soft-box was used and had to be moved to allow for carefully tailored lighting for each person. This was made slightly easier by keeping the lighting simple, with no backlights, just a few strategically placed reflectors. There was some ambient light from in the room also, which gives the portraits a nice natural feel. The background was kept soft by using a wide aperture and a portrait lens.
The job was for international insurance firm Beazley PLC. The firm “are market leaders in many of our chosen lines, which include professional indemnity, property, marine, reinsurance, accident and life, and political risks and contingency business.” They have offices in Europe, the US, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Australia, but on the day their board of directors were located in their Dublin headquarters.
I had limited time to set up and shoot, so time was tight from the outset. To add to the difficulties every person had to be shot in a different pose to create the impression of a meeting in progress. The real meeting was happening in a different boardroom, so board-members arrived in pairs, each one to be photographed across the table while the other chatted to them from the other side.
This helped to create a deliberate angle so that no-one was sitting directly face to camera. It also helped to relax each sitter as they were always chatting to a familiar face. It gives these ‘working portraits’ or ‘environmental portraits’ a level of dynamism over traditional static portraits, whilst keeping a relaxed look. The shoot had to be done in a similar style to match existing photos from a corporate photographer in England. This is often the case with companies that are headquartered in different countries. Part of the brief was to process the job in Black and White and colour, which I’ve shown here.
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