Sometimes you get a phone call from a client that really gets your creative juices flowing, and that’s exactly the kind of call I got from Peter at Optima Hair. He’s the kind of guy who knows what he wants, and how he wants his images to feel, but he’s happy to give a fellow-creative free rein to produce something different.
Staff portraits are one of those things that can end up looking very flat and boring. We’ve all seen that white background/half smile shot that basically says, “here are our staff being forced to have their pictures taken even though they really don’t want to and we’ve only give the photographer two minutes per person (our staff are really busy!) so they’re also going to look really awkward”.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The business portrait is a fantastic opportunity to show off your company brand and personality. You can go serious or crazy, corporate or grungy, hipster or anti-hipster (yeah, you try googling “opposite of hipster” and see what you get!) or anything in between.
The point is, you get to tell a story about your company on your terms. Just make sure you’re authentic. People (yes, that means everyone) can easily spot a lie. Over the years we’ve all been bombarded with imagery – from the clean-cut fake smiles of American stock photography to the cringeworthy pictures on social media – and we can spot a fake at twenty paces.
We want real, or at the very least, a polished version of real. If you say you’re a fun-loving, crazy crowd of business people when you’re not, it’s going to show all over your faces with fake smiles and uncomfortable body language (unless your staff are all top end actors).
Anyway back to the point, it’s not about being better, its about being different and memorable. Peter embraces this approach in everything he does. He runs a company that embraces people for who they are, so it was natural for him to want to show his staff in a way that demonstrated their unique personalities and creativity. As you can see, they didn’t hold back!
Back in January I was approached by the Rat Pack Boys to organise a photo shoot to help them relaunch their new website and brand.
Finding a suitable location for the look they were after proved very tricky due to wanting an old world feel with a modern twist. Eventually the wonderful people at Berrow Court in Birmingham came to our rescue and offered us the run of their building for the day.
Here are a couple of the images …
Here’s something a little different from one of my long term projects. The old Nat West Tower is being demolished and I was tasked with taking a portrait of the crane operator some 350 feet up in the air for PR purposes in the regional news as well as national construction press. Taking only minimal gear due to the limited space afforded by the 22 ladders to the top, this was portrait photography on a different level! (Thank you very much I’m here all week!). For those who are interested I took the Profoto B2 pack with one light and the octagonal OCF soft box due to their size and weight advantages. It proved really useful having the additional power over a speed light due to the weather conditions and the dark clouds that gathered as we climbed the tower. Matt from Headline PR acted as a moveable light stand as well as conducting the interview with Bob. It certainly made for a memorable shoot with a 350 foot drop inches away while the wind blew hard and the rain periodically lashed down.
Here’s the abbreviated article and some of the images from the shoot.
I’ve always loved the theatre, so I was very excited when an opportunity came up to shoot a series of images for the Wolverhampton Grand and working with the fabulously creative people in their marketing team and their performers.
The shoot was all about selling the theatre rather than a specific show and the wide variety of entertainment and performances they produce, so no one genre could dominate the images. Working with their marketing team and their agency we’d recce’d and planned a series of images using characters from many of the genres they perform at the theatre. As with all shoots where you have lots of elements coming together the whole team had to pull together to create the scenes we had planned and my two assistants Ben and Jack did a fabulous job of getting everyone and everything in the right place and on time.