Capturing executive portraits can be tricky because they have limited time. And time is the one thing you need to create an engaging portrait of someone. But it’s difficult to relax when you’re surrounded by huge lights/cameras, and when you know the images will be used in every publication your company releases for the next 12 months. However, there is a way to get cracking CEO and executive portraits. I’m an experienced Brisbane executive & CEO portrait photographer. So read on for ways to capture cracking portraits of your CEO and executive team.
Develop a razor sharp brief
The brief covers things like what the background should be, how many images are needed, the clothing/wardrobe required, what the images will be used for, and what the overall look and feel should be. Having a brief means you don’t waste time making decisions while the executive is in front of the camera. This means more time can be spent photographing.
Choose a location with great natural light
This means the ambient light can do all the hard work and the photographer only has to supplement with flash to create elegant portraits. This makes their setup more mobile and less intimidating for the subject. Dark, pokey offices mean the photographer will spend more time lighting and you’ll get fewer images.
Choose a location with plenty of options for backgrounds
Choose something with great architectural or natural details. This means less time is spent moving gear between setups and more time is spent shooting. Don’t be afraid to think about locations outside the office, particularly if it’s been a while since you last renovated.
Give the photographer access to the location well before the shoot
Your executive does not have time to follow the photographer around while they look for suitable backgrounds. So make the location available to at least an hour before the subject arrives. This leaves time for the photographer to scout potential backgrounds and conduct lighting tests. Trust the photographer’s recommendations when it comes to backgrounds. They know what will look good in a photograph and in publication, versus what just looks good to the eye.
Get rid of ‘Hanger’s On’
The only thing worse than being photographed is having someone else watch. Minimising the number of people around while the photos are being taken is advisable. I would limit it to two at most. Usually the communications manager and the CEO’s assistant. They’re the most useful in this situation and, really, why does anyone else need to be there? Everyone else’s thoughts should have been captured during the brief development stage. And you’ve engaged a photographer you trust, so let them execute it.
Beware the Dead Fish
If you’ve skimmed over everything else in this post, just read this one bit – it’s the most important part.
Ironically, the best way to get relaxed, engaging portraits is to take the camera out of the equation. Of course, the photographer needs to be well prepared and have excellent technical chops. But they must also have the ability to hold a conversation with your CEO/exec.
This is vital.
A conversation is the only way to distract the subject from what’s really going on. Distracted, they don’t have time to think about the camera. They relax. You get great portraits. If your photographer is a dead fish, they will not be able to achieve this. So, beware of hiring a dead fish. The vacant look in their eyes usually gives it away.