Shooting Corporate photography on a budget:
For one of my last jobs I was approached by a web developer asking me to create a corporate content for a website she was building. Her customer was, a newly established, London based accountancy firm.
After I provided them, both the client and the web developer, with my quotations (yes I send two fee options, as you never know, with this sort of customers, what exactly they will want and pay for)- they came back to me saying, as expected, that my fees were too high and they were looking for something more on the budgeting end. My reapply to their request was, that I will help them but I will be covering the photosesion with basic equipment – a DSLR camera, lens and one speedlite/flash. They didn’t mind how equipped, as long as I was going to do it for the fee they were willing to pay – go figure it out.
I wonder if my international partners from Nashville Headshot Photographers A&M Portraits are dealing with same sort of situations and customers – always been curios how photography is marketing over the Atlantic.
Now – one thing to mention here is that is always super risky to go on a location, that you never visited before, lightly equipped – like in my case just with one strobe. I even didn’t know if the offices had access to windows and a daylight.
On arriving, for my big surprise, I found out that the firm was occupying a building – which previously was a Courthouse, so no windows and daylight. I was a bit worried, as how I was going to handle the project in the next 2 hours of photoshooting.
The Corporate Photoshoot schedule:
For the needs of the newly created webiste, I needed to create approximately 14 images of various locations and setups – including around seven corporate portraits, of the staff and the management.
The whole set was quite unusual for accountancy practice – as you can imagine a Courthouse is designed to accommodate lots of people in one place and the majority of the offices were set in the courtroom itself – huge space with very tall dome ceiling. By the way, the glass mosaic dome on the ceiling was the only source of daylight.
Ok it’s all good for now, lots of challenges to deal with – and this is what we photographers like the most, solving problems and making them look good at the end.
Handling the one flash situation:
Before we started with setting up for any of the images, I took a stroll around the building to explore my best options for locations, and how good each location was for me to utilise my only one strobe. Good thing about the building was that all the walls were painted white, which meant I had good surface where to bounce my flash light and turned into large surface, relatively smooth lighting.
For the corporate portraits I pick up the entrance corridor – as it was narrow, compared to the big halls and the lobby inside. Like this I had white backdrop for the portraits and also enough space between me and the model in front and some space behind me, bouncing the flash in more controllable way.
Corporate portraits of the firm’s staff, on the images below:
Another challenging set was a scene where one of the founders of the firm was providing consultation to a customer, we set this shot in the courtroom with the big glass domme – where they had big conference table. The problem here was the ratio between the ambient light coming through the domme and the shadow, less light where the table and the people were. Also the courtroom was huge and its walls were covered with wooden panels – which were to alter the white balance of my strobe, in other words adding more red to the light.
Here I used my speedlight on full power, do to the size of the room, to balance for the ambient light coming from the high ceiling doom.
I needed to color correct the image quite a lot in Photoshop, till I got the result, on the image below:
Then there was an image that needed to be captured from a higher vantage point, as there wasn’t any staircase suitable for this – I needed to claim very tall stepladder. Obviously even on top of the stepladder, I wasn’t able to get perfectly 90 degrees angle – that is why I did a bit of manipulation, retouching in photoshop to get the things done, as they want it.
Basically – the budget corporate photo shoot turned into one wakeup challenge, where I was in this situation with many things to consider and put all my skills and expertise in order to deliver visuals up to the level of quality I strive for.
Corporate and commercial photography is the best way to visualise what company or business do, and the people behind it – without the need of reading hundreds of pages, explaining who they are and what they do.
Personally me, if I’m to start such business and look for quality way to represent who we are and what we do – I wouldn’t compromise on the photography and creating the visuals representing my business, as they will be the first thing potential customers will see about you.
As a London based professional photographer, with good skill sets and many years of experience I can help you create stunning Commercial and Corporate images for your business.
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