Executive Portrait in Studio and Location

Usually the first image you see in an annual report or corporate brochure is a portrait of the CEO. In many ways this image is the most important photo in the publication. He or she sets the tone for the company’s culture. At the same time you will usually only get minutes to make this image. I always thought the time limit was a bit contrary to the images importance. You know what they say “it is what it is!”

Sometimes you’ll have to set up a studio on location to execute this image and sometimes you may be required to shoot in the factory, office or out in front of the corporate headquarters.

In any event you will need to be prepared. Lights will need to be set up in advance, exposure calculated, a location selected and a test shot taken to check your lighting. Use simple tools that are easily set up and taken down. Sometimes if requested you’ll have to have a make up person there just to deal with hair and face touch up…especially when photographing a female.

You need to do your homework…basic knowledge of the company’s products and history will quickly be appreciated by your subject and be sure to dress accordingly.

The rapport you create during the shoot based on your conversation and direction will make or break getting a killer shot.

You can choose to shoot one person or more. The style today is much less stuffy than it was just 10 years ago. The suit and tie concept is becoming less and less what the marketing people want to present to the share holders and customers. The people can be involved in a meeting or even at work. There’s also still nothing wrong with a clean tight portrait where the subjects eyes are to camera.

Your assignment is to shoot two portraits one on location and one in the studio using lights. The location shot can either be inside or outside…controlling the light is key! You will hand in two mounted prints either color or black and white.

Aside from the photography in this class you will learn logistical skills in setting up your shoots. In this case you can ask one of your instructors or other AIPX employees to pose for you. You will learn to introduce yourself and be persuasive, offer to show your work to show that you are in fact a student and always offer to give the folks free prints.

Other points of contact for this assignment and perhaps other class projects could be:

Fire Stations, Police stations, Hospitals, Local Printers, even Graphic Design firms

Below are some examples:

Photos by Tim Pannell

Photos by Gregory Heisler

remember lighting via a formula or ratios will become a crutch ALWAYS LIGHT WITH YOUR EYES…CREATE A STORY!

When lighting don’t be concerned about shadows. They great drama and describe a mood and build form and texture. Proper use of available light can be very beautiful, if highlights in the background blow out…just let them. Photography today is al about believability.

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