I was recently contacted by Marc who wanted a new portrait for sending out to use as a header portrait for editorial articles in trade magazines for the industry he is involved in. His previous photo had been take by a friend of mine a few years ago and it was time for an update. My friend is now living in warmer climes on the other side of the planet so he recommended me to step into his shoes.
I met Marc at his home in NW London one morning. He wanted something professional but relaxed and open. Looking around the rooms available we decided on three scenarios and proceeded to set up and take portraits. First was the sitting room with loads of natural light. In fact, with his back to the window something was going to loose in the contrast stakes as it was quite bright outside. First I tried a reflector to lift the light a bit but it wasn't going to be enough. Out came the handy and reliable Elinchrom ELB400 with the 105cm Deep Silver umbrella. Just splash of photons with a very low setting was needed to lift the light on Marc and allow the keeping of some detail in the window frames and outside. The dog 'Bambi' was a reluctant but cooperative companion in the photo.
Marc had chosen to wear a blue shirt but his wife was definitely of the opinion that white would look better. So while I moved the ELB400 to the next location he popped off to change shirts. I really wanted to make a portrait using the fabulous book case as a background in the office. From a photographic point of view the space was quite small so I had to switch from the 50mm lens to a 24-105mm zoom. The ELB400 was placed near the window to boost the natural light and get a proper catchlight in the eye. By this time Bambi was getting a bit fed up being pushed around and posed so she sloped off to curl up in her bed.
The last portraits were on the front porch. The ELB400 still adding a kick of light into the shadow. Even though I carried a lot of gear I didn't have a ladder in my bag. Luckily Marc had a step ladder close to hand. I'm reasonably tall at 6ft but standing at the bottom of the steps while shooting Marc at the top of the steps wasn't a very flattering angle. With the step ladder I was at least able to adjust my height for some different perspectives. Note to self....find a lightweight 6ft ladder which folds into a small pouch for inclusion in my portable kit bag ;-)
A successful shoot with a great client. Of all the images taken that morning the final image chosen by Marc is the one below with the blue shirt and friendly pooch. And you know what, despite my favourite portraits being the ones above, the selected portrait is the one which has the most relaxed yet professional feel. Exactly what the client wanted.
Keywords: business portrait, businessman, deep silver umbrella, editorial, elb400, elinchrom, london, portrait, professional portrait
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