Creating personality-driven imagery that represents the people behind a business is something that Cooper + O’Hara Photography believes separates good marketing/branding from bad. When Thomas and I were contacted by The Met Agency to re-do the portraits for The Wooding Group that’s exactly what we set out to do – create compelling portraits that were professional, but also authentic and approachable.
We’ve worked with The Met Agency in the past and we were excited to do so again. Not only is the work they do fantastic, but they’re just a pleasure to be around. They work great as a team and know how to have fun and be professional at the same time. We had a blast on this shoot because The Wooding Group also mirrors those same qualities.
Bringing The Studio To Them
The agency and the company had the great idea to bring the “photography day” out of the office or studio and into a more comfortable setting at Debra and Tom’s home.
We often bring the photography studio to offices – setting up lights or seamless in an un-used conference room – it definitely adds convenience to the client, who only has to be pulled away from their work for a few minutes before getting on with their day. This situation was even better because all the staff were able to dress nicely and be prepared to do the photos, but while also enjoy the extra comfort that being in the home afforded, especially because it was a familiar setting. This comfort definitely shows in these images.
Photographing Individuals For A Group Composite
Pictured above are the full-length portraits we did of the executives and a bit further down are a few of the head-and-shoulders shots of the rest of staff that were used to compile the group shot.
There are two huge benefits to working this way.
1. The photos can be used in the profiles/bios for the individuals, as well as composited for the group photo.
2. When any changes happen in the corporation, like a new edition to staff, we can simply photograph that person in the same lighting setup and add them to the group photo.
This is a big plus for any corporation that wants to keep an updated profile on who they are as a company. No more waiting two years to finally take a new group photo.
These portraits were lit with a 3-light setup.
47″ Paul C. Buff Octabox with Grid. Light was adjusted and feathered to avoid reflections in glasses.
64″ Paul C. Buff PLM Umbrella with a diffuser cover on it. Located directly behind camera straight on towards subject. Also a reflector disc was used on the opposite side of the main-light to fill in some of the face and neck.
Light with 7″ reflector bounced 45 degrees up and backwards into the ceiling to light the background fairly evenly (though there is some fall-off towards the bottom). This is a trick we use to quickly light a background if we don’t want to take up as much space or time. For the full-length shots we bounced the light from a small speedlight into the bottom floor area to bring the value up to the rest of the background.
take-aways from this setup:
We’ve done other more complex setups but we’ve found the direct fill of the PLM works well to fill in the contrast-ier light of a gridded octabox.
The simple bounce light from the ceiling works great to light a background, though if you shooting a lot more full-length and need it perfectly white from floor to ceiling we recommend lighting using stripboxes from the sides to get things completely even.
Everything you can do to simplify and pare down will bring the focus back to what is essential – spending time on getting the subject comfortable in front of the camera and developing their trust in you.