When we are approached to undertake corporate reportage photography in London we often get asked to photograph the subjects ‘in action’ or ‘fly on the wall’ as the word reportage is rarely applied to the corporate world.
The term reportage comes originally from press and broadcast media and describes the use of photography for reporting the news. The classic reportage images are usually in black and white and feature iconic moments in history. The term has now spread into most forms of photography from weddings to commercial and generally means a more natural photo, being less posed and contrived.
Reportage is not for all photographers as it is less controllable and you can be tripped up if you do not allow sufficient time and have a few little tricks to rely on. To get the corporate meeting and general office life photos take patience and concentration. There is no point wandering around the corporate building in the hope you will stumble on a great reportage photo. You need to recce the areas you can access and then decide which have the most potential and then wait for the interesting moments to happen. You also need to allow time for the people in the office to forget you are there and get on with their working day. When people are focused on their work you can capture some great reportage images. Certain points in the day lend themselves to better opportunities. Meetings are ideal as you have a group of people who are not moving around all focused on what they need to discuss. You get people looking professional and sometimes smiling and enjoying there work.
Lets look at some corporate reportage photos and understand how they were captured.
Taken in a meeting with the photographer using the back of a person as a out of focus shape and then capturing the director as he was talking to another member of his staff. It is best to be at the same height as your subject so you the photographer looks like he was sat at the meeting room table. Best to capture plenty of images as with all people/reportage you get plenty of out takes when people are talking and smiling.
These two samples were taken at a presentation but show the variety if you move around the room and test out better angles. The one thing you can be sure of in a corporate presentation is that most of the people will be looking at the presenter most of the time. So use this to position yourself to get a natural and action photograph.
When shooting reportage photography be open to the corporate environment and use elements of the office to assist your images. We often blur people to make them a part of the composition and not always the main point of interest. Without the person this photograph would be pretty bland the the figure who is talking brings the photograph together.
As with all creative arts you need to balance between peaks and troughs so remember the close ups and wider shots. Close ups are great for showing details of corporate life and they are simple to capture and as they often do not show an individuals face have a wider use on company websites as they can be used as generic corporate images.
Use interesting compositions to make the reportage photos graphic more interesting and this allows designers areas to drop in text. The photos above use the office environment to make shapes and reflections which take a fairly ordinary photo and give it an edge.
Use reflections to create quirky and unique corporate reportage photography. As long as the idea and execution of the photo is correct then anything can be used within the office area which is not the case in most other forms of corporate photography. Reflections on glass can be turned to the photographers benefit which you would normally try and avoid but in the above photos they add the images.
Lastly always consider every aspect of the clients building and we took this reportage photograph after we had finished the shoot. We were leaving the building and saw this image. Balancing people with building and signs can create excellent corporate photography. Without any one element in this photo it would not work as well but you could not take the man out of the image as he holds it together.
As with all reportage photography you have to be open to ideas and have plenty of time to explore them. We always tell our corporate clients in London that the reportage images are not just snapped as we wander around their offices. They will need to let has recce and spend several hours on site.
If this post was helpful you might like our tips on corporate headshot photography.