Contemporary Event Photography

We recently covered an event for Confidence Capital Ltd at the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane. Jason was the photographer on the day and his work reminded me of how far event photography has moved on since I first started covering corporate events in the mid 90s.

Back in the day all photographers were still shooting on film and this had restrictions which light levels would dictate what could be achieved at most events and especially evening events. The standard and accepted way to photograph corporate events was to use medium format cameras with a on camera flash system and try and balance out the low level ambient light within the event location. This method meant most results were posed due to the size of the camera and the need to pose people so the flash lighting was direct and did not cause to many shadows and that it lit people in an even way. I was never a big fan of flash lighting and even less when it was on camera. In my opinion flash is a very harsh light and daylight balance which is never the best source of light when photographing people.

My preferred way of photographing people was using ambient light and catching natural poses with 35mm camera and a fast long lens. I had been using a fast B&W film for many years and by pushing it several stops I was able to shoot in most low level lighting conditions and get unposed photographs at corporate events which clients preferred as this method of working was much less intrusive without large cameras being moved around with flash lighting firing off during key points in the event proceedings. When I went out selling my event photography portfolio most corporate clients were very impressed with the photos and would ask me to quote on upcoming events.

This is where my style and process hit a problem. To shoot in an informal and reportage manner at events you had to shoot lots and lots of film. As it was 35mm you had not polaroid proofing system so you had make sure you had the shots the client needed by covering all aspects and all angles and basically shooting all the time with the knowledge that when the whole commission was edited down at least 10% would be great stuff and fulfil the clients needs. Shooting lots of film meant my quotes/budget were higher than the traditional method so I was only commissioned for key events within the business calendar and this restricted the growth of my event photography service. This brings me back to our recent event that Jason photographed and how the creation of high end professional digital cameras with very high quality file capture and pro software have allowed the contemporary event photographers to cover commissions in reportage way within the same price bracket as any other style of event photography.

Here are some samples from Jason’s commission and we can see from these three images how the camera’s digital sensor and the post production software has managed to level out the contrast caused by the harsh down lighters often found in commercial halls. The most common form of lighting are these small tungsten spotlights which are recessed in the ceiling and give out small pools of direct light in little patches around the building. These make taking photographs very tricky as a person under one of these lights has a very bright light coming directly down on them and this can cause harsh shadows on their face and especially under the eyes. These samples show how Jason has managed to cancel out this unpleasant lighting and come up with photos which have a good range of tones and thin shadows.

contemporary event photography in London

london-event-photography-commission-3

contemporary event photography in London

These next two sample images show that the contemporary style of reportage corporate photography in London can be captured by using a minimal amount of photographic equipment. No need for flash lighting and even using fast long lens with the aid of high ISO setting that no longer cause noise in shadow areas of the image. This allows Jason freedom to move quickly into positions to photograph key moments within the event in a non intrusive way.

contemporary event photography in London

contemporary event photography in London

This last image really brings home how good current software is at levelling out contrast. If you had been at the event the screen on the right of the person would have appeared much brighter and the speaker would have been in semi darkness as this would have allowed the projected screen image to have been seen clearly. We have levelled out the contrast so that the shadow and bright areas are visible and still look natural.

contemporary event photography in London

For further samples of Jason’s and our other corporate photographers work please visit our contemporary corporate photography page.

Corporate Photographers London Website Review

Having worked as a corporate portrait photographer since the early 1990s I have gained plenty of experience from shooting commissions and also marketing and promoting my services. I recently asked for my new corporate photographers London website to be reviewed on a business forum and received some interesting feedback. On the whole the advice was positive and I took these comments on board. One comment lead me to think about my services in a new way for the first time in over 25 years.

The comment was simply ‘what will the client get from commissioning you’? At first I thought that would be fairly obvious from the website that was full of sample portraits I had spent ages selecting as my best work and sure that anyone in business would simply fall over themselves to commission and use for their marketing. Thinking about it again, I realised that my potential clients needed more information and direction as to the processes in capturing their portraits and to their end uses.

My experience had allowed me to know how to get the best result in the quickest time from any commission but unless I can convey that to potential clients who are totally unaware of my experience then how much work could I be missing out on. The more I thought about this the more samples came to mind on several questions that kept recurring when I was talking to clients about future commissions. The most common was ‘We can’t do the shoot here as our offices are a mess’. When clients say this I quickly reassure them with samples of offices we have shot in and made them look great by being selective in what we get in shot and by blurring backgrounds so that office shapes are all you can see in the portrait photos. But this left me thinking if past potential clients had not raised this question with me, how many commissions have I missed out on?

Another query which often comes up is ‘Do you offer make-up services’? And as before I explain that this is an expensive extra and we can retouch in post production to a very high standard included in the cost of the shoot.

These simple and repeated queries are swiftly dealt with but it makes so much more sense to have the as part of my marketing and clear to see on my website. It could be said that the site might become to wordy and nobody likes to wade through lists of information especially on the internet but that is where good website design plays a major factor in getting your services across in a way that is simple on the surface but all the information is easily to hand if a client wants to find it.

The more I looked into these factors the more sense it makes. lets face it most people do not like having their photo taken. In fact I would go further and say 90% of my clients say that they need to get it done but would rather be doing anything else. So we have a client in a position where they need to get their headshot taken normally for business marketing. They don’t know the processes involved and I now understand that it is better to hold their hand with practical guidance rather than to bombard them with a portfolio of our wonderful headshots!

This leaves me in the position of having to redesign our corporate photographers website to accommodate these findings.

We supply the full range of corporate photography services but on the whole most of our work is corporate headshots. Our clients range from individuals who may want a professional LinkedIn headshot to large corporate companies that might want thousands of staff photographed in office locations all over the world. Within this service we offer a selection of five different styles of headshots.

1. Business social media profile photos. These are mainly for LinkedIn and when clients first approach us it is normally with a vague enquiry that they need to get one done, but they have not really given it much thought past the point of what it will cost. I would normally give them a price and send them a link to our corporate headshots page which has a range of different styles. What is interesting here is that they will agree to the cost but not give me any feedback on which of the styles they prefer. I can see now that this is a area where my attending to their needs and explaining the benefits of what we offer is being lost and it is an area I need to address.

LinkedIn profile photos London LinkedIn profile photography Mayfair financial sector corporate headshot

2. London location headshots. This is service we introduced about 3 years ago and was aimed at clients who wanted to show they worked in London and we would subtly feature elements/views of London in the background. These have become popular with individuals who might not have office in The City but often work in London as consultants. We have also seen interest from overseas business people who want to show they also work in the UK financial sectors. The interesting factor with these is that we have had clients who have large numbers of staff and they have requested this service. This is not always ideal as it can mean the client has to arrange the logistics of getting all their people out of the office and this can be impractical.

Corporate headshots with St Pauls by London photographers Business portrait with London backdrop Corporate headshot by The Thames

3. Photoshopped London background headshots were offered this year to get around the problem that faced large offices of people who wanted the London backdrop. It also meant the client could choice the from our range of backgrounds and the headshots would be shot in their offices against a plain wall and we would photoshop in the London views in post production. This process is visible on the site but needs to be better in the way we expalin to potential businesses the benefits of the service.

City of London headshots by corporate photographers City of London business headshots

 

4. Studio headshots. These we offer if the client wants the ‘studio’ effect with and the benefits of controlled lighting. Many of our clients assume that to get a professional photographers headshot it must be taken in a studio. This really is not the case and we often advise against this style as it is not contemporary in our eyes as we prefer to capture a flattering headshot in a real business environment. Here again I need to explain the benefits of us attending the clients offices with our pro lighting set up. It is less time consuming for the client as we can set up in a empty office and the sitter only has to attend the shoot for approx 10 -15 mins and incurs the same charges as they would if they were to take a couple of hours out of their busy day to attend our studio.

corporate headshots in London studio London studio corporate photography London studio corporate photography

5. Reportage or natural headshots. These are proving to be very popular with start-up companies and clients who like to show an open door to potential business. We have a formula that works very well and allows us to capture very natural and also known as ‘action’ shots of business people going about their day to day work. This looks simple but is in fact time consuming as the photographer is waiting for the natural moments to happen and not able to control the session as easily as posed headshots. Again this is a process I need to explain to clients as it is often assumed these take a couple of minutes to capture and that they have been staged.

reportage corporate photographers London reportage business headshots London

This leads to me to the redesign of our current corporate photographers London website. I need to site to showcase our portfolio and I need to be able to get all of the above points as well a pricing, our team of photographers, my role in the company, how commissioned shoots proceed and complete.

Let me start with the team of photographers. There are eight in total and all have the ‘in house’ style for shooting our headshots and corporate events. In the past I have had a page for the photographers with sample portfolios for each photographer. This did not work as at no point did a client request any particular photographer. I feel now that clients coming to our site do not have the time to go over eight portfolios and therefore this has to be changed to showing that we have a great team with strength in numbers and able to cover all commissions on any dates, but also not swamp the client with portfolios of individual photographers.

Pricing is a difficult area as 90% of our competition do not show their rates on their website. Currently we do not display our fees but we need to give the client an idea of pricing structures, how we charge our time, what is included in the quote and what extra expenses will or maybe charged. Then there is post production rates which need to be explained as often clients will not be aware of what can be done and how much it will cost.

Although I still undertake corporate photography commissions my role is now more handling quotes, assigning photographers to jobs and handling post production and invoicing.

This is a simple process of a single commission.

Pre shoot procedure.

Please wear something you are comfortable in and avoid wearing white shirts if you are not going to be wearing a jacket as they appear too bright in the final images and can look washed out.

Please advise us if you have a certain style or background you require for your headshot and if it has a particular usage. Unless otherwise directed we will replicate the style found on our website.

Shoot procedure.

It takes 10 mins to set up equipment and normally 15-20 mins per person for a portfolio of approx 20 images. Within these 20 photographs we will do a variety of poses and expressions so you have a good choice to select from.

Post shoot procedure.

We will email you a full portfolio of preview images with our invoice. Once the invoice is paid we will email a high res image download link.

After you have made a selection of 2 images from the high res please email the original file numbers to us and we will standard retouch the images and return them.

I am currently looking and working with website designers to restructure our current site and interested in talking to any web designers who have ideas and processes that could assist me with my new aims. Past experience with working on photographers sites is not important but an understanding of my aims and creative input to some of the areas I need to address is required.

Please see our client reviews on our corporate photographer London page.

Profile portrait at St Paul’s

Profile portrait at St Pauls London

The client called us in the morning and asked if we could do a shoot that afternoon in the St Paul’s area as he needed to send a portrait off that evening for a magazine article he was to be featured in. We did the shoot mid afternoon and had the finished image back to him and the journalist by close of play that same day.

© Corporate Photographers London

City Background Headshots

Shoot for TAM Asset Management Ltd at their offices in City Tower, 40 Basinghall Street.
We were commissioned to some corporate headshots against a white background to be used on their new website.
Once we noticed the view out of the boardroom window we did a sample shot to show what could be achieved if we used the City as the background. This gives the headshots a sense of a corporate environment and more depth which adds a visual interest.

London headshots using The City as background

London headshots using The City as background

City headshot with corporate London behind

© Corporate Photo Agency

 

 

Fly On The Wall Office Photography

Commission for Sumitomo Corporation Europe Ltd who asked us to capture some ‘fly on the wall’ photography at their offices in Vintners Place on Upper Thames Street.

London office photography Sumitomo Corporation

Sumitomo-Corporation-office-photography-London-2

Sumitomo-Corporation-office-photography-London-4

Sumitomo-Corporation-office-photography-London-5

Sumitomo-Corporation-office-photography-London-6

Our photographer Jason had worked with Sumitomo before and had captured a range of headshots for their online marketing. These were to be used on their website and as a part of a new brochure which was using their people as part of the new corporate branding.

© Corporate Photography Ltd

Fly On The Wall Office Photography

Corporate Office Headshots

corporate-photographer-Jason-1 Photographer Jason

Commission this week for Acadian Asset Management at their offices in Cannon Street. We used the boardroom wall as a backdrop and the natural light to create a less traditional style corporate headshot.

office corporate photography cannon Street London

Boardroom corporate photography cannon Street London

Natural corporate photography cannon Street London

© Corporate Photography Ltd

Corporate Team Photography

Corporate-photographer-Alex-1 Photographer Alex

Commission for Logos who contacted us and required a team photo the following day. Their offices are in St Pauls Churchyard and we used the steps at the front of the catherdral to arrange the partners and frame the photo.

Corporate team photo at St Pauls

© Corporate Photography Ltd

Business Magazine Photography

Commission for The Big Partnership Agency who asked us to take some portraits for The Glasgow Herald Business Magazine who were running a feature on a Scottish developer who was now working in London.

London skyline portrait for business magazine

© Corporate Photography Ltd.

Corporate Action Photography

corporate-photographer-Jason-1 Photographer Jason
Reportage corporate photography commission for Lean Construction at their event meeting in Moorgate. They asked us to capture some action photos of their team in discussion for their partner profile pages on their website.

corporate office action photos in London

corporate meeting action photos in London

corporate meeting action photos in London offices

corporate office action photos in London

corporate office people action photos in London

© Corporate Photography Ltd.

Profile Headshots

Photographer Dan Photographer Dan

Small portfolio shoot for a client who asked us for some clean and simple headshots for use on his LinkedIn page and for his other business profile pages.

Profile headshot on white background 1

Profile headshot on white background 2

Profile headshot on white background 3

Profile headshot on white background 4

© Corporate Photography Ltd