Corporate Reportage Photography

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.

corporate reportage photography London

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.

corporate reportage photography London

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.

corporate reportage photography London

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.

corporate reportage photography London

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.

corporate reportage photography London

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.

Corporate Headshots on a White Background.

The most popular style of corporate headshot with the subject looking to camera with a white background.

For many years we have been capturing these for clients and it is only recently that we have seen a common problem occurring. Shooting headshots with a white background seems a pretty simple set up and it always was in the past. Clean crisp white Colourama and a diffused light to make it nice and blown would give you and the client exactly the effect they were after. The problems now arise with businesses and individuals putting these headshots onto company websites where they assume the white background on the headshot will match with the white of a webpage. The background will retain some element of tone and hue as the digital camera sensor will always try and level out any colour to give an average recording. You cannot get around this even by flooding the background with white light. Now we try to make clients aware of this but it does sound a little daft to the average person who says they just want a headshot on a white background. We always try and establish the end use for the headshot now as we want to prevent the problem before it arises.

In post-production we remove the headshot from the background and add a white web friendly background in photoshop. An easy process once you know how but as with all photoshop work it really depends on the workflow you use. There are a few tools that allow you to do this but some give much better results than others and one thing is for sure there is no way you can automate the process.

We recently did a shoot in London for a company with their HQ based in Hong Kong. When we sent them the original high-resolution images they were very pleased and we mentioned about the post-production work if they were going to be used on a website. About a month later we received an email noting that the Hong Kong office had flagged some problems with the shots as they were showing some marks on the white background and could we check what we had done incorrectly. After looking at the website screenshots we could tell that the headshots had been cut out incorrectly and this was the problem. The photoshop tool they had used was not that accurate and left pixels in on the white area. We have since gone on to do the cutouts for the company and the problem has been rectified. Describing this problem to clients is not an easy task and telling them it will cost extra in post-production to get the right result tends not to go down to well. We now send samples out so that they can see for themselves that you have to go through with the process.

Sample 1. Standard corporate headshot captured in camera with a white background. Technically correct but flawed for use on a white webpage as it is still retaining tone on the background. You would think that the simple solution would be to add more light to the background but this does not work as it starts to bleed through into the edges of the person and messes up the exposure.

LinkedIn headshot with a white background unedited

Sample 2. Headshot after photoshop post-production. Headshot cut out with a white web friendly colour background added. Clean and crisp and as on this webpage the background matches the white of the webpage.

Corporate headshot with a white background edited

 

If you have had this problem or need any more advise please get in touch and we can talk you through our process and improve your companies headshots. Please see also our previous article on tips for corporate headshot photography