It seems like I've had a photo studio in my home for a couple of decades. In 2017, my wife and I moved to a new home that has the best studio yet. It's actually a space that was intended to be a formal living room and dining area in one rather long room. It has hardwood floors and two large windows which provide lovely daylight.
Of course, I still have my professional studio lighting system, but I really enjoy working with daylight when it's available. I will show you some examples of that in these first four images:
You can really adjust the light by using reflectors to move it around the studio. I have a folding white reflector that's seven feet tall!
Now here's an example of what happens when you mix daylight (coming from behind the subject) with artificial light from the front
The next three images were created using the studio strobe system. There is no fabric backdrop used, so it still looks like the subject is sitting in a fairly typical room.
The next photo uses a white backdrop behind the model and the full-power studio light system. In this mode, my studio looks like any other photo studio.
The final photo shows the full studio when there is no photoshoot going on. The pieces of furniture are used as props which can be moved around or taken out completely. A large fabric backdrop can be positioned along the back wall of the room when someone wishes to have the traditional studio look.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
An Executive Photoshoot in Downtown Portland, Oregon
One of the services I offer is what I call an "Executive Photoshoot." I consider it to be quite similar to a "personal brand photoshoot" or even a "social media photoshoot."
The goal of all these photoshoots is to create images that the client can use to tell a story on the internet. I've done personal brand photoshoots for writers and bloggers who want fun photos to illustrate their online work. I've also done social media photoshoots for people who just want images to share with their friends - images that show their lifestyle and their families.
The photoshoot you see here was done for a Portland, Oregon attorney who was in the process of finding a new position in the corporate world. He wanted extremely professional photos that showed his forceful personality and formidable intellect.
We did the entire shoot in about two hours. The first four photos were taken on the top floor of a Portland parking structure.
In the background you can see the Pioneer Courthouse, which we felt was an important element in the story.
My client also owned a high performance BMW and had extensive race track experience. We felt this was another part of his story and tried to create images that would make it interesting.
After shooting in the parking structure, we walked over to the old Pioneer Courthouse for a closeup of the historic building.
My client was quite pleased with his images and immediately began using them in his marketing efforts. This is a good example of a very basic Executive photoshoot that was completed in one morning. They can easily be more complex, involving multiple locations at various times.
This shoot was done entirely with a Canon 5D Mark III and various lenses. Lighting when we used it, was provided by a single Alien Bees B1600 with a medium sized umbrella.
A few weeks ago, a client asked me to help her create some great photos for her social media campaign. The purpose was to promote herself as a yoga instructor and personal trainer. She wanted the photos to show her outdoors having fun, looking sexy and being the picture of perfect health.
We talked about several possible locations to do the shoot and settled on two places in the Columbia River Gorge. This shoot took place on a cloudy day in May of 2016. The client received more than the usual number of images, because she wanted a wide variety to choose from as she designed her extensive social media advertising campaign. The photos will also be used on her web site and blog.
Our first location was at a small waterfall, with plenty of lush ferns and native rock. In order to give her the greatest flexibility, I made sure to shoot both horizontal and vertical images.
Leaving the waterfall, we drove to a location farther East that would allow a nice view of the river and the cloud filled sky. The look for this part of the shoot required hiking boots or swimsuit.
My client and I were both very pleased with the results. We spent approximately five hours in the gorge and created more than enough images for her needs. She will be using these in her blog and social media posts for the next six months at least. Already, she has had a big increase in followers on Twitter and Facebook. She was kind enough to allow me to share these images to show how a social media photoshoot can work for you!
There are several ways to approach a senior portrait session. Usually the senior talks it over with his or her parents and comes to me with a theme in mind. In this case, they were interested in featuring some of the local landmarks of their hometown, Vancouver, Washington.
In this area, it seems pretty standard to do senior portraits outdoors, which can be tricky during the rainy season. Fortunately, cloudy days can make for some great photographs. As long as it isn't raining enough to damage the camera gear or dampen the hair, we can create great images.
One classic Vancouver landmark is the Interstate bridge and you can use the river itself as a neutral background for a closeup portrait.
A interesting new landmark is the amazing tentacle sculpture on Main Street. We got several fun shots here.
Esther Short Park makes a great place for a photoshoot on a cloudy weekday. On weekends it can be a bit too crowded.
Watch out for that salmon!
The photos you see here are a pretty good example of my style. This shoot took about two hours. The young lady was delightful and only needed a few minutes to get into the mood. I feel we captured her personality pretty well.
Her parents were quite pleased and she loved sharing the pix online with her friends and relatives.
Not All Headshots Are the Same!
When someone contacts me to arrange for a headshot photo session, they are sometimes a bit surprised when I start asking a lot of questions. After all, they think, isn't a headshot simply a portrait that shows only the head and shoulders?
There are actually many choices to make when doing a headshot session. First, we need to establish the purpose of the photos. Do you need a corporate headshot? Or perhaps you are an actor, writer, musician or model who needs professional images to promote yourself?
Once we have that established, there are various questions that come up. What kind of lighting? What kind of background? For example, if your headshot is for a corporate website, does the photo need to look just like all the other photos of corporate employees? If everyone else used a white background, it might look out of place if yours has a black background. Did everyone else wear a suit for their photos? If so, you need to do the same. Corporate headshots should always be done indoors with professional lighting and a plain backdrop, usually white or gray. This example shows a mottled gray/white background - that's about as exotic as you should get!
Actors and musicians have more leeway. Their headshots can be done outdoors like this one on the Vancouver waterfront.
Writers are fun to work with, because their headshots can take on the flavor of their writing. For example, this lovely lady writes romance novels and wanted a sexy headshot, not something you normally think of when discussing headshots.
If you're an actor, musician, artist or model, you do have a lot of choices - it just depends on the image and mood you wish to project. These shoots can be a lot of fun. I tend to do most of them in urban areas, either around old buildings or on scenic waterfronts. If you can get out of the classic head and shoulders box, you then have room to create a classy, playful or sporty image.
So the next time someone tells you that you need a good headshot, take some time to think about your options. Your headshot photo makes a big impression on all who view it. Make it represent your special personal brand.