Corporate Publicity Headshots

The assignment: produce publicity headshots of these six company leaders in a straightforward, honest way. There should be lightness, simplicity, nothing dramatic. The shots should be uniform in mood and presentation, so that they can be used together or apart for a variety of applications. 

Putting together something like this is, perhaps surprisingly, more difficult than making a picture of a wild animal or taking a bunch of different portraits of the same person. Because of the need for uniformity, a certain set of limitations imposes itself once the shoot is underway.

After a long shoot, refinement, and sensitive, time-consuming post work, these are the picks.

I picked the Canon 6D and EF 70-200 f/2.8L II USM as the best choice for portrait work. The lens was set to about 135mm, f/5.6. 135 is a great focal length to help people look their best, and f/5.6 is a good compromise between too shallow and too hard to light with speed lights. The shutter was kept at 1/60 to allow the background to appear more white. The camera was set to ISO400 to give the speedlights a break; there would be a lot of rapid shooting and higher ISO allows the flashes to operate with less power. ISO400 on the 6D looks very smooth. The camera was mounted on a tripod and never moved. The subjects were placed on a posing stool between a 50" silver umbrella camera left and a 36" softbox camera right. A large white reflector was placed below. The umbrella speed light was given half a stop more power to slightly increase dimensionality.

Shooting was done in live view mode with the focusing set to face detection so that I could interact face to face with the clients while shooting, and not worry about missing focus. The company publicist was provided with an iPhone running EOS Remote so that he could review the shots live immedately as the exposure was made, and suggest adjustments to poses, etc.

I was glad to do this work, but being alone in the desert taking pictures of sand dunes is always more fun to me than any other kind of shooting.