Corporate Photographer Assignment
As a Pittsburgh Corporate Photographer, there are some projects that are a lot of fun to shoot. Good SEO and a good corporate photography portfolio will get you the occasional magazine assignment and this one was perfect for a corporate photographer that specialized in shooting people.
Corporate photography assignment for trade journal
This shoot was for a trade journal (Response Magazine) having to do with marketing and they needed to have a marketing executive photographed for the cover of the magazine. I also was asked to shoot a few additional shots for the interior article that related to the cover photo. That was the assignment and what’s below was what went into completing the shoot. I figure that potential clients and student corporate photographers might be interested in the process of a typical corporate photography shoot.
Know the story that your photos will be illustrating
A typical corporate shoot usually starts off with an email telling me a little about the potential shoot, the budget of the shoot, my availability, and if I’m interested in the project. After that’s all figured out, it’s time to get into the details.
For this assignment, I found out that the subject was as a Healthcare marketing executive that was responsible for a very successful commercial. (Sample commercial and reason for the story) The commercial has based on humor, so the photos need to reflect that fact.
Ask for client and subject suggestions
The Art Director of the magazine wanted to tie the still photos to the commercial, which in the case of this project, was pretty easy. In the commercials, a woman waited in a doctor’s exam room cover in post-it notes, listing all the questions she didn’t want to forget to ask. The subject suggested that we use a local statue and cover it with post-it notes to replicate the commercial. I thought the idea was a good one, so we at least had a starting point.
I scheduled a visit with my contact at the healthcare company so that we could scout for potential locations. Since we needed to shoot a cover photo and two support photos too, the Art Directer mentioned that she would prefer multiple locations. During the visit, I looked for a place where I could isolate the subject with an attractive background that would look good when shot with minimum focus. By using limited focus, I could create space that wasn’t too busy for the type to be overprinted.
Know the possible uses of your corporate photos
For this assignment, I know that one image was to be used for a cover photo, which means I needed to leave room above and to one side of the subject, for the type. The masthead or magazine title goes above and the article titles will be listed below that. The other two photos could be either horizontal or vertical. They said they would work with whatever I gave them. I ended up giving them two verticals and one horizontal.
Before the shoot, I ask the Art Director for several examples for examples of previous projects so that I could see what they liked. It’s not that I wanted to copy anything, I just wanted to get a feel for the kinds of shots they were used to. These samples also let me know that they were good with verticals or horizontals for the inside shots.
The backgrounds of your photos should relate to the article
Whenever a Corporate Photographer plans his shoot, it’s important that the background not only looks great but also relate to the content of the article. In this case, the statue worked well in tieing the content to the background, and the post-it notes in the second shot did the same. The third shot was a little more generic but did relate a little in that it was shot in the lobby of the corporate headquarters.
Simplify backgrounds for easy type overprint
Like I mentioned before, creating limited focus is a great wat to make the background “soft” enough so that any copy one the page would be easily read. If the corporate photographer can create fields of color, with little detail, it tends to be visually appealing and great for the covers of magazines.
Your subject’s expression should match mood of the article
My favorite way of always getting the correct expression is to shoot every shot with the subject giving me a range of expressions, but with this project, I know that I needed to work mainly for the big smiles. The Commercial that was the inspiration for the article was humorous, so it only made sense that the subject should convey that emotion too.
Remember who’s your client
There will be times, especially with a magazine shoot, where the subject has suggestions or demands that don’t coincide with the Art Director’s instructions. In these cases, as a corporate photographer, you need to walk the political tightrope and make both parties happy. The bottom line is that you owe your allegiance to the people that are paying you. That’s not always easy to do, but it’s a skill every good corporate photographer needs to develop.
Michael Ray Photography
2820 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222