Overcoming the Pain of the Portrait
After years of directing photo shoots, the phrase ‘no-one likes their picture taken’ is never truer than trying to co-ordinate your own team’s photos. The initial problem of actually getting everyone in the office for a tight schedule, three hour shoot, on the same day, when we are either shooting, training or working with our clients, required a firm hand and some calendar juggling of the highest order. But once we were locked in, the key was for me to try and make it a positive experience. It was also an opportunity for the team to see their Photography Manager actually manage, so I wanted to impress!
However, I didn’t get off to the easiest start when I recommended what people should wear. The PR industry seems to run on people wearing black, so when I politely requested light neutral colours for tops, not too bright and definitely no BLACK (it just doesn’t look great on websites and also lacks definition) there was descent amongst the ranks. This is when the ‘vision’ has to hold firm so I encouraged people to play ball, it is for the greater good after all. Some took it on board with good grace, others sojourned into Victoria and purchased something new. I also stated I wanted a ‘neutral’ daywear colour palette on make-up for the ladies in the office, although I also had to remind the men that perhaps a bit of powder on the forehead could take off any reflective bounce.
On the day of the shoot I had arranged everybody into tight 10 minute slots. We had a fixed camera position for the shoot, some reflectors to highlight facial features and a highly experienced corporate headshot photographer. Once I’d volunteered myself for some frankly horrifying test pictures, we were to ready roll. I always have dance music on in my shoots so there are no uncomfortable silences and the banter continues through the 10 minutes. Generally I think everyone enjoyed the experience. For those who were a little shy, I disappeared out of the room for a few minutes (another trick of mine) so they felt more at ease. For this kind of work we offered each person an online lightbox of their work and asked them to choose their top 3 frames, leaving notes on any ‘polishing’ that might be required – but this was more or less minimal as we had great studio lighting and everything we had ‘in-camera’ dazzled.
The next few days went back and forth with the photographer and there was still a few murmurs amongst the team as nerves grew about the final results, but we all agreed that we had captured the best ‘likeness’ of all of us and that as a bunch, we looked friendly and professional, and I hope gives a little more insight to the wonderful team we have. I enjoy these directing opportunities – especially when the consensus is positive and genuine and I’m looking forward to taking the portable studio sessions to our clients in the coming months!
Craig Gunn, Photography Manager
Check out the end result here >> https://www.wearetnr.com/who-we-are/meet-the-team/