Nadav Kander was recently commissioned by the Telegraph Magazine to photograph Boris Johnson for their cover.
Kander is an acclaimed and award-winning photographer whose collections are shown worldwide, including the National Portrait Gallery.
The article detailed, in layman’s terms, the effort and preparation that goes into shooting a portrait. Kander explained that he studied multiple images of Boris beforehand “to familiarise himself with the subtle nuances of his face and body”; had meetings with the Telegraph Magazine to discuss concepts; and spent at least three hours preparing the lighting for the shoot on the day.
Of course, the one element above all others that is needed to turn a picture into a portrait is talent, and Kander has plenty of it. Boris is a much photographed person and Kander’s desire to ensure he doesn’t repeat the way a person has been photographed previously is not easy.
This is the final photograph used for the front cover and I think it works beautifully. You can see the Boris we all know (love him or loathe him) with a halo of his trademark messy blond hair. But this portrait goes so much further, revealing far more than the one-dimensional character we usually see and offering hints to the personality behind the public image. It’s creative portrait photography at its best.
You can look at more images from the shoot and read the whole article here.
My daughter’s a Scout and when her troop leaders asked if any parents would like to go along and share any expertise they may have, I thought I’d have a go; so last Friday I headed off to teach a bunch of Scouts how to make a professional video.
I started the session by chatting to the group about all the things you have to take into consideration before you start filming – backgrounds, lighting, sound etc. Then I showed them some TV ads and we talked about coming up with ideas and the need for detailed planning and preparation before the shoot can even start. Having imparted my great wisdom(!), I split the troop into several groups, armed each with a video camera and set them the challenge of creating their own very own ad.
I’d like to say that each group, having digested my talk about planning and preparation, spent time brainstorming ideas and planning the production. I’d like to say that – I really would… but of course, we’re talking about a bunch of 11 to 16 year olds and consequently the planning phase of the process was over in a nano-second! They had professional video cameras to play with and weren’t going to waste a second with boring old planning!
Despite the prep phase being given little consideration – and despite countless takes being halted mid way because they’d forgotten to press the play button – they actually got some pretty good results. One group produced an ad for a time machine and another an anti-drugs campaign. The third group had decided to produce an ad for the very video camera they were shooting with, but saw the error of their ways when they realised they couldn’t actually film it because they only had one camera!
They may not have been as prepared as the Scout motto requires, but we had a fun evening and hopefully they learnt a little something about the working life of a videographer.
Photographers have been in the news this week but unfortunately the light being shone is not a positive one. It’s been reported that lawyers for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked photographers to “cease harassing” Prince George after a particular member of the paparazzi was felt to be taking too much of an interest in the young Prince (an allegation that he denies).
The battle ground between public figures and paparazzi photographers has always been a bloody one, leaving countless altercations and law suits in its wake.
I know the response from any paparazzi photographer will always be that they are “just doing their job” and that the photographs they take are “in the public interest” – but boy am I glad I’m not in that line of work! You need a pretty thick skin to make a living by having to constantly be where you’re not wanted, and reviled by most of the people you photograph.
Happily for me, I’m actually invited to take photographs of people!
I specialise in capturing creative and natural portraits of people – whether it’s a head and shoulders casual corporate portrait, boardroom reportage image, or advertising lifestyle photography, the challenge is always there to capture emotion and produce natural portrait photography that I’m proud of.
Just like the paps, I photograph people – but my subjects are business people and people for advertising. Unlike the paps, my subjects are happy and willing to be photographed so I don’t have to spend my time skulking behind a bush to get a good shot.
Visit my portfolio for more examples of creative portrait photography… without the skulking.
Potential customers can view countless websites with just the click of a mouse, and the judgement they make when they click onto a home page can be split second. To hold the interest of a viewer and make them want to find out more, a website needs to stand out from the crowd.
Using creative corporate photography on a website can go a long way to ensuring a business is noticed in a positive light. Consistency of style reflects well on a company as it implies that thought and consideration has been given to the process. Websites full of mis-matched images cobbled together from other projects just look messy and unprofessional – not a thought that you want a potential customer to draw upon.
When commissioning corporate photography, consider the style of shot required to ensure the end result fits with the businesses character and the image it wishes to portray. The natural corporate portraits seen here offer a friendlier view of a business than the posed and formal portraits of old.
A short meeting with a corporate portrait photographer before the shoot date will ensure the brief is discussed in detail and that any specific requirements or constraints are agreed. It also gives a professional creative photographer an opportunity to offer suggestions for backgrounds, lighting and post-production techniques that may enhance the creative process and ensure that the natural business portraits taken are an asset to the website; and that the website is an asset to the business.
I have to say, it’s been a pretty good summer. July and August are traditionally a quieter time at Matt Wain Photography so I took the opportunity to spend some quality time with my kids, catch up with friends and enjoy a couple of weeks camping in the south of France. Vitamin D boosted, batteries re-charged and tent packed away, this week saw me head straight into a busy autumn filled with corporate video shoots, location advertising photography and corporate portrait photography.
I’m kicking off the season with a product launch video for a long-standing client. A two day video shoot in a UK cinema, teaser ads for the main video and a location photography shoot in Amsterdam where the product will be launched to senior execs in the cinema industry. Think 3D as you’ve never seen it before, with avid cinema goers queuing round the block to get a peep. All exciting stuff.
Traffic to the new Matt Wain Photography website continues to be strong with lots of London corporate photography enquiries and a healthy schedule of confirmed shoot dates. Next month, a large London advertising shoot promises to keep production services busy scouting locations, casting models and sourcing props.
Keep an eye out for future blogs to see the results of my labours.
Every business wishes to portray themselves to the best advantage. For some, shouting about their latest acquisition of cutting edge technology is the way to go. But this client wished to build their brand image by emphasising their offering of bespoke craftsmanship coupled with old-fashioned service.
Having dusted off and rejected their existing photography, they realised that a library of creative images could go a long way to displaying their wares in a positive light. Industrial location photography comes with its challenges but a day spent at the factory produced a series of unstaged, creative industrial images that could be used on the company’s website, in corporate brochures and across countless pieces of marketing collateral.
Matt Wain is a professional commercial location photographer based in London. Visit the website to view his portfolio, or get in touch to discuss an upcoming project.
Professional models make their living by looking natural in front of a camera, but when it comes to photographing ‘real’ people, keeping it natural can be very difficult, and capturing emotion even harder.
I’ve always enjoyed meeting people. I find other people and their lives interesting and I think that trait has stood me in good stead as a professional people photographer. Arriving at a location and assuming that the person you’re shooting will instantly feel at ease in front of the camera is never a good strategy, and is unlikely to produce creative images.
My advice: Don’t rush. Have a chat and maybe a quick cuppa with your subject. Show an interest and find out a little about the person you’re about to photograph. I’m not suggesting you hear their life history, but showing an interest is one of the quickest ways to put someone at ease.
I try to follow my own advice whether I’m shooting professional corporate portraits, natural business images or even a large creative advertising shoot involving many models. Of course, time is money and it’s not always possible to spend time getting to know people when there’s a tight schedule, but a few minutes invested at the start of a shoot can make a world of difference and ensure you get the creative images required.
Occasionally, of course, you do come across someone who loves being in front of the camera and doesn’t need any help being put at ease…. and here he is! I met this chap while photographing the postal workers at TNT. He was a real character, a natural model, and made my life as a creative photographer very easy. Thanks Henry.
I do quite a bit of corporate portrait photography for financial services companies but this was my first job for Euroclear. The Art Director had come across my website, liked my style of casual business portrait photography, and commissioned me to shoot relaxed business images of members of their senior management team.
The slightly unusual aspect to this job was that I never met the Art Director. He was based at their HQ in Brussels so although the brief for head and shoulder shots was discussed in detail beforehand, we never met face to face and he wasn’t present at the shoot.
Some might consider this a leap of faith on his behalf, but he could see from the corporate portrait portfolio on my website that I have a very distinct and natural style; and that was exactly the look he wanted.
Business head and shoulder images don’t have to be boring, although creative corporate portraits are usually only taken by creative people photographers. Ask Andy from Accounts to photograph the senior management team using his latest digital toy and although you may save a bit of money, the results are far more likely to look posed, stilted and… sorry Andy…. boring.
This shoot proves that the location of the corporate portrait photographer you commission is far less relevant in today’s international business world. The key is to commission a business photographer who shoots in the style you want, does it professionally, on time, and on budget.
A natural approach to corporate portrait photography is becoming increasingly popular. Companies who commission a London corporate portrait photographer are more likely to be looking for natural business images that capture emotion and personality, rather than the stiff, formal portraits that once adorned the pages of annual reports and corporate brochures.
Capturing emotion and personality through the lens is an art that takes not only talent as a photographer, but also the ability to put a subject at ease, guaranteeing that you get creative business portraits delivered in a natural photographic style.
The image shown here is from a corporate location photography shoot for a blue chip financial services company in central London. Timing was crucial given the hectic schedules of the senior management team, so Matt visited their offices beforehand to ensure he had a good idea of the internal locations he could use. The creative corporate portraits that were taken that day have since been used across countless pieces of marketing collaterals as well as featuring prominently on their relaunched website.
Business portraits are, quite literally, the face of your business and it is critical to ensure that you commission the services of a talented professional corporate portrait photographer. They should be able to demonstrate their professionalism and experience as a commercial business photographer via their website, an extensive portfolio and, of course, in person. Do they put you at ease? If they do, the chances are they’ll put your CEO at ease too and you’ll get the best shot. You should also ensure that any commercial business photographer you commission has post-production facilities and experience, thereby ensuring that any image re-touching required is done swiftly and professionally.
They say that if you want to know what’s somebody’s feeling, look into their eyes. What I love about this creative ad image is how much is going on in that rugged face despite the fact he”s wearing sunglasses. There”s not an eyeball to be seen but the image still screams emotion and feeling. Granted, those feelings aren’t necessarily very positive because let”s face it, he looks like he”s had a hard life!
What it does do is make you want to know more… Who is this guy and what’s his story? What would his eyes tell us if he took the sunglasses off? Are those headphones plugged into anything or just an eccentric accessory?
Those questions will remain a mystery but it’s testament to being a talented professional advertising photographer that we’re asking them in the first place. Creative advertising photography of people is about capturing a moment; candid images that capture emotion and personality.
Matt Wain is a professional people photographer… he photographs business people and people for advertising. Whether in the studio, on location for an advertising shoot, or in the boardroom taking creative corporate images of a blue chip CEO, he specialises in capturing emotion and keeping in natural.