Jay P Morgan: One Light Corporate Portrait

In this Slanted Lens video, Jay P. Morgan shows us how he shoots a corporate call center portrait. He has shot these types images for years and says their success largely hinges on getting the right person to be the talent, as well as the right lighting approach. Check out the details in the video and still imagery below:

For this type of shot, the person being photographed represents the face of the company. Ideally, this person should make the company image feel open and inviting.
There are a couple things to know when prepping talent for a photo shoot, whether that person is an employee from the client, company or a model/actor:

  1. Have them bring several options for clothing
  2. Make sure clothes are clean and pressed; bring an iron or steamer with you
  3. Explain that the talent should be well groomed
  4. Make a conscious decision about facial hair with the client and the talent
  5. Have the talent bring personal grooming supplies, from toothbrushes to razors

This type of image demands a few things from the talent, and you will need to provide direction to him or her:

  1. Have them look directly into the camera
  2. Encourage a comfortable smile
  3. Help the talent feel comfortable by engaging in conversation
  4. Give positive encouragement

The Lighting Setup
Two main elements were the focus of this image: the customer service rep in the foreground and other office workers in the background. The employees in the background were lit by a large window as well as existing overhead light. If I had set my camera to expose for the background, our main talent would have been very underexposed.

I added a small Photoflex OctoDome on a Dynalite head at camera left. This light mimicked a window light and balanced out the exposure throughout the image. This one light opened up the face of the main subject and the wall behind him looked great. Here is our final image:

Now compare our final image with this one that was shot earlier in the day. The lighting was good but it fell flat because there was nothing going on in the background. We put a lot of effort into arranging the background so that it looked good but not too cluttered:

Jay only had an hour to get this shot but because of the prep work he did, he was able to set up everything needed for this shoot in 30 minutes, leaving plenty of time to get the shot. Prep work is just as important as the time spent on set. To see more of Jay P. Morgan’s work, visit his Pro Showcase page.

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