There are many genres of portrait photography. So it follows that there are different types of portrait photographer. And obviously they must all know their way around the camera, but there is a specific skill set you need in order to be a professional business photographer.
For any portrait photography career, it’s a given that you will need to have technical camera skills. These can be learned on a course by just about anyone. Cameras are not that complicated and of course now that we are all digital, there’s no developing in the equation. Having said that, there is a lot to learn about lighting. But this too can be learned by pretty much any aspirant photographer.
And of course ideally you will need a creative eye and to be able to judge what will make a good backdrop. And to work out the best angles for your sitter and how to position them. And you will also need an eye for detail. To make sure that clothing is straight and tucked in, jackets have not bunched up and that there aren’t bra straps on display and so forth. These skills are a must for any portrait photographer, of course, but beyond this, the skillset for a business portrait photographer becomes a bit more specific.
As with all portrait photographers you will need to be able to establish a connection with your subject. But unlike with family, couple or event photography you have very limited time to make a rapport. The connection needs to be established instantly as often you only have 10 – 15 minutes to put people at their ease and get great headshots. It’s really not a lot of time and can be quite a challenge. On top of which, you might be shooting dozens of people a day. So you have to quickly establish a connection with multiple people, consecutively and on a very tight schedule. All while working the studio lights or keeping an eye on changing lighting conditions, giving direction to your sitters and keeping an eye out for details such as an errant visible bra strap, flyaway hairs, etc.
Being being a good timekeeper is a must, as is being organised. Having back to back sitters over 8 hours is stressful, make no mistake. Additionally you have to be careful to make sure that you have each sitter’s name noted and can connect that later to the resulting portraits. You will need to plan your schedule and ensure that it is stuck to. And that you don’t get behind as people have meetings to attend and are often slotting the headshot into an already busy day. This does not mean that they always show up prepared and on time of course, so you have to contend with that. It can be a fairly pressured environment so be certain you are the sort of person who can cope.
>Finally, there can be a lot of admin in the follow up, for which you have to have a good eye for detail. These big companies are not relaxed-vibe creative businesses, so they expect true professionalism in their dealings. Make sure that you are ready for that, and that you have the polish and attitude which suits.
>And if you are looking for professional business portraits, whether in your office, on location or in my Brighton studio, I would love to be involved. You can email me on [email protected] or ring me on 07976 846 810.