When it comes to photo shoots, we often worry about our wardrobe, our hair, our make up – in short the WHO is being photographed. And sometimes, the WHY we are being photographed plays a big part – Stan’s retirement party, the firm’s big charity event, the new office’s ribbon cutting. But we never really give much thought to the WHERE we are being photographed, and that’s a shame. Setting is one of, if not THE most important things to take into consideration. Let’s look at why the WHERE of our photo shoot is so vital to the success of our finished photos.
Light and Shadow
You don’t want your photos to come out looking too dark and gloomy, nor do you want so much light that everyone and everything looks washed out. Granted, a photographer worth their weight can correct some lighting issues with either flash or filters, but even the best can only do so much. Imagine this: you’ve decided to do your new professional shoot in your new office. It’s got dark wood paneling, a dark wood desk, dark carpet, and you are in a dark suit. With no overhead lighting. And it’s a cloudy day. Are you looking to impress, or depress, your colleagues, clients and staff?
Subliminal Setting Statements
You will not be the only thing in the photos. The background will be visible, even if blurred from the tight focus on your face or body. What does the chosen background say about you? Why is the head of the hip, edgy graphic design firm in front of a rose garden straight out of Victorian Days? Or the staff of an environmental non-profit shot in an office spilling over with paper files, fluorescent lighting and enough plastic office furniture to support a small oil-producing nation? Does your setting reflect the image and message of your firm? If not, then why use it? You CAN go for a touch of irony or humor – imagine the edgy graphics guys in the senior center, for example. But if that’s not the case, then you seriously want to consider just what your surroundings are going to say about you when viewed in your finished photos.
In the world of photography, background noise is all the “stuff” in the background of the photos. As we said, sometimes all that “stuff” will be little more than a blur depending on the focus used. But as we’ve also said, when it IS visible, it becomes a huge factor in your photos. You want a background that is as “clean” and noise-free as possible. That’s why most of those old wretched school photos used a simple plain neutral-colored backdrop. It made everybody look good. (Well, relatively speaking. Whoever looked good in their 5th grade photos?) You need to have the same consideration for your corporate shots, as well. A noisy background needs a quiet subject – those flowers might look good behind you in your plain, dark suit, for example. But a mixed shot of staff in different colors, prints and styles, not to mention shapes? Go for a plain setting, like a bench with a wall behind it. The busier the foreground, the quieter and stiller that background has to be.
Your corporate photo shoot’s setting plays a big part in the quality of the finished photos. Choosing your setting can be as important as choosing your wardrobe or hair style for the big day. One thing you may want to do is to choose several settings, and let your photographer choose which one he or she thinks best suited to the day and the occasion. Choose wisely and well, and you’ll not have to regret your decision. (Now, those 5th grade photos? That’s another story altogether.)