Article submitted by guest contributor BusinessPortraits.ca
At BusinessPortraits.ca, white backdrop portraits are our top order by a landslide – in no small part due to their versatility. They are simple, clean, and easy to adapt from casual to ultra-formal. White backdrops are the gold standard for a variety of professional industries and perfect for a variety of platforms from digital to print. I have also found when appropriately styled and well photographed, they create an exceptional service value for my clients.
While various colored options such as grays make for on-trend portraits much like the light browns and taupes of recent past, most of our professional clients are looking for something that has a bit more longevity. ‘Timeless’ is the best fit when describing white as a headshot backdrop choice. Extending the longevity of a client’s portrait work ensures top value for the portrait session.
As we work primarily with the general public, often without the presence and guidance of clothing stylists due to time constraints, we are met with the challenge of helping our clients achieve their desired feel to the images. To do this, we require a little preparation to help them place their best foot forward. With the background being a straightforward and stark white, it draws all the attention to the subject. When shooting for fashion, or product photography, this makes it easy to highlight aspects of the subject, movement and form.
When working with the general public, it poses some hurdles. The challenge presents itself in a few ways; determining what is standard attire for each industry and how formal, casual, trendy or timeless, and helping construct posing that eliminates stiffness or awkwardness. Also, your lighting becomes incredibly important as you want to highlight your clients’ best assets and avoid spending a lot of time in post.
Here are some of our best tips to help you with your white backdrop corporate photography:
1. Choose a High-Quality Backdrop
Our go-to is Savage Pure White Seamless Paper to help us achieve these results with the least post-production and corrections possible, allowing us to turn around images in short order. Having photo backdrops that are consistent, even and made from high-quality paper is essential, particularly when you are required to set up and tear down numerous times every day.
2. Coach Your Client on Styling
Guide your clients to choose better clothing choices, solid colors and well-fitting garments well in advance of their appointment. It can be a sensitive subject, but asking your clients to ensure the best fit for their chosen outfit goes a long way in preventing distracting pulling or bagging that will need significant attention in post. Knowing where their images will be used can also help you address styling, i.e. if they will be printing them for flyer circulation, suggest no small patterns that may become distorted. While this is not a direct portion of your service, it goes a long way in ensuring the highest quality outcome.
Working with your client to determine how often they will be updating their images is imperative. If they are intending on using the image for over a year, you may want to guide them towards classic pieces rather than trendy. Also, consider steering them away from pieces that are strongly correlated to a specific season (think bulky knit sweaters or tank tops) that can make marketing images look out of place when used throughout the full year.
3. Develop Your Posing Guidance
Offering some help in posing. Even with the prevalence of self-portraits and social media modeling, most business people are not models, so don’t expect them to move or pose like one. You will have to experiment with your own approach because what works for one photographer won’t work for another. This extends to developing a direct way of communicating with your client, in a tone and manner they are receptive to. Keeping in mind abstract or overly emotional instructions may not resonate and may make clients uncomfortable. For several shoots, I suggest just focusing on this and experimenting with how it is received.
4. Master Your Lighting
Your lighting makes a world of difference, and white backdrops can easily reveal issues with your lighting, especially if you are unable to light the backdrop evenly. It can also pose a challenge when trying to help the average person put their best foot forward, as some lighting can highlight and exasperate skin texture and flaws. Many compensate by editing in post-production or opting for a soft-focus look, but these can be avoided by correct lighting.
Evenness in lighting is a common issue. The best way to tackle this is by having a light meter on hand and using it. Ensure that your lighting is even and adjusting as needed. This is particularly necessary if you are setting up in non-ideal locations with multiple light sources such as an office.
While working with corporate-minded clients can be difficult and pose some unique challenges, with a few extra considerations your white backdrop corporate photography can be outstanding, and excellent value to your clients. By keeping a constant mindset of ensuring quality and taking preventative measures you can produce consistent and striking imagery.
BusinessPortraits.ca is Toronto’s premier boutique photography studio offering corporate headshot photography. Founded by their leading photographer, Jacob. A graduate of Humber College’s photography program; He has over two decades of experience working with some of the world’s largest corporations bringing marketing campaigns and personal branding to life.