Join Robert Vanelli for an in-depth discussion in this video Establishing rapport, part of Portrait Photography: Business Portraits.
- Now, the first step in creating a great corporate portrait is making sure we put our subject at ease. Now, a couple ways of doing that, is just by casually asking them questions on the type of work they're into, and how they got into that type of field. So, in this case here, we have Lynn. She's a former actor turned talent agent. So, we talked ahead of time about how that felt, her first time performing on stage, how that felt for her, and we're going to use that knowledge. So, when we're taking a portrait of her, we start talking about that, and you'll see how her face starts to light up.
Now Lynn, you're an actress, and you're turned from actress to becoming a talent agent. - Yes, I did. - Ok, so what we'll do, is during our shoot, what I want to do, is I want to grab some of the emotion out of you. We're going to talk about the first time you stepped foot on that stage. How you felt when the crowd gave you that standing ovation. Sometimes, when you were nervous, we will talk about how you rehearsed, and went over and over for a certain play and you just couldn't get it, but then you persevered through it.
And by doing that, I'm going to grab some facial expressions from you. - All right. - So, the goal here, is to build a rapport with our subject and to put her at ease. So, by asking her these different questions, when we start to photograph her, I'll start asking her, or reminding her what it was like when she first started out. And in doing that, you'll see how her face will just start to light up as we start to talk. Sometimes I'll ask her how she felt when she was nervous, and this way, we'll get that emotion pulled from her.
Ok, now I'm going to take a few test shots right now. What these are going to do is help make sure I have the lighting all set, and we have everything framed properly. All right, so just look straight into the camera. You look beautiful. Good, going to do two more. Nice, one more. Good, very good. I noticed while we were shooting, Lynn kept turning her head to each side. And what that's telling me, is that she knows that she has a certain favorite side of her face that she likes to be filmed from, or shot from.
Looking at her from here, I can definitely tell, it's her left side of the face that she likes. If you don't know what side of the face to shoot from, ask the subject. If they don't know, take a few test shots, and then, after you look at the shots, look from the left side, from the right side, and you'll just know which one looks better. In my case, I broke my nose so many times, that I know that if I turn to the left a little bit, I prefer those types of shots than if I turn to the right. The key here is to talk to the subject.
So, Lynn, what's your favorite side of the face you like to be photographed from? - I think the left. - Yep. From here, what we'll do is this, here is your head, slowly turn just a little bit, like this so I can see the left side of your face. Good, right towards me. This way. Good, now we're going to go back to the opposite side. Beautiful. Now, eyes right towards me. So, this is your left side that is your favorite. So, head up just a little bit. Let's take a few more shots. Good, turn just a bit more. Perfect, right there.
Good. A little smile. Beautiful. Good. Now, turn your head just a little bit more. Perfect. Right there. Now, let's go left side of the face a bit more. Eyes on me. Beautiful. Now, Lynn did a very good job. What I want to do now is continue with building that rapport. Now, when I ask her what she feels she wants to portray in these images.
Now going from an actor, and transforming into a talent agent, she wants to portray, let's say, a sense of power. Well, these are things we have to brainstorm with her on, to try to grab the best portrait. So Lynn, it's extremely important that your clients look at these images, and they look at them, the first thought in their mind's going to be what? What do you want them to think? - I want them to trust me. After all, I am determining the course of their careers, and so I think it's very important that they think that I am someone that they can rely on, absolutely.
- Perfect. So, when we start to photograph, that's the though I want you to put into your head. And just think, I want this person to trust me, and that warmth in your face will show through in your portrait. - Yes, that would be great. - Head right there. Good. Now, bring it, just leave your head right where it's at. Turn your eyes towards me a little. Beautiful, right there. Now, warm smile. Good. Close your eyes for a moment. When I say open, you're going to slowly open. Think about the first time you stepped foot on that stage.
Ready and go. Beautiful. One more. And open. Nice. So, building trust with our client is extremely important, because we want them to feel at ease when they're sitting in front of a camera. You have this big, long lens, and they're looking straight through it. They're not quite sure how to act. So, when you build a trust with them, they're going to trust you, and you're going to help guide them into creating a great portrait.
- Choosing a backdrop
- Scouting locations
- Lighting for corporate headshots and environmental portraits
- Establishing rapport with clients
- Creating a sense of power through posing
- Editing portraits with Lightroom
- Cataloging and organizing images