For several months we have been supplying a headshot service which allows clients to have their portrait taken and then we add a London backdrop in post production. We feel that we need to explain the process and benefits of this service as we feel its key advantages are being missed.
The best way to do this is to go over each step of the commission and show how this gives the clients a much wider choice of results than the conventional way of shooting a corporate headshot with a London City view behind them.
Many individuals especially if they work for international companies often require a headshot that features certain business districts of The City or West End being in the background of their profile photos. Traditionally we would arrange a date and meet with the client at the agreed location. This can work extremely well but is dependant on the weather. Wind, rain and even sunshine coming from the wrong direction would often be detrimental to the end results. We had been working on gathering a wide range of pre shot London backgrounds for use on another project and had the idea that we could produce much more consistent results for clients if we could drop the London background in post production. The major benefit with this method is that shooting at a clients office or our studio we have full control over lighting etc and the style has to look like the headshot was captured in an office with a large window with the view behind. This means the backgrounds we drop into the London headshot need to be shot with this style in mind. So for example you would not be able to use a pin sharp view of the City behind a pin sharp headshot as this would look false and not take into account the depth of field factor from the long portrait lens you would be using. Also very important would be the angle of the background you use as it will have to fit with the angle that the headshot has been taken at. You would not be able to use a view of London looking upwards to the tall buildings as again the portrait lens would not allow this view so all the backgrounds we have pre photographed are captured with these angles in mind.
Another great benefit is once the headshot is captured you can search over our photo library for a variety of backgrounds that suit the headshot or which can be used for different media or profile photographs.
If we go through the process from start to finish.
Client commissions London corporate photographer Dan to capture his headshot with a view to adding London scenes in post production. This is the process recently shot with a City client.
We attend the clients offices and set up lighting to capture initial headshot. We understand the background in this photo looks a mess but we are only interested at this point in capturing a well lit and professional headshot.
Then in post production we remove the original background and replace with a solid colour. This can be any colour and with white we can add a perfect web friendly white so that when the profile headshot is added onto a website it does not carry any hint of grey that is always captured when shot against a conventional white background. Sometimes the client is very happy with this result as the headshot looks professional and is ideal for use on LinkedIn or we can match a current corporate website background colour and drop that in for the individual.
We then email the client a range of backgrounds for them to choose from and then we add these to the headshot. We are not saying that all of them will work. You still have to take into consideration lighting and what is visually happening behind the headshot. We feel these samples work very well and you can reposition the client within the background to get the perfect composition and make the photograph look realistic.
This composition also works with a broad City backdrop
These last couple do not work as well. The first one has a problem I mentioned earlier, the background of the City is too sharp and clean and does not look in keeping with a headshot on a long lens. This combination makes the client look slightly 3D against the backdrop of London as both elements have different depth of fields which is not possible to do in camera.
This background is the opposite as it is too out of focus and does not look realistic as again the depth of field is incorrect and therefore the image looks false.
To finish on a positive note the headshot below is our favourite of the batch and shows with careful positioning and balancing the right background with the correct headshot you can create a professional and striking corporate portrait for all media.
Grantly Lynch © Corporate Photography Ltd