A business portrait tells a story in a single image.  Every business, I believe needs to connect with their audience on a personal level by revealing who the employees are  in the positions to help.  There are many ways to do a business portrait.   I have done them in a studio, I have done them in a studio to make it look like the subject was outside, I have done them outside with a studio look, and I have done straight up environmental portraits.  (Presently, when I photograph business portraits indoors, I wear a mask and use disinfectant wipes on everything I touch.)

Safely Done Outside

Business portraits shot outside are a safe alternative to ones done indoors.  Typically, I utilize an empty conference room within the facility to set up and shoot the portraits however, given the understandable hesitancy to invite a vendor into the facility at this time, outdoor portraits are a great option.  Weather is an ingredient that must be considered, (rain and/or wind).  Below are a few behind the scenes set ups I have done for outdoor portraits.

The above image on the field at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium was a portable 3 light with a 36 inch flexible reflector set up.  The lack of sun contributed to the dramatic effect.  My speedlights “became the sun”.
The image below was shot in open shade under a tree.  I used the natural light for the main illumination,  ( reflector bouncing shaded light back into his face).  I used one portable battery operated speedlight as an edge light off to the right.  This sets the image apart from a simple natural light portrait.  The illusion of sunlight on the right side of his face is actually the speedlight dialed one stop brighter than the shaded main illumination.



Diffusion Diffusion Diffusion !

The larger the diffusion, the softer the light!  I lucked out on this image.  I placed the subject under this huge arched diffused greenhouse scrim for this environmental portrait.  Her vocation lined up with the setting. No other lighting was used.


Do It Yourself

Here are a few hints if you decide to do it yourself.  Find someone who has a decent digital camera to shoot with.  If you prefer a smartphone camera, use the latest and greatest.  The new iPhone’s portrait mode works well.  It will soften the background behind the subject.   Do not shoot against a brick wall.  Shoot with some distance behind the subject.  Shoot in open shade, in other words, find an overhang, a courtyard or trees to evenly shade your subject. Turn the flash off on the camera/phone.  Have someone hold a large white piece of paper at chest level to fill in any shadows.   With this method, you will get a decent photograph.  The image below was done with this way.




Garage Door Portraits

In a previous post, I talked about placing my subject just on the inside of an overhead door.  This will provide a huge source of light without being direct.  It is beautiful light in any weather.  All I need is an open overhead door.  Below are a few environmental business portraits done this way.  





Electrical Outlet?

If I am lucky enough to be near an electrical outlet while shooting, I use studio lighting outdoors.  There are many powerful portable lights on the market.  When I am able to  plug a light in outside, I use my trusty old 1600 watt second Paul C. Buff Alien Bee studio lights.   Employing an assistant to hold that light gives optimum professional results.  The key is placement of subject to background and effective direction of the HLS  ( Human Light Stand) !






    There are options to getting good business headshots or environmental portraits outside.  You could do them yourself, remembering to keep it simple or you could hire a pro with portable lighting and knowhow from start to finish. As I mentioned, weather is a consideration, but when needed, there are methods to producing beautiful outdoor business portraits.
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