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What skills do you need to be a professional corporate photographer?

There are many different types of portrait photography. So naturally, there are different varieties of portrait photographer. And obviously they must all know one end of the camera from another. But there is a special skill set you need in order to be a professional corporate photographer.

For any portrait photography career, it’s a given that you will need to have technical camera skills,. These can be learned of course by just about anyone really. Cameras are not that complicated and of course now that we are all digital, there’s no developing to think about. Saying that, there is a lot to learn about lighting. But this too can be taught and picked up by pretty much any aspirant photographer.

And of course ideally as a portrait photographer you will need a creative eye. You will need to be able to see what will make a good backdrop. And to work out the best angles for your sitter and how to position them. And you will also need an eye for detail. To make sure that clothing is straight and tucked in, jackets have not ridden up, etc. Again these skills are a must for any portrait photographer. But after this point the skill set for a corporate portrait photographer becomes a bit more specific.

And where is the point of difference with A professional corporate photographer?

As with all portrait photographers you will need to be able to establish a rapport with your sitter. And to give them direction. But unlike with family, couple or event photographer, you have very little time to make a connection. You will need to establish an instant rapport. And to put people at ease right away as often you only have 10 – 15 minutes to get great headshots. It’s really not a lot of time and can be quite a challenge. On top of which, you might be shooting dozens of people a day. So you have to quickly establish a connection with 30 different people, consecutively. All while working the studio lights or keeping an eye on changing lighting conditions, giving direction to your sitters and keeping an eye out for details such as an errant visible bra strap, a skewed tie, etc.

Which brings me to the other key quality for any wannabe professional corporate photographer. you must be organised. And a good timekeeper. Having back to back sitters over 8 hours is stressful, make no mistake. Additionally you have to be careful to make sure that you have each sitter’s name noted and can connect that later to the resulting portraits. You will need to plan your schedule and ensure that it is followed. And that you don’t get behind as people have meetings to attend and are often fitting the headshot into an already busy day. This does not mean that they always show up prepared and on time however, so you have to contend with that. It can be a fairly pressured environment so make sure you are the sort of person who can cope.

And finally…

Finally, there can be a lot of admin in the follow up, for which you have to have a good eye for detail. These big companies are not relaxed-vibe creative businesses, so they expect true professionalism in their dealings. Make sure that you are ready for that, and that you have the polish and attitude which suits.

For more on this subject read here for what every corporate headshot photographer should know.

And if you are looking for professional corporate portraits, whether in your office, on location or in my West London studio, I would love to help. You can email me on serena@serenabolton.com, ring me on 07958511819 or click to book a Zoom or telephone conversation.

“Photography through the lens of a storyteller”

LONDON HEADSHOT AND CORPORATE PHOTOGRAPHER

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