Category Archives: Technique

Improve Your Image

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Types of Portraiture

Having a professional portrait done of you can immeasurable increase one’s professional image through raised confidence in your business and brand. A pro photographer takes into consideration not only the person being photographed and emphasizing the physical and visual strengths but also the brand being represented. Is the company modern, innovative, game-changing or is it traditional, with years of experience, doing it successfully for decades?

These concepts can be communicated visually. When I approach a business portrait which will live on a company website, in print promotion and social media; I familiarize myself with the company and it’s brand. I photograph coverage for a few different looks: serious or determined, fun, happy, causal, formal. This is particularly useful for the performer, actor, etc. who may need to show versatility.

There are also a few photographic considerations and terminology that the client should be aware of so he/she is satisfied wit the final result.

Studio Portraits

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This can be on a white, gray or coloured background. It can be a headshot which is generally a head and shoulders shot and useful in many ways: for a LinkedIn profile picture, on a website page about the staff of a company, etc. Then there is a more “lifestyle” studio shot which is either waist up or knee up which allows you to show off the outfit and have various poses which convey personality. Doing a full body shot with shoes showing definitely has a more fashion feel and I would recommend for a performer or entertainer but usually not in a commercial business approach.

Unless the client feels strongly about a certain coloured background I tend to recommend neutral backgrounds white, light gray or medium gray. I would not recommend a black background for a business look but it can be very effective for magazine photography when a dramatic look is desired.

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Environmental Portrait

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The environmental portrait is a very wide and exciting area of portraiture that lends itself to showing off one’s premises or business brand in a very unique way. The environment can be the area you operate in or it can be an environment that projects personality and vision (like an alleyway or wall with graffiti or an industrial site). A headshot is often done where the background is very out of focus to convey a feeling of an urban setting or rural setting without anything too recognizable.

A “lifestyle” ¾ shot or full body shot shows off the space as well as the person being photographed. The photograph can be vertical or horizontal.

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Group Photograph

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A group photograph is a posed photograph of a group of employees or executives or the whole office. It can be useful on websites or promotions if you want to emphasize that your business is a team activity. As in all portraiture, clothes and location are important to the overall message being conveyed so make sure to coordinate with the people being photographed.

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The majority of business portraiture is in colour but black and white can be effective in some situations particularly for performers, musicians and actors.

Clothes, makeup, posing, colour palette and lighting can all vastly change the style of the photograph and message being conveyed. Communicate freely with your photographer to make sure there is a clear understanding on the message and brand so you are satisfied with the final product.

I love working with businesses to improve their image to their clientele!

www.jamiedayfleck.com

Why Professional Photography?

I wanted to write this article because I hear a lot about the widespread use of cameras cheapening photography as a profession. I want to answer the burning question of some, “Why should I pay for professional photography?”

It is true that with digital photography and high-quality cameras becoming cheaper it is easier for amateurs to pass as professionals. You put it on auto and the camera does the work. But I ask myself the question how good is good and what is good enough. I see on Facebook streams of images every day and very few of them are “good photography”. A professional has years of experience and high technical standards. A professional photographer spends hours doing work on the images after they are taken: editing out the bad photos from the good ones, brightening the dark ones, darkening the bright ones, increasing or decreasing saturation, deepening blacks, and sometimes removing unsightly elements.

In the old days you had to have a pro or you didn’t have photos. But these days you will certainly have photos, it is a matter of quality. A professional thinks about and studies people’s faces. Having been a portrait photographer for many years, I look at someone’s face and study the features to best accentuate that individual’s strengths. I know how to minimize double chins, make a large nose look smaller, often people have one eye that is bigger than the other I can handle that too. I am also looking at posing. How is a person sitting or standing? Do they look comfortable? Are they slouching? Does that angle make their belly stick out? I am looking for all these things plus the general composition and setting of the photo.

But that’s my job. Most people with a camera don’t do that. They don’t even know they should and they don’t know how to correct mistakes of brightness/darkness, cropping etc. Photography is a subject and an art. It requires technical knowledge and creative vision. Within that technical knowledge there is a knowledge of: colour, composition, lighting, form, focus, symmetry, directing, printing, editing software and camera know-how. Using your camera is one component of all the things a photographer should master.

So when asking whether you need a pro, consider whether you can ever get those photos again and whether it is worth wasting an opportunity to capture a group of people, a place and a memory. Photographs are not just made for the people who are in the photo but for their children or even their children’s children. And sometimes it is to remember people who will not be with us forever.

When it is a major life event like a wedding, a Christening, a family reunion, or even an expanding family growing a year older, something that cannot be re-done, re-created or re-photographed, that’s when you invest in a pro. Because you need to make sure that it is captured well with all that technique, experience and vision. Photographers are artists that work with a tool called a camera. They are not robots clicking snapshots. They deserve to be respected, admired and compensated for work well executed.

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