The toughest commercial assignments are when I’ve had to shoot a corporate portrait of an executive in a bland office environment. How do you make an interesting portrait of someone in front of a computer, on the phone, or sitting at their desk? Uhhh… It’s hard. Actually most of the business magazines I have worked for request their photographers to avoid shooting those types of images. HP knows what is up, which is why they have a corporate media floor dedicated to video and photo shoots at their Cupertino office near San Jose. It even includes an area propped like a modern living room. Cool, but if everyone else who shoots at HP is also using the same backgrounds how do you make your images different? Uhhhh… Avoid those areas and look for something less obvious.
These images were shot in the hallway. After the shoot, HP’s vice president of corporate marketing said, “we have a lot of shoots here and this is the first time anyone has ever used that wall as a background.” ANA Mag chose a few shots of Gary smiling for their editorial piece, but I preferred the outtakes below.
click to enlarge
4 light set up
• Overhead main light on a boom – small softbox
• Camera right – large softbox
• Camera left – large white reflector for fill
• Background – (2) lights. No diffusion.