For a sole trader, you are the brand, so it is especially important to understand your own brand personality and to convey that through the imagery you use throughout your communications, whether online or in traditional, print, media. And when your business is all about Personal Branding, Executive Coaching, and Training & Development, it is even more crucial that your visual imagery practices what you preach. So it was a joy, yesterday, to have the opportunity to help award-winning image professional, Sarah Brummitt, portray her brand image, via business portraiture, at a studio in North London.

Given my background in advertising and brand communications, as a strategist, it’s unsurprising that I bring this experience to the party when shooting business portraiture. Can’t help it! Sarah and I had worked together before, and have had a number of conversations about her business, brand, positioning, target market and her exciting plans for the future, culminating in a planning meeting a couple of weeks ago. Coupled with what she projects herself (she really does walk the talk), this helped us both to arrive at the type and range of shots needed for her business, across web, training materials, emailers, collateral, etc. Not only that, but I had a clear idea of the lighting required and was able to get it set up and perfectly exposed with my gaffer, Robin Brigham, in advance of my client’s arrival on the day of the shoot.

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

 

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

That done, the dressing area was prepped and the kettle put on! (Priorities!). Once Sarah arrived and we reconfirmed what was expected from the shoot, she showed me her outfits and I ran through a few ideas for poses and action shots, we settled into the shoot itself.

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK. Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

We had decided on using continuous lighting, with powerful light sources usually used for film and video, as Sarah needed action shots, pretty much like I would shoot in the theatre, for production photography. Not having to wait for a flash to power back up meant that she could ‘run lines’ from one of her presentations, keeping the flow to make everything look natural.

As I was shooting tethered (i.e. with the camera connected directly to the laptop and into Lightroom, an editing and processing program), to break up the pace of the shoot, and give a welcome break from posing, Sarah and I reviewed each section, before moving on to the next costume change. Whilst this may seem like a long-winded way of doing it, it can actually speed up the reviewing process after the shoot, and the client can be confident that we have what is needed, before leaving the studio.

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

 

At the end of the afternoon, Sarah confirmed that we had everything that we needed and was happy with the results (albeit unedited/processed at this point). So, today was spent in checking that the selected images were sharp and looking out for any other possibles that we may have missed, making contact sheets, and getting them to the client, via Dropbox. Now the wait to see which ones Sarah and her web designer are going to choose! Excited! (I shall update this blogpost when the final selection is made).

Finally, here’s one of yours truly, demonstrating that hard work is enormous fun!

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

 

 

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