Do you know what it takes to get a finished picture that meets corporate standards?
I thought it might be fun to show you what goes into a final image. For example, one primary task an experienced commercial photographer can deliver is the ability to solve a visual problem.
Let’s take a look at a recent annual report portrait I produced for my good client, Steve Croxson of Croxson Design and his client, Cabot Oil & Gas.
For over 21 years, Steve has produced Cabot’s annual report. As he puts it, “This longevity is an amazing accomplishment in this day and age but, I feel – in part – it’s due to our great working relationship with great shooters like Michael Hart.”
1. Scope the Location: Lighting, Competing Elements
Since I specialize in photography of the executive suite, Steve and I did a walk through a week before our scheduled shoot. We decided on a new location that has never been used before and made assumptions of the final image production.
I pre-visualized the lighting that would be best for the shot, and what post-production tasks were needed to minimize the elements competing for our eye’s attention.
2. Client Comfort & Efficient Work
Cabot Oil & Gas Chairman and CEO Dan Dinges and EVP/CFO Scott Schroeder are a delight to work with, and there is usually much levity when we are together – making my job very easy.
3. On–Site Analysis
We did a significant number of exposures, with minor position tweaks, all visible to Steve on our iPad as we shot photos until we were confident that we had enough options.
4. Conduct Due Diligence of Set without Subjects
After the Cabot Oil & Gas executives had left the location, I took a series of exposures of the environment without the lighting used on the subjects. This photoshoot eliminated any light casts and highlights on the ground and ceiling and gave me a clean background image in which to place them digitally.
5. Perfect the Art of Post–Production Editing
The skillful blending of the two image sets, one with subjects and one of the locations alone, helped me lose apparent and unappealing lighting spill captured in the images.
I then removed distracting elements on the ceiling, manipulated the window shades in the background, and added highlights in the railing, which, with its curves leading up to the subjects, helped direct the eye to our guys.
6. Continuity is Key
As the photographer, I am the one who has visualized the final image, much like a creative or art director. This ownership makes it easy for me to quickly and precisely make post-production edits.
Knowing Photoshop at an advanced level allows me to control as many elements (if not more) than in the B&W darkroom.
I’m happy to report that my clients are pleased with the results, and I have recently sent this image to current and prospective customers as part of an email marketing campaign.