Corporate Portraits

by William Lulow

In the course of my more than forty-year career doing portraits for various companies, I often come across those with small spaces. Either conference rooms are too small to set up a studio, or the office space itself makes for difficulty in getting enough room to make good photographs. This happened the other day when I was asked to make some portraits for a small law firm. I actually set my studio up in the company’s common office area, complete with Xerox machines, copiers and extra computers. This is what it looked like:

As you can see, here I used a half-roll of gray no-seam paper and I had to set up one accent light on a desktop. Whatever can work for the images you need to create, is the way to go. I often like to use a full no-seam roll, but under circumstances like these, the smaller one worked nicely. Here’s an example:

We also had to do a couple of shots of the whole group. So, I used the small conference room available and was able to balance the daylight with my electronic flash units to produce a nice result:

This image was created by using two lights, each bounced into an umbrella to give a natural illumination to the room. A shutter speed of about 1/15th of a second balanced the daylight to the flash exposure. When you shoot with electronic flash, the short duration of the flash itself creates the initial exposure and stops any action. The slow shutter speed, simply “burns in” ambient light. The umbrellas keep the light soft so shadows are minimized. 

There is really a lot that can be done even in a small space. Remember to keep in mind that it’s the final effect that is most important.