I’m going to nail my colours to the mast early on here. I hate company profile photography.
It usually falls into one of the following categories:
- It’s not important, so everyone supplies their own, leading to a mix of grumpy selfies (bad) and holiday snapshots (worse).
- Janice from accounts ‘has a camera’ and is railroaded into taking a rogues gallery of wonky, blurry photos next to the filing cabinet.
- The company pays a fortune for a set of ‘corporate’ mugshots that make everyone look like they were stamped from the same mould at the Zero Personality factory.
Okay, rant over.
When I was commissioned to take the staff portraits for a creative agency, I wanted to capture two things: the spirit of the organisation and the personality of each subject.
To help them out of their shells, I suggested we play a little game.
I asked them to act out various scenarios to capture their expressions.
Firstly, I told them they’d crashed into the boss’s car but someone else had got the blame.
I asked them to think of something that really pissed them off.
I asked for their best toddler-entertaining face.
I asked them to look sexy.
And I told them something so outrageously scandalous about one of their colleagues that I couldn’t possibly repeat it here (their lawyers might be watching).
Sometimes, people can freeze when a camera is pointed at them. By making the session a playtime, everyone engaged with the camera, had a giggle doing it, and contributed to a great set of images that truly conveyed the attitude and spirit of the company.