A finished headshot of realtor Steve Cantner with the Engels & Volkers branding in place.
I do a lot of Vancouver on location business portraits, but this was easily the biggest job I’ve done so far. The iconic Whistler real estate firm Thornhill Group is joining into a partnership with high end realty brokers Engel & Volkers and needed to re-do the business portraits (known as headshots) of all their brokers staff, over 46 people in total.
Realtor Jenna Franze.
We set up our studio lights and pure white seamless paper background inside the Creekside Thornhill Realty office for two days the first week, and then for one day the next week. We did about 12 portraits on each of the first two days, then 22 on the final day. These photos are the main personal branding for the realtors for the next few year, so you can’t photograph them like school portrait day. You need to take time work on the posing and look of the photos with each subject. By the end of the day, especially the third day, I was totally exhausted. The next step was exporting a selection of low resolution proof images and sending them to the realtors to get them to make a final selection. Once they made the selection, then I to do the finishing Photoshop work, then send them back to Thornhill, who in turn sent the images to the Engel & Volkers head office, where they stripped the image of the realtor out of the background of the photo and into a specially branded background Engel & Volkers office image.
A selection of the finished headshots before we sent them to Engel & Volkers.
Our on location business portrait studio set up.
You basically have two types of business portraits, natural looking portraits with a location background, or what I call in situ portraits, and formal studio style portraits. It’s a little counter intuitive, but the studio style portraits are way more involved than the in situ portraits. We used three separate Alien Bee B-1600 strobe units and a big piece of corrugated plastic signboard on a boom arm as a shadow side reflector. I prefer to use white seamless paper instead of of fold up fabric back grounds, as they’re a lot smoother and truer to colour. It was really important to make sure we had a very clean line between the subjects and background so that the graphic artist in the Engel & Volker office could easily strip the subject from the background and drop the foreground image onto the E & V branded image in the background. That can be a little tricky with the background light, not enough power on it and you get a muddy background, too much power and the light reflects back towards the camera and gives you an almost impossible to fix lens flair.