Professional Portraits vs. Selfies
Jim, who is a teacher at the local Community College of Vermont, was looking for some updated professional portraits when he contacted me. He was looking to expand his presence on social media but wanted images with a professional look rather than selfies or snapshots. I have to say that I’m always drawn to profiles on social media where the photo stands out. With such a small space to grab someone’s eye, that’s not easy to do.
I met up with Jim at the local CCV campus where we were able to use a few of the classrooms and part of the outdoor campus for a few shots. His goal was casual photos, with a few different looks for variety.
The classrooms we used were plain rooms but that worked to our advantage. Given that the purpose of the photos was online use, a clean background devoid of clutter is best since the images would be used in very small sizes. For that reason I also focused on waist up shots so that Jim wouldn’t by a tiny figure in profile pics.
I tried to keep the lighting fairly simple. In most cases I used one or two off-camera flashes. In the first shot above, the main light source came from the window with flash used for fill. I decided to use an off-camera flash outside as well since it was a gray flatly lit afternoon. I oftentimes love the diffused light from an overcast day but given that this was the middle of winter it was just a little too boring for even my taste. The off-camera flash can add some nice dimension and with a warming gel attached add some nice color to a subject too.
All in all, I think we came up with a nice portfolio of professional portraits with a good range of styles. They were clean and simple, perfect for profile photos that have such a small amount of space to grab someone’s attention.