Advertising and Branding Photography in Boston, MA | David Shopper Photography
Best know for his unique mixture of portrait, lifestyle, and fashion photography, Boston based photographer David Shopper brands companies. This photograph was taken for David's stock image library (he is represented by Corbis in New York City, which recently was purchased by Getty Images). The model is Peihu Wang (with the agency Maggie, Inc. www.maggieagency.com) who works out of Boston and NYC. In general, I find Maggie Inc. to be the best Boston modeling agency; their talent is punctual, professional, and has a variety of looks rather than one smile they use in every shot.
Photo styling by Cynthia August www.cynthiaaugust.com and makeup by Lynne Avallone (www.lynneavallone.com).
The impetus for shooting stock images in this way was a direct result of seeing so much generic stock imagery which differed so greatly from the kind of candid corporate photography I do. I often get asked by my clients to shoot as if I were “a fly on the wall” in order to capture the authentic workings of an office. More and more, clients are looking to put a real face on their business. Businesses which are in the financial sector are particularly hesitant to shoot these images with an IPhone and post them on social media, but they value the casualness of showing the candid workplace. So as a photographer, I try to create setups where the employees of a company can be themselves and get work done without feeling like they have to pose for the photography. I encourage the employees to sit the way they naturally do, to interact with their coworkers, to forget that any photography is being done. In the old days of film, I occasionally would shoot for 5 minutes without film in my camera, just to get them used to me there (now, of course, these shots would be recorded digitally).
The photography shoot took place in client Windham Investments' executive conference room in the John Hancock Tower in Boston. I’ve been working with the financial firm for many years and they were nice enough to allow me to shoot for stock on a Saturday. The Hancock Tower gets great natural light, even in the winter when we did this photography. Notice the texture of the model's skin and the un-manufactured look of the overall image. A decade ago, I could only achieve this lighting with strobes because films had comparatively low light sensitivity. Using strobes in an office permeates the environment with invasive flash and employees have a hard time ignoring the photography and generally are more self-conscious. To my credit, I had gotten very good at mimicking natural light using strobes, but you still had bright lights flashing in people’s faces. With the advent of faster CCDs on the newer cameras, photographers are able to get well-exposed images using daylight even on a cloudy day (this image was taken during the worst light – a February rainstorm). When we shot with film and used strobes, the other disadvantage was mixing the color temperature of the lighting we used: the exterior rainy daylight was maybe 6000 degrees Kelvin, which is very blue, and the strobes were more neutrally colored, and the ambient florescent light was green. All these different colors were picked up by the film and, basically, looked horrible. The new digital backs not only allow you to just use the ambient natural light to illuminate the subject, but allow you to control the color of the light in post-production so skin tones look right and there’s no contamination from other light sources.
There’s an added benefit to using the natural light in this way: the background windows tend to be bright areas where designers can lay type (I always try to leave areas that make good backgrounds for headlines, type, etc.)
I also especially like this image because it combines the different categories that I shoot: corporate, corporate lifestyle, and fashion. I believe there’s a place for fashion sense in corporate photography; the clothing that the subject wears helps project a credibility and style of the corporate brand. There’s often a hit-or-miss element when you’re shooting employees in their offices, as executives tend to be hired for their business acumen rather than their sartorial sense. I often “tailor” a jacket in post-production, smoothing out wrinkles, getting shoulders to fit better, adjusting ties and shirts so that they fit more precisely. This attention to detail doesn’t necessarily show in the final image (people don’t say “I’ll put my investments here because this man’s jacket fits properly”), but there’s a tacit impression that these people are put together or squared away, and by extension, their business dealings will be more tasteful and deliberate.
In the same way, the quality of the photography goes a long way in establishing the impression of the company it portrays. Images that look like they were shot with inferior equipment, are a little fuzzy, look harsh or have too-contrasty lighting, all give the impression that the company doesn’t really care about the details of what it produces – that it’s okay with an compromised product, that it doesn’t sweat the details. So I use a top of the line Nikon camera with the sharpest lenses that I can find, even if the final images will displayed in a low-resolution web display. The details of the craft come through even in the low-res format, and most of my clients re-purpose the imagery for collateral, print ads, etc., where a higher quality image really shines. | David Shopper Photography 2 Central Street, Suite 17 Ipswich MA 01938 978-356-1011