VA Tandem, personal brand photography at Perfect People
Personal brand photography, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
A few weeks we held another personal brand photography day at Perfect People Head Quarters in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Once again we are in lockdown but I’m hoping that this can be a monthly event, so keep posted for more.
When I’m doing anything like this, I want to arrive early and know exactly what my options are. Whilst driving over the Yorkshire weather wasn’t doing me any favours, let’s just say I had my windscreen wipers on pretty rapid so I was thinking about Plan B.
On arrival, the rain miraculously stopped and things were looking good. I headed for a little wander around to see what locations I could find as I wanted to created a little Autumnal goodness for people.
As this idea for getting lots of people together is new I’m just playing around with options to see which works the best. At the moment, people book in for an hour’s slot and we go from there. As I’ve just been finding my feet with it, I’ve not really done any marketing so I was interested to see who turned up.
Mags and Jane from VA Tandem were my first clients. I had never met them before so it was a perfect way to test the waters to see if an hour was long enough to meet someone fresh, have a chat over a brew, find out what they are looking for, build a rapport and create some fab pictures.
As soon as we were introduced, it was fine. I knew everything was going to be good. Some people you get a warm feeling from and I could tell that they would be up for a laugh.
When shooting personal brand photo sessions, my preferred choice is to use natural light. Let’s just set the record straight, a natural light photographer is usually someone who is scared/doesn’t know how to use flash. I’m as comfortable as pretty much anyone at using flash so this isn’t the case here.
I find that when you have a short period of time to do a lot using natural light makes the client settle down quicker.
The building trust little dance
When I’m photographing someone that I’ve never shot before there is usually a bit of time building trust and rapport. I know that the first few pictures of a shoot aren’t going to be the ones which are used, but you have to start somewhere. It’s funny but as these are throw away pictures, it’s also a bit of a warm up for me. I found a backdrop which just had some texture, and just shot a few frames. I could easily tell within the first 30 seconds that Mags was the most natural in front of the camera.
Knowing this is great information as I knew, who to photograph first at each location. After a couple of minutes it was game on, time to start creating some fab portraits.
The weather had actually turned from the grey day at the start and had blessed us with sunshine. Without getting too geeky there are different kinds of light. The morning was a typical hard light day, which basically means that the sun was pretty strong, high in the sky, which gives you really dark shadows and bright highlights. When using light like this you need careful placement of your subject as if it goes wrong, it goes really wrong.
Backlight is your friend
A lot of photographers on days like this just take their subjects to shade and play it safe. I’m not that person, I want to use the light that I’m given so when blessed with bright sunshine let backlight be your friend. When doing a shoot like this, I’m looking for interesting backgrounds, colours, textures, then looking for the good light and then also always chatting to my client and trying to get something out of them. Fortunately I’ve been doing this for over a decade so most of it comes pretty naturally now.
After being outdoors for a while we thought we’d seek shelter and create some pictures indoors. VA Tandem was created over lockdown so the company is in its infancy and the pictures that I was creating were to be used on their website. One of the pictures that they wanted were a picture with them both together in an office environment, working together.
With this in mind I set up a little area where I could capture this, I had to set up a quick flash (see, I’m not just a “natural light photographer” and just told them to just pretend I wasn’t there. At this moment we created loads of fabulous pictures which are already on their website.
The hour flew by, we created some great pictures which are perfect for their website, marketing, social media, business cards and brochures. I got a good feeling from VA Tandem and know that they will be absolutely fabulous to work with. We had a laugh and everyone was happy.
Look out for the next personal brand photo shoot event at Perfect People once we’re out of lockdown.