Hey everyone! Happy little-bit-closer-to-patio-season! It has been great seeing people in person again, at photo shoots, of course, but also at various functions, networking events, entertainment events, improv (what?) classes, etc.
BTW, as I look at my profile portrait at the top of this newsletter I am reminded of the importance of keeping these up to date. Might be time for me to do a new one. You’ll see what I look like now below in my book cover project.
For those not on my e-mail list here is a copy of my January 2023 newsletter. Please e-mail me if you'd like to receive my (approximately) quarterly newsletter in your InBox.
First: CORPORATEPORTRAITS.CA a wee bit of a marketing fail
A little while ago I attended a networking thing where we shared “epic fails” in our businesses and what we learned etc.
I didn’t think of this at the time but I think it would count!
So here’s a funny, extremely short story which I’ll start off with a question. Who do you think owns the domain name corporateportraits.ca? I do! Do you know how long I’ve owned it? Years. I have owned “corporateportraits.ca” for literally years. And how many people have I told? Well, whoever is reading this right now, you are whom I have told (plus, very recently, my network on LinkedIn).
Yes, quite a while back I thought it would be a good idea to have an easy to remember website address that spoke to what I do (a lot of) and wasn’t my name, in case people didn’t know it, or forgot. And then I paid for it year after year waiting for I’m not sure what. I think I thought it may sound too limited in scope, but I hung onto it. Luckily, I am a way better photographer than marketer. In fact you could take this as a reassuring indication of how focused I am on what I actually do (ie. corporate and portrait photography). Anyway, I’m telling you now.
Thank-you to everyone who does remember my name. For everyone else when you need corporate photography just try to remember CORPORATEPORTRAITS.CA!
Another Toronto/Vancouver Annual Report Challenge
For a recent annual report project we had a number of creative and logistical problems to solve in support of creating an elegant, cohesive document.
1. Photograph featured staff on gray seamless, and add Vancouver individuals into the Toronto group shots so they look as if they were photographed together.
2. Photograph a second set of featured individuals in a way that shows them on site in busy, populated areas to illustrate a theme of being “back together” in a style that would tie together the Vancouver shots with the Toronto shots, and visually tie all of them together with the formal portraits on gray.
In order to facilitate challenge 1 we simply had to make sure the subjects in Vancouver were photographed as if they were photographed here in Toronto. So, we shot the larger groups in Toronto first, then sent instructions and sample photos to Vancouver so our photographer there could position their subjects accordingly and match the lighting as well as possible, paying attention to the need to capture the shadows on the floor as well. RAW files were sent to Toronto for processing and retouching to match the Toronto files, and were then inserted into their appropriate groups.
|Left: One subject in Vancouver shot standing camera left. Right: Three of the four, in Toronto.|
|The final shot of this particular group|
For the student shots, the solution was to have each student stand in front of a small gray seamless background. Logistically this presented a number of challenges. Right off the bat we decided from tests that the standard size small seamless looked too wide, so we had to cut down a 36 foot roll of paper (one in Toronto and one in Vancouver). Perry used a saw. I used an xacto knife. Perry’s method was faster!
Although we used the same seamlesses for every shot, we knew the gray background would look different in every photo because the colour temperature of light, in this case the combined flash and ambient light (which would inevitably be different in every shot), affects neutral gray much more noticeably than it does strong colours.
We also knew the seamless backdrops would not hang neatly (ie; wrinkle free) the way we decided to hang them to match their appearance from one shot to the next, but that was OK because it was the plan all along to digitally replace the main section of each background with a shot of the background taken earlier during the formal portraits to create consistency between both sets of shots.
In order to look consistent (other than seamless colour) we made sure ahead of time that the background stands in Vancouver and Toronto would match, (ie. same brand, style and colour) and we measured the Toronto set-up meticulously so it could be reproduced for subsequent shots here and in Vancouver. Having to fit this set-up into the locations made finding suitable spots to shoot a big challenge. Shout out to Perry Danforth for overcoming great obstacles to find five workable spots!
Another big obstacle was timing. For a number of the shots we had to shoot at times when the availability of background people was extremely limited. As a result, once again we had to shoot with post-production in mind, photographing the featured subject and background people separately to combine them later. It sounds like a simple thing to do but it required careful execution and the use of a sturdy tripod and focus locking to ensure elements aligned properly in the final images.
In one case we couldn’t even capture the subject and background people on the same day. When we returned we had to re-set-up the gray seamless and the lighting, and had the added stress of having to clean the floor constantly as students tracked in wet footprints from a snow fall. More retouching for me as it was impossible to keep on top of that.
This short description makes this project sound less complicated than it was but I don’t to bore you with the minutia! The point is that we had a difficult set of problems to solve in order to create a cohesive and high quality set of images under challenging circumstances and we did!
I love a challenge, and love having the opportunity to collaborate with creative clients who have high expectations! If you’d like to see the whole AR e-mail me and I’ll send you a link. And if you need a super experienced branding and design firm for your organization I’d be happy to connect you.
And of course if your organization needs help with photography please reach out.
IABC PIC The Buzz September 2022. The Weeks Effect: PIC members find inspiration for growing their businesses
Many readers will know that I spent a chunk of 2022 creating a series of tips on how to prepare for and get the most out of your next professional portrait session which I posted on LinkedIn and on my blog.
The inspiration for this exercise came from media trainer Warren Weeks as explained in this article by Brent Artemchuk:
Once I completed the series I compiled them into an ebook which is free and downloadable here: https://hollinrake.com/pdfs Business Portrait Tips by Kathryn Hollinrake 2nd Ed.
The guidelines in this series were gleaned from many years of encountering issues people had with being photographed, and issues I had to deal with as a result of clients just not knowing “best practices” for portrait subjects, and why would they? It’s my job to know this stuff and I’m excited to be able to pass it on to future subjects so readers’ experiences being photographed and the outcomes of those experiences will be the best they can be.
IABC PIC Personality January 2023
In another minute of publicity I was also featured as the PIC (Professional Independent Communicators) Personality in the January 2023 issue of their newsletter The Buzz:
I’m sure most people reading my newsletter know the IABC and some are already members. I joined this great and very active organization in 2022. I should have joined years ago. In June 2023 Toronto is hosting the IABC World Conference at the Sheraton: https://wc.iabc.com/ I’ll be there in the Headshot* Lounge. Come and see me!
*Anyone who knows me knows I avoid the word “headshot” like the plague (for reasons I won’t get into here), but in this situation, I will actually be shooting very quick headshots.
Kathryn's Fake Book Cover Project
I have spent a lot of time over the past few years focusing on messaging to
corporate clients, in 2022 dressing up as a “business woman” for my
series of portrait Tips referenced above.
Recently, in a bit of a twist I re-imagined myself as a bunch of imaginary authors,
to illustrate some of the (sometimes) more creative ways an author may want to show
up on a book cover or jacket flap. These were all shot in my studio. I have been posting one a week on LinkedIn with the tagline “In between photographing actual authors…”
To see all eight covers and a few notes on them please click here:
These were so fun to do. One friend and client commented that I am “such a chameleon” but the point I’d make is that art direction, lighting, posing, Photoshop etc. can make anyone look very different from one shot to another. That’s what we professional photographers do!
So if you are an author or know an author, or anyone else who wants a more creative portrait I’m here, ready to collaborate!
Yay Us! Testimonials
A couple of testimonials received in recent months:
"I absolutely love the pictures! You did a superb job considering what you had to work with. I look wonderful, if I may say so myself."
"...our client raved about her experience with you as well! She said you are a true artist who loves what you do."
And this just in:
"Kathryn is a total professional, and produced the best business portrait of my career. Her attention to detail and care and ensuring that I was happy with the result were shining factors. Kathryn helped me select the right outfit that would photograph well, made sure my hair and make-up were correct, and all the while cheerfully explained every move we were making to get that perfect shot. The final photo has depth, and conveyed my personality beautifully. The feedback I've received has been overwhelmingly positive. Highly recommend."
Tracy Shea-Porter, CEO and Co-Founder, Yes Unlimited
As always, I'm here to help you plan and problem solve your next photo shoot, whether it’s where to shoot, what your options are, what to wear, etc. I look forward to seeing old clients again as we all navigate the new normal-for-now, and to meeting new ones! Let me know how I can help, or reach out and I'll let you know how I can help!
Thanks so much for reading!