Branding your image—a portfolio of cohesive publicity portraits
How we came up with the ideas
Jeff presented me with the idea of creating multiple publicity portraits for a new book jacket, advertising and social media to brand him as unique in his field. He is a global business executive of thirty years. His published book is called “China, Capturing the Prize”
For me getting started is always a collaboration. We sit and talk and images come to me. Then I try out the idea on my client. Sometimes they like it or just a part and we keep on going. I find that the message is key and then, as a creative photographer I can then start the creative process. As we chatted about this exciting and creative project we kept clarifying the image he wanted to project. The ideas we came up with would present Jeff as an intellectual and engaging person.
The photography session
Jeff is a world traveler so I suggested bringing props such as books, writing implements and objects from his travels to the photography session. After thinking about it all week and came up with some more creative ideas. I imagined an oriental carpet as a backdrop and an interesting chair.
The day before there were changes to the original ideas for the portrait. Jeff called to say he was moving and everything was packed away! Now what? I had to create multiple images just based on his personality and the backgrounds in the studio. I had to rethink everything! I didn’t have any props.
It all worked out. His personality was relaxed and we did get the great images for publicity he needed and the New York publishers were very happy.
Here are some samples of publicity portraits from the session:
The formal portrait usually has a conservative expression, I usually start with that so my client has a good chance to warm up. Since he was so relaxed, I got a smile right away. I chose a dark conservative background to go with the suit and a pop of color near his face. I’m always looking for visual clues to support the message. His pose and holding glasses seems intellectual but relaxed. All of the elements work together. As a change up we decided on a lighter suit with a light harmonious background and a light mood.
How I create different looks
These poses presents him as a casual, thoughtful, and engaging intellectual book author. I’m always working to draw out the personality. The background is a little darker but neutral to keep the focus on him. The blank space in the photograph could be used to add text. Part of what I do is create the different looks with clothing. When I have many outfits to choose from the results are varied and much more cohesive. He is holding the first book he wrote, establishing himself as a published writer. For variety I created an image of him as the college professor and speaker.
I love the challenge of multiple looks for publicity portraits. These different looks were achieved with clothing, backgrounds, poses, lighting and expression.
Barbara Glaeser is a photographer and artist. She has been in love with photography for over 25 years and still enjoys learning all there is to the business and art of photography.
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