Capturing business portraits s not only an easy way to make some money with your camera, but can also be very lucrative too. The majority of businesses have a website, and as potential customers want to know who they dealing with, i.e. the face behind the website, before entering in to any professional relationships, the business portraits market is large, and growing. There are some types of photography, such as wedding photography and fashion photography, that is difficult to get in to, but this is not the case with business portrait photography.
If you can take a sharp, evenly lit and well exposed portrait you have all the skills you need to capture business portraits. When taking business portraits there is no need to get all fancy and creative with composition or lighting, and the photo doesn’t have to ‘tell a story’. Taking business portraits involves taking real, clean and truly representative photos and no more.
When taking business portraits the subjects, i.e. business people, are photographed against a plain background or at their work station, which means you have total control over the background. You have the opportunity to sort out the background and tidy it up prior to pressing the shutter so you don’t have to use fast lenses and wide apertures to throw the background out of focus. I would advise staying away from using wide apertures to take business portraits because shooting wide open can often lead to softness or parts of the photo that are soft, which is not what you want when capturing business portraits.
Business portraits should be sharp throughout and using apertures of f5.6 – f8 (i.e. the lenses sweet spot) is the way to get the sharpest shot. Going for soft focus and the like is totally irrelevant when taking business portraits – sharpness is key. Fast lenses are not essential.
Most types of portrait photography requires build a rapport with the subjects and befriending them to make them feel at ease so you can get ‘personal’ shots. There is no point in building a rapport with the subjects when taking business portraits, and in my opinion it is best if you don’t because when subjects relax too much in front of the camera they lose their ‘professionalism’ and become too familiar and friendly for a business website. The best way to take business portraits is to get the person in situ, get them to pose, fire off a few frames and get the next person in and repeat the process.
Many portrait photographers like a 35mm prime lens however this focal length is too short, i.e. the field of view is too wide, for business portrait photography. Using 35mm prime lenses requires you to get up close and personal to the subject, which is fine when you’re building a rapport and befriending the subjects, but not when taking business portraits. When taking business portraits you need to let the subject have their own space and not invade it. When taking business portraits you are going to encounter different types of people, some of whom won’t mind being in front of the camera and some of whom will hate it. If a person doesn’t like being in front of the camera the worst thing you can do is get too close to them and stick a lens in their face. Because you won’t know the person you are photographing and know what they are like in front of the lens it is best to play it safe and keep your distance at all times.
The lens I use for business portraits is the 24mm – 70mm f2.8. First off I have to say I don’t use this lens for its shorter focal lengths (although there are times when this is useful – more on that a little later in this article…..) or the f2.8 maximum widest aperture - as previously explained in this article. The reason I use the 24mm – 70mm lens is because the image quality is superb and it is tough enough for extended business portrait shoots.
The image quality of the 24mm – 70mm f2.8 lens is simply superb. It is sharp (and I mean sharp) from the center of the frame to the edges, images are bright and colorful (but not over saturated), the contrast is spot on and distortions etc. are not a problem. Another advantage with the 24mm – 70mm lens is the auto focus is super quick, even in less than preferable light, and once locked on it remains locked on.
The build quality of the 24mm – 70mm f2.8 lens is second to none and they were built for professional day to day use. All of the 24mm – 70mm lenses are made from the best materials making them tough, strong, robust and durable. You can give these lenses a lot of abuse and they will take it on the chin – although you should obviously treat all lenses with care.
Using the 24mm – 70mm zoom lens allows a variety of framing options so you can make sure there is sufficient ‘blank space’ around the subject regardless of their height, size and stature. It is crucial business portraits have consistent borders around them, especially if all the photos of the team are going on a single webpage, and this lens allows for this without having to spend extra time with the photo editing suite.
The 24mm wide end of the 24mm – 70mm f2.8 lens is perfect for group and team shots, which is something a lot of businesses want on their websites these days. Yep, individual portraits are no longer enough, and we have to take team/group/division/branch group shots too.
Top rated 24mm – 70mm f2.8 lenses
No matter what brand of camera you shoot there is a 24mm – 70mm lens for it, and if you shoot one of the popular camera marques (Canon or Nikon for example) there is a good choice of 24mm – 70mm f2.8 lenses to choose from.
The most popular 24mm – 70mm f2.8 lenses, all of which are consistently highly rated and get good reviews, include:-
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.