A Picture of Success - Heather Burgess of Phillips Burgess Law Firm

A hearty congratulations to Heather Burgess, co-founder of Phillips Burgess Law Firm, a real estate, land use and environmental law firm based in Olympia and Tacoma, on being named ‘2017 Boss of the Year’ by the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. The 'award recognizes outstanding individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership in the workplace through innovation, communication, vision, and performance'. What an honor!!

 Executive Portrait of Heather Burgess, co-founder of Phillips Burgess Law Firm

Executive Portrait of Heather Burgess, co-founder of Phillips Burgess Law Firm

Phillips Burgess reached out to me earlier this year for professional photography of their firm. Recent growth and new hires had prompted this timely need. In today's fast paced business environment people are always on the move and change is ever present. Yet, professional portraits remain the front line face of any company, both in online and in corporate communications. A first impression a future client may ever have. Those who risk by showing off a broken or varying quality of portraits risk their first message. Alternatively, a professional set of images speaks volumes about a firms commitment to brand and message. I have enjoyed working with attorneys, architects, medical and government agencies over the years capturing the essence of those people that make their businesses thrive.

 Environmental Portrait of Heather Burgess of Phillips Burgess Law Firm

Environmental Portrait of Heather Burgess of Phillips Burgess Law Firm

This project comprised two days, one onsite photographing formal business portraits in their offices and a day of casual outdoor environmental portraits on the beautiful Percival Landing just outside their Olympia location. 

Business portraiture is serious business. And attention to detail is critical for each project. Care must be taken in each step from pre-prodution planning on through to the day of shooting, on through to final post production. Upfront planning is the first crucial step in the process. First, an initial walk-through if possible is done onsite to identify 'best location(s)' for the shoot.  Followed by the sharing of guidance tips about ‘wardrobe and grooming’, to put the best practices in play for success. Also, I share galleries of past projects style options for each creative team to review. Attention to these critical details ensures each project will be a success - for both photographer and client.

 A preview of Heather Burgess on the back of my trusty Canon EOS 5D Mark III, paired with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. Always a winning combination!

A preview of Heather Burgess on the back of my trusty Canon EOS 5D Mark III, paired with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. Always a winning combination!

Successful business portraiture requires mastery of lighting, posing and people skills and a bit of the vague unknown. Working under pressure and solving problems before they happen is key. It requires the constant use of both left and right brains all while going unnoticed. This is like being both an MC and a McGuyver at the same time. :)

Capturing great portraits can be effected with one, two, three, four or even five lights all dictated by budget, style and direction. In our executive session I used three Paul C Buff lights spearheaded by a beautiful large key light, balanced by using a large strip box for a hair light above and behind right, and our background light to setoff the gradated neutral background for separation. I framed these images in a progressive horizontal way to allow for future type uses and crop. This as opposed to shooting them vertically as was typical done. For the outdoors shots I overpowered the sun with our Paul C Buff XL 2400's powered by Vagabond Mini's. A large octabox judiciously feathered served as our large key light which overpowered the sun, which served as our backlight/separation/rim/hairlight.

 BTS (behind the scenes) look at our Executive Portrait setup

BTS (behind the scenes) look at our Executive Portrait setup

Once we have completed all the photography and return to our offices the magic continues. I download, add metadata, and carefully backup the images (four versions with one stored offsite). Then I switch into artist mode and post produce all the images and provide to my clients what I call ‘the photographers best selects’....3-5 images from each person, lightly retouched and delivered via web gallery for review. Clients have indicated over time that they really appreciate this extra step. Instead of wading through 15 or 20 images from each person on their end which can be a frustrating and time-consuming affair. Once I receive the list of final selects I give each image that gentle artwork that delights but preserves each person's character. A winning combination! Images delivered and client thrilled.

 Mick Phillips, co-founder of Phillips Burgess Law Firm

Mick Phillips, co-founder of Phillips Burgess Law Firm

Great imagery is your first best chance to tell your company's story! Are your business portraits a picture of success? If not just give me a shout. I'll create a professional look that is perfect for you!