Edgy look for a sports agency start-up

The final shot. They loved it

When new business start-up Acquaint wanted a hero image for their new website, I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge. Firstly, shooting three blokes in suits is never easy. Nobody really likes having their photo taken – especially three businessmen together. Totes awk, I believe is the phrase. So getting them to relax and try a few poses in my studio was the key.

Secondly, as well as some on-white and on-grey headshots, they wanted something a bit more dynamic and edgy – yet still remaining approachable, of course. As they work in professional sports marketing, predominantly with a pro football background, the idea of a sports stadium-style background was one plan. And I think it worked.

It’s always good when a client has some ideas that they want to look a bit different. Still respectable and trustworthy, of course, but something that shows off they are not an accountancy firm.

Blue suit man obviously didn't get the memo
Blue suit man obviously didn’t get the memo

So as well as regular studio business-type lighting on a white and mid-grey background, I moved onto the first shot, taken against a white wall but using beauty dishes with grids to keep the white background grey. Yes, that background really is a white wall. But grid your lights and keep the light from spilling on them, and if there’s no light there it registers as dark tones. Each of the men had a gridded dish aimed at their face, and in front of the camera position was a large strip box to reduce the contrast.

But of course the dark hair and dark suits would blend into the background like this. So to separate the men from the darkness behind, I used some rim lighting from gridded softboxes. All lights are Elinchrom RX600s or ELC HD 500/ 1000.

A bit of Photoshop and all is well, with matching suits
A bit of Photoshop and all is well, with matching suits

Of course, one of the trio turned up in a navy suit rather than their unofficial uniform of dark grey. So in post processing afterwards, the navy suit was changed to grey to match. That’s what Photoshop is for – changing hurting like that rather than fixing bad lighting.

And then for the final shot, the men were cut out using the witchcraft that is Photoshop. Not by me, but by someone who really knows what they’re doing… Nic at ameliorate.co.uk. If you’re not a retoucher then don’t try to bodge it. Get someone who knows what they are doing to do it.

Then a choice of new backgrounds was tried – from sports stadia to moody clouds and even a galaxy. But the sports floodlights was chosen as most suitable, and I agree. And so did they.

The final shot. They loved it
The final shot. They loved it