Commercial Real Estate "In Action"

Last week I received a call from the CEO of a commercial real estate firm here in Phoenix. I had worked with them twice before, the first time being on an editorial assignment, and then I did their updated headshots about a year ago.

The firm is merging with a national level brokerage firm and needed new headshots that matched the branding of the new company. The assignment called for black and white images, pretty tightly cropped, and most importantly - they needed to be "action" shots. Action shots of office work.... How hard could that be?

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Putting all of my creative powers into the assignment, I basically came up with three styles of shots:
          1. Talking on the phone (cell, office, or headset)
          2. Reading or writing (or working on a PC)
          3. What I called "caught" - smiling for an 'unexpected' picture while busy at work.
I needed to photograph 10 or 12 different brokers and I used the above action shots for all of them, but I think there were enough variations between each office, personality, etc., that none of them have exactly the same images as somebody else.
The images in this post are just the proofs, I haven't completed finals for each person yet, but one of the challenges I ran into was skin tone. Frankly, black and white is not a standard medium for me at all, so I began to realize rather quickly that some skin tones and complexions don't translate well into pure black and white.
What I did to try and circumvent that was desaturate the images just to remove enough color to look like it's black and white, but still leave a little warmth in them. Not sepia warm, but no straight gray either. Once I found the desaturation levels I liked, I adjusted the white balance and contrast levels to taste for each individual.

It was actually a lot more fun than I anticipated, the black and white aspect has been something different to mix the workflow up a little, and we had a lot of fun shooting these "action" shots and coming up with different ideas for the final product. I think most people are seeing the economy start to rebound, and I have seen a jump in the amount of corporate work I have shot this year. I hope things keep improving for everybody, and I'm already looking forward to what 2013 has in store.


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