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  • Welcome to my blog

    "I am a Boston-based commercial photographer and short film maker. This blog is a companion to my main website. Instead of simply offering up more photos, it is the place for behind-the-lens glimpses into campaigns, reflections on the photography/marketing industry, and a more expanded view of a shoot - not just the best image. Enjoy!"

I was recently asked to create professional employee headshots of all the people at DataRobot‘s Boston office.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with DataRobot, the company harnesses machine learning to help customers build predictive models.  This may or may not mean anything to you (I had to look it up).  The important takeaway is that there are a lot of smart and enthusiastic people bouncing around their offices.

Millennials appear to make up the majority of their employees, with a smattering of GenX’s and some boomers.  With an open-plan workspace and casual atmosphere, the office has a comfortable social aspect that inspires innovation.  Meals are catered so everyone eats together.  Their t-shirts sport the company mascot, which is a simple illustrated robot on a new employee’s shirt.  But if that employee sticks around for a while, their shirt-bot gets an upgrade: a ray gun or jet pack.

As with so many of the new breed of high-tech companies, their culture is their product.  The employees and their collective brain power is what makes DataRobot a force.  Often, headshots like these illustrate a culture and help sell the company to potential recruits.

So how do you make headshots like this happen?  You skip the ties, stuffy studio lighting, and dappled backdrops.  You simplify the production.  You let personalities and great attitudes take center stage.  You maintain the highest standards of quality and the lowest confines of formality.

Here a few headshots from our shoot.

 

“We have an incredibly unique culture here, and David and his team did a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of our employees with the headshot shoot. It was wonderful to work with David and everyone is so happy with how their images turned out (no easy feat!).” – Alex Chang, DataRobot Corporate Events Manager

When I take on a new assignment, it’s never a rote exercise.  I don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.  Sure, every photographer has a style, but good photographers morph their visual style to support their client’s message.

When Chestnut Hill Realty asked me to help them rebrand their family-owned company for their new website, my homework was simple – figure out what defines this company.  Of course I was interested in the physical areas where we’d be shooting, what people would be wearing, if they wanted grooming on set (they did).

But most importantly, my job was getting to know the people that make up the company, from Ed the founder to Tim the landscaper.  A lot of businesses describe themselves as “a family,” but I particularly felt the cohesiveness of this group.  Their camaraderie defined the company vibe, which shaped these photos.

We shot in two of their locales: their corporate offices and one of the properties they manage.  We sought out areas that would give a sense of well-appointed space and (of course) had great light.  I can’t help going for the great light.

But really it’s the personalities that shine through.  It’s their openness, their approachablity, their professionalism.

These portraits will populate CHR’s rebranded site, which will be coming out in the new year.  Can’t wait to see it.

 

 

 

When it comes to photogenic companies, Partners Capital is high on the list. I mean, the pictures kind of take themselves.

Of course accessing the company is hard.  I’m not talking getting the gig – I’m talking about getting my equipment into the Federal Reserve Building in Boston.  It’s TSA with your shoes on.  Armed guards everywhere you turn.  Brave New World I suppose.

Unlike many companies where I’m brought in to shoot portraits and then we end up value-adding candid work, Partners knew it needed candid shots from the outset.  Of course now I’m shooting their portrait, too.

Here are some samples from our first corporate slice-of-life shoot.  Like I said, pretty squared-away.

This image contains photographs from 6 new clients in the financial, bioscience, and realty businesses.

It’s not that I don’t want to share what I’ve been doing since my last post 6 months ago, it’s more that I haven’t had a moment.

I’m thrilled to welcome a remarkable variety of new clients in that short time: thriving companies that have asked me to help engage their audience in new ways.  For most of these businesses, we’ve been creating corporate portraits and candid workplace imagery.

Whether you’re in finance or bioscience, realty or education, your business is going to level-up with engaging visuals.

A partial list of these new collaborators:

  • Bain Capital Double Impact Fund
  • Partners Capital
  • Fitch Law Partners
  • Verrill Dana Law Partners
  • Selecta Biosciences
  • CyberX Labs
  • AdmirX
  • Chestnut Hill Realty
  • Nantucket Advisors
  • Harvard Business School

More than anything, it’s word of mouth that has brought these diverse companies to my door.  So, a big thank-you to all who have passed along my name to colleagues.

What’s this for?  Last month, a Kendall Square lifescience company asked me to help them launch their budding company’s website.  Cadent Therapeutics creates cutting-edge solutions to treat movement and cognitive disorders.

What’s so special about these portraits?  Team Page portraits are the face of the company.  At the earliest stage in a project like this, I ask: what should the portraits say about the team?  Some companies simply want to show what their employees look like.  Most want to present polished professionals.

The Win: Not Cadent.  They’re all about the patient.  The goal is to have their empathy, passion, commitment, and hope shine through.

The process: Normally, I photograph people at a comfortable distance.  I want to be respectful of personal space, and normally position myself at a typical coffee-conversation distance.  For these portraits, though, I used a shorter prime lens, narrowing the shooting space to give intimacy and closeness.  I worked with team members to be in touch with the motivations that drive them, to open up and show both strength and vulnerability.

If you think about it, that’s actually a pretty extraordinary thing to ask someone who may not be psyched to have their picture taken in the first place.  But Cadent embraced the idea and ran with it.

The results:  The simplicity, starkness, emotion, and optimism that shines through these portraits is really satisfying for me.  Kudos to my client for asking pictures to work harder.

See for yourself: check out the Team Page with this link.

In their words: David was recommended through another colleague in the biotech space and we could not be more pleased! We requested that he take both headshots and team page portraits, and man did he succeed. After a brief discussion of our goal he successfully translated our images into works of art. Cannot express how pleased we are!!  –Amber Trzeciak, Cadent Therapeutics.