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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!"

Corporate headshot of Advent International team member.

David Shopper is creating engaging executive portraits during the pandemic. Safe, careful, and respectful.

Well, that was one   long   year.

This is a post to remind you that we’re still creating engaging portraits.  We’re masked-up, physically-distanced, and scouting for open and roomy areas.

The portrait above is for Advent International, a global private equity firm headquartered here in the Prudential Tower.

A corporate portrait of an attorney photographed in Boston for Zalkind Law firm.

Boston corporate portrait and headshot photographer David Shopper creating a physically-distanced portrait.

David creating a physically-distanced attorney portrait in downtown Boston.

Almost daily, we get asked if safely creating high quality photos in the midst of this pandemic is possible. This is all we thought about all spring.  As we embrace the “new normal,” we’ve implemented a set of protocols to ensure a safe and harmonious shoot for everyone. So, happily, the answer is “Yes, absolutely!”

So, what’s changed? We still have the same commitment to excellence and professionalism, and our goal is always to create fantastic photography. Only now, our shoots look a bit different. Here’s what precautions you can expect:

  • My eyes are smiling. All members of our crew will be wearing masks at all times. In addition, we ask that you wear a mask unless you’re in front of the camera and the shutter’s clicking.
  • Outdoor shoots whenever possible. We’re great at finding flattering natural light both outdoors and in.  If rain or cold make being outside impractical, we look for large, bright common indoor spaces with room to spread out and good air circulation.
  • Keeping our distance. To keep as much distance between you and the camera as possible; we opt for long lenses that allow you to seem close up when you are 10 – 12 feet back. In addition, to avoid crowding around a capture station/laptop, we post a preview gallery so you can choose your favorite images on your own computer.  Digital assistants are also available who can stream previews to a tablet in real time. We ask that only the minimum necessary people inhabit the immediate shooting space.
  • Being intuitive and efficient. Shooting predominantly with natural light ensures quick sessions without drawn-out technical fussing.
  • Modified group photography. We will work with you to shoot group portraits that allow everyone to be safely distant, using careful placement and/or post-production manipulation to make people appear closer together. We’ll never ask you to pose close to someone in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Super sanitization. We keep high standards of cleanliness for our equipment, which we thoroughly sanitize between assignments.
  • Not feeling so hot? Stay home! If you, or anyone we’ll be shooting, develops symptoms of COVID-19, we can reschedule the shoot without any cancellation fees. We also pledge to reschedule if we are experiencing compromised health.

We’re dedicated to celebrating – and maintaining – your energy, engagement, and vibrancy.

Another year of shooting the Cognex annual report.  Another year of recognition.

As readers of this blog know, we’ve been shooting the Cognex annual for over a decade now.  We’ve gone to California to parody the Martha Stewart Magazine and have recreated the Springsteen “Born to Run” album (below… and don’t forget last year’s Back to the Future annual report).  Never a dull moment with these gentlemen.

This year, the annual took the form of a Bon Appétit parody.  Our fearless leaders, Dr. Bob Shillman and Rob Willett, led us on a culinary tour of their tech company.

As with pretty much all of our previous annuals, this one garnered high praise in international creative competitions.  Here are the MerComm Inc. International ARC Awards results for our annual report in its division:

  • Gold Award for design/graphics
  • Gold Award for cover photography and design

and here are the results for the League of American Communications Professionals (LACP) Awards in our industry:

  • Gold Award worldwide
  • Top 100 Annual Reports worldwide (ranked #67)
  • Most Creative Report in the Americas region
  • Top 40 Annual Reports in the Americas region (ranked #24)

Kudos to the Cognex team and Point One Design.

Boston Workplace Candid Photo: banner image of Building Venture team.

Group portrait of the Building Ventures leadership team for their new corporate website.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time working on my SEO.  I try hard to position my services so people can find me.  As a result, I get a lot of calls asking for headshots.  The trouble with headshots is that if you’re not careful, they can be so boring that you just cry.  You know the ones I’m talking about.

So when I get a call from a venture capital firm that positions itself as “proud to be working with some of the most disruptive teams in the industry”, the sky opens up and the Light of Hope shines down on me.  I love when people think outside the box for headshots.

Meet Heather Widman, a principal at Building Ventures.  Part of a team of 4 experts who help nascent companies get funding.  Their vision is to build a better world by partnering and mentoring companies that will help our planet.

As a rule, I try to listen rather than talk during the “getting to know you” call.  What does their company want to say with the photos?  How do they see themselves positioned in the market?  How are they different than their competition?  If you let people talk for a while, they’ll tell you how to take your shots – not directly or technically of course, but they’ll tell you the experience they want their audience to have when they see the work.

As a VC company, their imagery has to look professional, sophisticated, and compelling.  But as a company that specializes in disruptive thinking and innovative start-ups, the headshots have to be non-traditional. They have to feel personal.

We decided to shoot in black & white – classy yet unassuming.  We decided to focus in on the team members as they worked together rather than having them look at the camera and smile.  I guess you could describe these as “candid headshots.”

The results is a short series of approachable and striking portraits.

Building Ventures has an office at the Boston WeWork.  We leveraged their conference room for the above group portrait that became a web banner.  Normally, when you’re shooting 4 people around a table, it’s visually awkward – someone has to has their back to the camera or else it looks posed.  This setup lets us see everyone clearly and uses reflections and sunlight to give a sense of authenticity.

You can see the candid headshots on Building Ventures’ new site with this link.

Individual headshot photos: engaged portraits with a distinctive look.

Resource: for anyone who’s looking for a general resource, here’s an article about candid photography with good info.

“David shot candid team and headshot photos for our venture capital firm. We wanted upgraded photos for our newly redesigned website that would both fit our aesthetic and reflect our personality. David delivered on both counts and beyond! He is a pleasure to work with, making the process easy and enjoyable. We would hire David again in a heartbeat!  -Heather Widman, Principal, Building Ventures

I’m pleased to have just been chosen for Expertise’s “Best Portrait Photographers in Boston” awards.


David Shopper is chosen as one of "Best Portrait Photographers in Boston, 2020"

In their words: “We looked at 219 portrait photographers serving Boston and picked the Top 20.  We scored portrait photographers on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analyzed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best portrait photographers in Boston, MA.”