Chapter 9: What is involved in a "character" portrait?

     At times in business portraits we want to say more about the person or the company they represent than a head and shoulders portrait will allow.  What kind of attitude do we want to project about the subject?  Formal?  Informal?  Hard working? Cavalier? In order to do this we need to see more of the subject, perhaps half or even full length.  This means showing their hands, arms, and using a certain amount of  “body language”.  

Consider the following.

First: The message.  Determine what general message you want to convey.  Is the person either formal, casual, relaxed, studious, or hard-working?  Is your company more conservative, or young and progressive?

Second: Clothing.  Should you dress formal or casual?  Even with a suit there are various levels.  Should the coat be buttoned?  Remove the jacket? Loosen or remove the tie?  Roll up the sleeves? 

Third: Props.  These might include a glass,  holding a book, sitting at a desk, etc.

Fourth. Body language.  Arms folded can show determination.  Hands in pockets is more casual.  Leaning perhaps looks relaxed.  Hands on chin can look contemplative. Where you look shows where your  interest is.  Looking into the camera shows interest in your audience.  Looking off to the side or at another object or person in the photo shows your interest in them.


Tip…  Take some time and read through professional magazines or web sites and see what kind of portrait will send the message you want.  Take these to your photographer as a starting point.