Virtual Photography: Meeting Creative Goals & Overcoming Logistical Challenges
Marketing professionals and others are facing a balancing act: how to get creative headshots and group photos while at the same time getting it done in a safe and efficient manner. The solution: Virtual Photography.
The era we now live in has changed the way people approach headshots and group photos. Health and safety concerns are impacting environmental photography.
Location photography is harder to do because companies are limiting the number of outside people who can enter their work spaces. Proximity is also a barrier to creating the kind of group photos a lot of firms want. Few people are meeting in person because most people are working remotely. Project teams are being built by bringing people together from multiple locations.
Virtual Photography involves taking photos in a studio setting against a white or neutral background. In post production, the subject is removed from the background using a technique called masking. Finally, they are placed onto a background.
How it works.
- Subject is photographed against a white or neutral background.
2. A Quick Mask is applied to the image. This involves roughly selecting areas to be dropped (red) and selecting parts of the image to be kept (green).
3. Refine tools are used to remove residual areas around the subject's hair and clothing.
4. This view shows that the background has been completely eliminated indicated by the checkerboard pattern behind the subject.
5. Previously, we shot background images at the client's office.
6. The subject is placed on the background and scaled to make her look realistically correct against it.
Here's the final image:
Virtual Group Photos
There are several advantages to creating group photos by using Virtual Photography techniques.
- Each person chooses their own favorite photo. We don't have to compromise by choosing a group image where some people look good and others not so much.
- Updating is easy. As the group changes and grows, we easily add new people without reshooting the whole group. Periodically, we may want to reshoot some people at their request as hair styles change or if they slim down. A huge advantage for people who hate having their picture taken: they never have to have their photo taken again once they are done for the initial group.
- Scheduling is easy. People can have their pictures taken at their own convenience. This is a lifesaver for marketing people and administrators because it eliminates the challenge of getting everyone together on one day, at one time, and at one place.
- The group can be placed on a Virtual Background so that they appear to be in the office or another location.
- Once the initial group is created savings are incremental over time. Fees are charged only for the newly added people.
Realistically composed group photos are created first by making sure we have multiple poses of each person to work with. This gives us flexibility to place people in a group in the most logical and flattering way.
By using a relaxed fun approach to each shoot, I create a unified look that makes it look like everyone's photos were taken at the same time.
From a technical standpoint we make sure each person is proportionately sized compared to everyone else in the group. Finally, we add subtle shadows on each person that would naturally be cast when people stand next to each other.
To see more lifestyle portraits of people at work, some of which are Virtual, click here.
To see more corporate business portraits, click here.
More articles about photography: click here
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