I have to take a photo of my boss for the company newsletter. I
use my camera to take pictures when I travel and candid photos of
my kids. I'm not ready for a pro portrait session.
Relax. Most bosses are just big kids anyway. However real kids often
like having their picture taken. Since most adults are self-conscious,
chances are your boss probably doesn't like having her or his picture
taken. That means that step number one is to put your boss at ease.
Explain that you'll only need a few moments of her time.
We suggest you have your boss stand, or else lean back and rest
against a desk or table. Most chairs make people slouch. Professionals
use something called a posing stool, but since you don't have one,
it's safer to keep your boss upright.
people look slimmer and more relaxed if one shoulder is turned away
from the camera and the other one toward the camera. Remember that
the three most expressive aspects of any person are the eyes, the
mouth and the hands.
For a choice of expression in the eyes, take some photos with your
subject looking directly into the lens, and some with the subject
looking up and over your shoulder.
For executives, either a slight smile or a mildly serious expression
is appropriate. In today's more relaxed business climate, smiling
is often preferred.
Give your subject something to do with his hands even if the hands
don't show in the photo. This will keep your subject's shoulders relaxed
and natural-looking as well. It doesn't matter what the subject holds,
but it might be related to the job or the person. If the subject wears
glasses some of the time, perhaps she can hold her glasses. An executive
can hold a report or a book.
Take some pictures using flash and some without. Try to position the
camera so that it is at eye level or slightly below the subject's
eyes. This will give an authoritative look to the subject, because
the camera is subtly looking up at the boss.
Work quickly and take lots of photos from several angles. Watch out
for what's right behind your boss's head. Avoid anything that is distracting.
The tips we've offered are a crash course in portraiture, and we could
go on and on, but it's probably better for you to handle the job with
just these tips in mind. If you follow them, you'll get results that
will be just fine.