Photographers often have to photograph people at work.
It is easy to forget who you are photographing. Although these people may be your friends, you still need to put them into context. Work is not just about friendship, it is about production.
If you are asked to do photos at work you should know why it is being done. The most important thing, as with all photographs, is planning ahead. That means discussing with your employer what is expected of you. If you know that and you get your actions approved you should have fun doing the shot and make a great job of it. After all, it is about doing a good job right?
Make sure the picture conveys the meaning you have been asked to fulfil. Often employers just want portrait shots so customers know who they are dealing with. If that is the case then you need to consider clothing, poses and backgrounds that are appropriate for your subjects. Plan the shots beforehand and approach your employer to see if your plan is appropriate before the shoot.
If the photo is a record shot of the work situation, make sure you take the shot in the context of their work. The appropriate apparatus and background is important. In the work photo above the two girls served coffee in the front-of-house operation. A teamwork photo (heads together conveys closeness and camaraderie) was appropriate. Work with the people you are photographing to make sure you are portraying their true location and work situation.
In a very diverse working environment a group shot might be more appropriate than individual shots. Make sure you work with your employer to find the best place to take the shot. Employers usually have very clear ideas about what they want to show their customers. It is important to get the final situation right. Your photograph will be saying a lot to its audience. A shot in the most presentable place in the factory is better than outside the toilets in a neglected yard! Use common sense to assess the location. Make it both relevant and appropriate. Make suggestions to help the composition, but make sure your employer is happy before doing the final shots.
An extra one for luck
If you are doing people-shots use a tripod. It is essential to make your shots sharp. Tripods will help you do that more than anything else.
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