Portrait (319/365)

by Lee Santiva November. 15, 2019 180 views
Business portrait

Business portrait

This is my friend and work colleague Birgit. We work together in the same IT company but have completely different backgrounds. She grew up in East Germany and was 16 years old when the wall dividing East and West came down. She studied Business and Marketing near Berlin before moving to West Germany when she was 24 years old.


Today she is married and works part-time because they have two daughters, 8 and 11. She was looking for a more professional looking photo for her social media presence, also within our company.


It was a win-win situation because I had the portrait challenge on November 15th and needed a subject who was willing to practice with a beginner and be published in the Internet.


I read up in advance about how to compose a business portrait for online publication and learned that almost all professional portraits use a business setting with a "white light background".

Background is too dark for use as a professional portrait on social media

Background is too dark for use as a professional portrait on social media

Afterwards she told me that the advice I gave her the night before was very important to getting the results she liked.


The night before I gave advice about clothes and makeup and passed on some advice I had learned from a German TV show called "Germany's Next Top Model with Heidi Klum".


The TV show is something for teenage girls not someone like me, however, in the very first season over 15 years ago, Heidi gave out really valuable tips about how to pose for the camera.


The most important tip was: "what you have in your mind is what will appear on camera". Translated: be very clear about what you want to convey about yourself. If you just smile as always especially because we are friends, you will look friendly but that is not perhaps as professional as you need.

Too friendly for a professional portrait

Too friendly for a professional portrait

I asked Birgit, "Are you thinking of applying for a different job perhaps as a manager?" She said, "yes I'd like more responsibility." "Then you'll need to convey competency and self-confidence. Practice in front of a mirror or with your husband. Think up some kind of mantra "I am competent and enjoy working with people". Then you will come across as both in the photo."

Since I don't have any indoor lights and due to the purpose "business professional" we had to choose a location with lots of natural light but without other people or a background.


She was pleased with the results cover and below. What do you think?

Photo as published (almost... 100 pixel difference)

Photo as published (almost... 100 pixel difference)

One important lesson learned for me was to know in advance the exact dimensions and pixels which are required for the platform where the photo is to be published so I could set up the image size correctly. It's not always possible to crop or resize in a 400x400 (last photo in the series).

It wasn't possible to post the photo which she uses in social media to Photoblog because PB requires a minimum width of 500.


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Björn Roose 2 months ago

The final portrait is almost perfect, although I would have gone for a little more smile. Benny is correct: your friend's eyes say she's scared. Could be compensated with more smile.

2 months ago Edited
Benny Law 2 months ago

I actually think #3 is the best shot and the most natural. In #4, your friend seems to look a bit confused, scared, etc. But that's just me :)

2 months ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Benny Law 2 months ago

Personally I like the dark #2 the best. I see what you see in #4 as well, thanks for the feedback! I also learned in the process that when you‘re shooting for someone else you are shooting for them, they must like it. This is the 2nd „favor for a friend“ shooting and they always surprise me with their favorite.

2 months ago Edited
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