Phillip Waterman is a professional editorial, commercial & corporate photographer based in West London, with a client base including Grazia, Very, Brides, Screen International and Specsavers. He studied at Salisbury College of Art way back in the 90’s!
He assisted for 5 years before starting out on his own in 2002. He mainly shoots for UK and international fashion magazines, designers and brands, shooting editorial, look books and point of sale, also global advertising projects. He’s always in pursuit of perfection and has evolved a clean, crisp and elegant style taking inspiration from graphic lines and amazing light on location shooting dynamic images to suit all commissions.
We would like to know how you shoot business.
I try to keep the shots looking graphic and interesting. If I’m in a location which isn’t that great pictorially the job is much harder, but also makes one think more in terms of lighting and angle! I keep the lights to a minimum for a simple set using the room and lens choice to create interesting images. I try to make the subject relaxed so they are at ease. In the case of single person portraits, I try to make them feel as natural as possible. Chatting to them, even getting the assistant or art director to chat to them while I snap away often gets good results.
What do you look for when casting for business? Experience of working in a business environment? Ethnicity? Age? Gender?
For stock imagery, it is good to get a good cross section of people for a shoot, both in ethnicity, age and gender. The average office doesn’t have beautiful models everywhere… at least not the offices I’ve visited! The shots need to reflect this, also to give all genders a role of leading a meeting or a senior role. Its always assumed the older the person, the more senior they are…
How do you gain access to the buildings and offices that you’ve produced in?
I usually ask nicely. Some are willing to help, mostly at weekends when the offices are empty. Board room and break out areas are the best as desks tend to hold personal stuff and often some confidential things may be on screen or on paperwork on the desk…also its a fairly personal space unless you are in a ‘hot design’ environment. Do check if you do get this level of access. People are good at clearing up if they know a photoshoot is about to happen!
Any tips on making smaller, not so promising locations work for successful business shoots?
Business shoots don’t all have to be cool glass offices with the latest tech everywhere. It depends of clients. There is definitely a market for a more scruffy office environment, often a messy desk means more work is getting done!!! Small locations and ones which look less suitable on the outset mean you can get in closer and blur the background to a certain extent.
What concepts do you apply when shooting business imagery for stock?
A sense of the models being as relaxed as possible and chatting amongst themselves to create some cool moments. When you’re shooting a boardroom setting for example, get the models to chat about the latest TV or whatever they’re into, viewer doesn’t know what being said! Often shooting around a scenario that’s natural without directing too much achieves the best shots.
What type of business imagery do you think will trend for 2017
Natural images which show some of the newer tech start-ups, a look and feel that is instinctively different from the acres of business which has populated stock for ages. Also, think outside the box a bit. Business doesn’t always have to be in an office in a town to city… business can be anywhere… outside too…
What are your tips and tricks for shooting successful, authentic business images?
Its hard to reinvent the wheel, which is what we are trying to do here. However, with some research in both locations and models, new styles can emerge. Ideally try to get a group of people together who already know each other as this makes for more moments which are genuine. I’m about to shoot some new business work, and have found a location where a few staff members are wanting to model too!