During a couple of recent events my clients have asked me if I could take a few headshots of some key staff members for their websites. I wasn’t expecting to be asked and so lack the sort of lighting rig that one would normally want to use for corporate headshots.
My top 5 tips as a Headshot Photographer;
1) Be prepared for unexpected requests by carrying around a really decent portrait prime lens. I have two – a 50mm 1.4 and an 85mm 1.4 that are fast and fabulous with unctuous amounts of bokeh.
2) Be flexible when it comes to light source and use all the natural light you can 3) Find a neutral background which is sometimes easier said than done in hotels where the kinds of events I cover normally take place.
4) Make it fun. Your subject is taking time out of his or her day to spend a few moments with you. They may not be in the most relaxed mode anyway so its up to you to bring the best out of them in the short amount of time you’ll have together.
5) Remember that black & white works great when it comes to the edit. Linked In profiles in black and white really tend to pop and portraits almost always seem to lend themselves to the amazing gift that B&W is.
I love working in Prague and started out there in 2009/10. In that time I’ve covered quite a few corporate conferences and each one throws up a different set of challenges. The AMBA conference at the Corinthia Towers Hotel was challenging because these were long days with lots of speakers to cover during plenty of breakout sessions. I loved every second though and hope the few images I’ve selected reflect my passion for this kind of work. Thanks to my client for their faith in me and congratulations to them for putting on a fabulous event.
Technical details; Nikon D700. AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8. Shot at f/3.5, ISO 1000 and 1/100s.
This shot was taken at a recent client event in Barcelona. Brand Loyalty are an incredible Dutch company based down in Den Bosch and are always looking for interesting ways of making their events come to life to give them that WOW! factor. They had sponsored this Olympic rings gymnast and persuaded him to come and give an after-dinner show for guests at their 20th birthday party. Incredible! He was hanging 100 feet from the ceiling of the Museum of Catalan Art and lit by only one light on either side of him.
The lesson from this shot is simply this; if I’m given a choice between natural and artificial light I’d ALWAYS choose natural first. But in so much of my work low light conditions prevail. So then, rather than reaching for the flash, why not just use the ambient light available? Turn OFF the flash and magic like this can happen.
To book me for your next conference, congress, party or corporate jamboree please get in touch via email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Late last year, prior to a client event in Barcelona, I had the rare opportunity to do some street work – my favourite form of photographic adventure.
Out and about on the streets around La Rambla, there was a biblical thunderstorm which went on for hours. The streets emptied and everyone either ducked into a local bar or went home. I ended up in an ice cream parlour. I noticed a large amount of rainwater had engulfed the street in front of the parlour and thought it might be interesting to see how people navigated it whilst staying perfectly dry myself. I put on my 50mm f/1.4 lens and waited and watched. There was nothing else to do!
For about 5 minutes I had been photographing people tiptoeing there way across the puddle but then something truly wonderful happened. As if on a movie set, two young ladies came round the corner and started singing, splashing and dancing in the rain with genuine gaiety. And, unbeknownst to them, I was there to capture this moment. The result was my favourite picture of 2014.
The lesson here is a simple one. When you are covering human activity always be ready before the moment actually happens. Sometimes you won’t know what’s going to happen but you can be sure that where human beings are gathered, something is ALWAYS about to happen!
To order a copy of this image as a stunning print for your wall at home or in your office please do get in touch via email for a quote.
On a job for a corporate client in Rotterdam just before Christmas we visited the now famous Markthal. With a subject like this you may think it impossible to get a bad shot. You’d be wrong.
It was my first time visiting so it took me a while to realise that there are some stalls which have eating areas which you access via the establishment in question’s private stairway. Only when you are sitting in one of those areas can you take a really nice photo of the Markthal roof. And then the subject is just enough. Get the angle right and let the wonders of digital enhancement – this is brightened up and the vibrancy increased a bit (but ONLY a bit!) – do the rest to create an arresting image.
If you are holding an event of any kind in 2015 in the Netherlands or the UK, please do get in touch.
This shot is typical of my photo-journalistic style for weddings and the lesson is a simple one; a good wedding photographer understands that on your wedding day the story can be found anywhere and everywhere. Sure, the focus is on the bride (especially) and the groom but the guests add life and fun to your day. Often the pictures the bride and groom will delight in most will be the ones taken without them knowing what’s going on!
Taken this summer in London at an Armenian wedding, it shows the ring bearer excitedly showing off the ring cushion to assorted guests prior to the bride’s arrival.
If you are getting married or know of anyone planning a wedding in 2015 in the Netherlands or the UK, why not pass my details on to them?
At a borrel the other night I met the brilliant Robin Pascoe who invited me to do an interview for their Dutch News 10 Questions feature on their website; dutchnews.nl.
The results are below! With a few extra photos for illustration purposes … I can’t help myself! I am a photographer after all.
Benjamin Arthur Age? 42 Nationality?
Where do you live?
Amsterdam for now. Amstelveen from 2015. What do you do?
I’m a leading independent photographer covering mainly Corporate conferences / Congress events & weddings here in the Netherlands and across Europe. I also spend quite a lot of my time taking portraits which I love.
My work can be found on www.benjaminarthur.com How long have you been in the Netherlands? 3½ years Twitter name(so we can alert you when your entry goes live)
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
My wife was offered a job to work for a boutique executive search firm specialising in filling marketing positions. At the time we both thought Amsterdam would be a great adventure. Happily, we weren’t wrong and now we can’t imagine living anywhere else. This city is insanely brilliant.
How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc – and why?
If lovepat means we love Amsterdam then lovepat! We certainly don’t lead an expat lifestyle and I’m not even sure I know what that means anymore. We try to be careful not to define ourselves in this way.
How long do you plan to stay?
Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn?
No and learning the language has got to be next on the agenda after our recent house purchase. It is extraordinary to think that we could stay here for the rest of our lives and, thanks to google translate and the amazing linguistic talents of the Dutch not have to take a single language class. We won’t do that but we could.
What’s your favourite Dutch food?
That’s a toss up between Bitterballen with mustard and Vlaamse Frites slathered in Satay saus & Zaanse mayonnaise.
You didn’t expect me to name something healthy did you?!
What do you miss about back home?
Hills – Britain has the most wonderful countryside on the planet and we all too rarely appreciate it.
How Dutch have you become?
I like brown shoes with a dark suit more than is acceptable for an English gentleman. And, oh, what’s a car?
What’s your top tourist tip?
Any time you are here on a Saturday be sure to spend at least the morning in and around the Noordermarkt market. Breakfast in the Finch café (Croque Madame every time) or munch on herring and have a Broodje Beenham for lunch down the Lindengracht. Chat to the stallholders. Get some nuts from De Nootzaak Gotjé. Browse Timbuctu’s books and even buy a couple. When we have a future with no markets and only amazon left, life will be dismal. Slink off for a quick beer in Cafe Papeneiland. Its heaven.
Tell us something surprising you’ve found out about NL?
How absurdly slim and good looking most Dutch people are. Considering their deep fried diets this is quite an achievement.
If you had just 24 hours left in NL, what would you do?
Mourn. Hope it was Saturday and do all of the above (see ‘What’s your top tourist tip’!) Then I’d take a long bike ride around the canals and end up in the Vondelpark.
I remember my old days in the agency. Every credentials presentation we’d have to put together a logo soup of our current clients & brands. I never did one of these for my photography business … until now.
And I am so blessed to be able to call every single one of the names on here my client.
It represents 5 years of really hard work to get to this point. And I know that the next 5 are going to bring ever more hard work and adventures.
So, a big THANK YOU to all of those featured on Benjamin Arthur – Clients – you know who you are – and a big WELCOME to anyone thinking of coming aboard!
In this season of Remembrance we Brits not only are thinking about the fallen in the First World war and all subsequent wars but also, for the 5th November, we remember the Gunpowder plot. Each year now I cover the British Society of Amsterdam’s big night celebrating Guy Fawkes Night. There are sparklers, spectacular fireworks, “Guys” and, of course a huge bonfire. This year was made extra special thanks to the generous sponsorship from Marks & Spencer in Netherlands. They supplied all the food & drink thus enabling the British Society to raise a good deal extra money for Charity. Furthermore they ‘loaned’ us the Michelin starred chef Christopher Naylor of Restaurant Vermeer fame to make sure that all the grub was up to snuff. And boy was it up to snuff! Fab burgers, succulent posh dogs, quiches for the vegetarians and Pork pies warmed on the grill. Yummy. Everyone agreed, it was the best Bonfire Night ever!
This beautiful couple celebrated their 1st anniversary recently and, as a present, Matt gave Laura a 2 hour walkabout session. We started in beautiful autumnal light and finished in total darkness … with an hour’s change and refreshing break in the spectacularAndazhotel in between. It was one of the shoots of the year for sure!