Last year, I was commissioned to photograph the Scottish information technology veteran, Tom O’Hara, with his colleagues, Alan Turnbull and David Chazan, for a Scottish business press release announcement.
The challenge was to choose an iconic Glasgow backdrop near their offices, which offered some shelter from the tricky weather conditions that were battering Scotland that week. The area outside the SEC and the SSE Hydro was the obvious choice as it’s only a stone’s throw from their offices. There were also quite a few sheltered spots which I could use to secure the lights in the wind and prevent the group from looking like they were standing out on a highland hillside in a gale.
Kick ICT Group Corporate Portrait Sessions with Epic Scotland Photography
Tom O’Hara was announcing that his Kick ICT Group had become the biggest provider of IT solutions to small and medium-sized companies in Scotland. This was because of a recent acquisition of the larger Bellshill-based Castle Computer Services.
I was slightly concerned that the grey skies, the grey buildings and the grey suits might make the picture feel a little… well, grey. But I was able to use that to my advantage. By creating some dramatic lighting and keeping the executives’ expressions light, the monotone nature of the photo just added to the drama.
Also at my disposal was the contrasting architecture of the area which enabled me to build on the drama of the colour and light. The curves and points of the Clyde Auditorium led the eye into the composition from the right while the bulges of the SSE Hydro framed the other edge of the picture perfectly.
To add to the contrast, the functional form of the Finneston Crane intertwined with the arc of the Squinty Bridge and the stair-case outline of the apartments made for a dream composition. The final element was the rectilinear paving, which drew the eye of the viewer from their position into the frame, pulling all the layers of the picture together.
I knew that this area was private property, so I approached the guys on security ahead of the shoot to check that there wouldn’t be any problems with access. It’s an issue that I regularly have to deal with when shooting in privately owned public spaces and the old favourite option of “winging-it” is a high-risk strategy and not always advisable! Anyway, after a couple of calls, I got the thumbs up from the guys in the high-vis vests who kindly gave me clearance for the shoot.
Once we’d finished the shots at the SEC, we headed back across the bridge and I took advantage of the perspective and colour of the red walkway for a secondary picture. I always try and give my clients an alternative “belt and braces” option, even if I’m super happy with the first shot as I was here. You just never know what unforeseen issues may crop up.
This really was a fantastic corporate group portrait session. I’d like to thank Ian Spinney, the long-time Glasgow-based business to business and corporate PR specialist, who commissioned the group portrait session from me. Good working with you as always, Ian!