Meet John Karl Scholz. He’s an economist and dean of the college of Letters and Science at University of Wisconsin- Madison. I photographed him in his work office back in the fall of 2019.
Business portrait request
I was finishing up several editorial photo assignments for UW- Madison Letters and Science magazine. And then, last minute, magazine art director decided to add an updated portrait of dean.
I’ve been asked to photograph dean’s business portrait begind his work desk at his office.
Upon arriving to dean’s office, I found the angles to take pictures in room to be fairly limiting. Besides room being fairly narrow and having low ceiling, room’s layout was somewhat complicated as well. As a result, I had very limited angles to take pictures from.
Figuring out the approach for business portrait
In addition to room being fairly small, there was a problem with photographing dean at his work desk. Firstly, wall behind it was boring and wouldn’t make a nice and compelling background. Secondly, the background I saw potential, was a bookshelf. But I couldn’t move dean’s work desk. It was just too heavy.
As a result, I ended up using a round meeting table that was available in dean’s office. All I had to do was to remove glass cover off it to prevent unwanted reflections. Meeting table worked perfectly with the bookshelf as a background.
In order to add some variety to the final images, I photographed dean in couple different outfits.
In the same fashion, I snapped few pictures of dean with available window light.
In the end, John Karl Scholz portrait turned out to be a good example for challenges, that portrait and headshot photographer might face when working on location.