Rosetta Stone CEO Tom Adams for Inc.

My folks got me Rosetta Stone’s Thai language learning software one Christmas.  I had fun with it, but sold it after I decided not to move to Bangkok.  That being said, this shoot was the first time I’d been asked to photograph a businessman who produces a product I have actually used.  That made it personal somehow- it upped the “neat-o” factor that I feel on a lot of my shoots.

I like shooting businesspeople.  CEOs and presidents and venture capitalists and the like are usually my biggest challenge because for them, time is literally money.  The more time they spend on the set of a photoshoot, the less time they have to spend helming the company ship on the high seas of international commerce.  I’m lucky if I get 5 minutes with people like that.  Trouble is, it’s difficult to get a meaningful photo of any stranger inside of 5 minutes.  Oh, it’s simple to take a good photo of anyone in 5 minutes, but it’s rare that the 5-minute-shoot ever transcends adequate.

Inc. Magazine asked me to do one of the simplest things a photographer could do for a shoot like this:  full body, white seamless.  That’s something that you can bang out in one minute if you have to.  Granted, it can take a while to set up, but the actual shoot time required is negligible once everything is in place.

Thing is, I’d never actually shot a full-body white seamless before.  I owned a 4-ft white seamless and a good background stand, but I’d never had to do anything more complicated than mugshots on white, like my Ron Paul shoot.  I didn’t realize how complicated it gets when you go whole-body.  I did some research and determined that I was woefully under-prepared.  I needed a much longer white seamless paper roll, but an 8-footer would never fit in my car and a 12-footer was out of the question.  My assistant for the shoot had her own 4-foot white seamless roll, so yankee ingenuity struck and I figured it would be super easy to just tape the rolls together to create an 8-footer.  Not technically seamless, but easy enough to fix in post-production.

Tom was a lot of fun to work with, generous with his time, and between the standard CEO power poses, he gave me gold.  Normally, I wouldn’t show raw pictures on here, but I already mentioned that my white seamless had a big fat seam in the middle and you’ve seen the end result above, so I’m gonna let it slide just this once.


I’m pretty sure he’s mocking my “seamless” in that last picture.

I’ve since come up with a much more legitimate solution for my large white seamless needs.