Small office space portrait

Working on location at a clients office can often be a daunting task, especially if the space to work in is small. In this business portrait photography class Karl shares a number of useful tips to help you get great results.

In this class Karl explains the common problems one may face when doing a shoot such as this. He covers what to look out for, how to overcome common issues, how to pose your subject and how to light them.

In this portrait photography class we cover the following:

  • Portrait photography: Environmental business portraits
  • How to take business portraits using studio lights
  • How to photograph business portraits on location
  • Useful equipment for portrait photography
  • Posing ideas for business portraits
  • Camera settings for environmental business portrait photography

NOTE: This course is available with English subtitles.


  1. Sir,
    When shooting in wide aperture,what focusing method use? Focus recomposing method may have slightly out to subject face, is it correct. I am in Kerala, India, a wedding photographer, Can you show
    group photos shooting tips in wedding events.

    1. Hi Benny, I often manually focus or you can use a focus selection point if you have multiple ones to choose from.

  2. Hi Karl, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, I have learned more in two months with KTE than in 2 years in other courses!!!!
    In the coming days I will have to do the same job for a real estate agency but their office is a little smaller than yours.
    Is it possible to do the job with a 50 mm lens on a full frame camera and 2 softboxes?
    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Cristian, thank you for your feedback. Yes it’s possible but each room shape, height, space will present it’s own challenges. I’d prefer not to use a 50mm unless I had to i’d rather push up to at least 70mm if I could. Also 2 lights are great but don’t commit to just softboxes, your lighting setup might be better with one bare bulb light pointing away from your subject to fill the room and one softbox on the subject but as I said it all depends on the room. Get there in plenty of time and run test shots. If you don’t have an assistant do the tests on yourself with a self timer.

    1. Hi Latesh, in a small office like this there will inevitably bounce off the ceiling anyway but whether you should direct light there will depend on if you want more top lighting or not and also based on the size of the office and the height of the ceiling.

  3. Karl,

    Thanks for all the material! It has been a huge help! Was wondering if you have any tutorials on how to approach lighting a group of people like a band or a group of businessmen. That would be super helpful!


  4. Hi Karl I hope everything is well for you, I just want to thank you for the knowledge that you kindly are sharing, my photo skills are gradually improving thanks to you.
    And every penny that I have invested on Karl taylor education it’s been worth it.
    Well I’ve got a question for you when you do a bussines portrait on lacation what is the minimum equipment that you take? at the moment I only have a canon camera and I have aquired three flash lamps thanks for your help

    1. Hi Ernesto, thank you for your kind words. 3 lights is all you should need if you’ve got some form of modifiers such as softboxes or scrims to use with some of your lights. You’ll see some business portrait examples in our ‘Portrait’ section and in Live Shows Replays. Also take a tripod and a reflector like a lastolite and a stand and clamp to hold it.

  5. Hi Karl,

    Could i create this scenario with a couple of speedlights if i don’t have the more expensive studio lights available?
    What would be the downside to this approach?

    1. Hi Adam, yes of course you could. I’d use them in full manual mode and adjust the power to suit the scenario, TTL just won’t cut it. The downside is you don’t have any modelling lamps to see what you are setting up.

  6. Hi Karl, Great video.
    Based on your experience,in business shots like this one, how many poses or different scenarios in average do you create for a single person?
    I mean, if you could throw an average, how many different looks does a business person go for when they request your services

    1. Hi Raul, I create one. The best one for the person based on the room, the shape of them, how they sit and what they look like and how comfortable they are. They are generally only small tweaks or variations to what you saw here.

  7. Karl, at timeline 10:07 you scrimed the outer window, but I noticed you had a shade that might did the same, if pulled down. Did you use the scrim so you could have a consistency in the light given the fact that you used the same scrim on the inner window? Would have been a difference if you just pulled the shade down?

    1. Hi Bogdan, the shade on that window was a solid black out shade that blocks all the light, had it been a diffusor type shade then yes that would have worked.

  8. Karl, using the flash set up, you said your aperture with the 85 mm Lens was 1.8. How about your ISO Set up. Was it at 100?

  9. It would be nice to see how Karl would approach this shot if the window and glass divider weren’t available. Solid walls in a small room would have created a different challenge.

    1. Hi Michael, if it had been that scenario I would have possibly opted to put a softbox on my right (to the right of the chairs) but out of view of camera and put a white board over the window and shone a light with a wide grid into that white board/reflector. Every room has its own challenges and I’ve shot hundreds of business people in a variety of situations from small offices at home to executive offices at the top of skyscrapers. I always found using an assistant the best way to test the light and build a solution, this can sometimes take an hour or more of testing and repositioning lights. But the most important thing is getting it to work and then getting the client in when you are ready and the key is that I’ve always made sure I left plenty of time for the testing. It’s the knowledge of light in chapter 1 of this ‘Light Source’ and the earlier chapters of this course that means you can usually work your way out of nearly any scenario.

        1. Hi Walter, I would say at the lowest power you should be fine but when I have too much light and I can’t go any lower in power then I put a Neutral Density Gel on the lights.

Leave a Comment