While Seattle hasn’t always been considered one of America’s top business hubs, over recent years many publications, including Forbes, have cited it as a major city to invest in. This can most certainly be attributed to the tech boom it is currently experiencing, yet it has always had a strong case for why its economy is one of long-term stability. Seattle became a capital of aerospace manufacturing when Boeing was founded there in 1916. Still based in the Puget Sound region, Boeing was Seattle’s largest employer, bringing many professionals and homebuyers to the area throughout the decades. Since then peers in the industry, including Space X and Fatigue Technologies, have also set up in Seattle. Another asset is the city’s main harbor, Elliott Bay, one of the world’s busiest ports and a major source of trade and commerce for the Pacific Northwest. Add in the opening of the country’s first Starbucks, the first Costco warehouse, the relocation of Microsoft, along with the founding of Amazon, and one can surmise that Seattle successfully predicted the future of America’s economy as we’ve come to know it. While there are many reasons to move there in pursuit of a career in business, a corporate photographer in Seattle can find the same stability in collaborating with the countless companies setting up and looking to make their mark on the world.
At Wonderful Machine, we define corporate photography as broadly encompassing the world of business, often showing people dressed in business attire in business environments doing business-like things. It can be shot in reportage, lifestyle, portrait, or conceptual styles. As this city continues to be home to innovation in technology and commerce, here are the best corporate photographers in Seattle to capture it.
Rick Dahms is a is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated photographer whose specialty is on-location portraiture. He works worldwide to provide corporations, publishers, and agencies with the shots of their teams to make an effective first impression to the public, one of the most important steps in a business’s development. Rick’s general portrait work is daring in both the locations he chooses as well as the angles he shoots from. This is often done to dramatic effect while also involving elements of conceptual photography, with sharp clarity in both the imagery and the post-production work across his portfolio. Rick’s corporate photography maintains these exciting traits while showcasing his subjects in the most professional of manners. The locations he selects often explore the most creative aspects of an office, showing a preference for bold colors. His studio-shot corporate work involves sparse white, gray, or black backgrounds, giving the attire of his subjects the louder voice in showcasing a quiet vibrancy to their personalities. One thing all of Rick’s subjects have in common is their calm, yet positive demeanor while displaying freedom to express themselves within the ideals of business-related portraiture.
My shoots are, generally, low-key and relaxed. It makes for a nice environment for “real people” or executives that aren’t comfortable in front of a camera.
Yet there will also be occasions where Rick brings his conceptual edge to his corporate photography. This shows his dynamic creativity to be a great fit for businesses of all levels of approach toward a refined, casual, or even playful representation of their professionals. From Rick, all are equally strong.
Both a photographer and director across multiple specialties, ranging from corporate, portraits, lifestyle, and product work, Stanton J. Stephens is quality all the way. His images are colorful and balanced in their composition, yet also exciting in that they often are capturing action. How can one capture the action in corporate photography? Going by Stanton’s work, the answer is in allowing his subjects to be themselves and do their jobs. Through his access to the process of a workplace and its employees, he is able to capture candid moments or pose his subjects in a way that makes for a candid-seeming image. Because of his experience in creating vibrant, high-energy lifestyle photography, Stanton is adept in bringing out a positive and energetic in his subjects. This is effective in communicating a cheery workplace while allowing enough authenticity in his more candid shots to be realistic in his overall coverage of a company. Much akin to the lifestyle specialty, he often shows multiple scenes within a workplace, from meetings to phone correspondence to any form of workplace camaraderie. This not only gives his clients multiple options as to images to go with, but also lends itself to a web presence that allows viewers to explore a work environment as they explore a business’s website. Also an accomplished fine artist, Stanton’s photo series “Color is Everything” was a featured solo show at the Seattle Museum of Art in 2017.
A photographer very at home in editorial work, Lindsey Wason has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association and Asian American Journalists Association for her imagery. Working earlier in her career as a staff photographer at The Seattle Times, Lindsey was part of a team that won the 2015 Breaking News Pulitzer for their coverage of the Oso landslide. Currently a team photographer with the Seattle Sounders FC, she also is a frequent contributor to Reuters, Getty Images, and USA Today Sports while additionally doing editorial work for The New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, and Seattle Met Magazine. Working as a corporate photographer in Seattle, Lindsey brings a sense of immediacy, timing, and authenticity to her shoots, preferring candid moments over anything posed. This especially works for corporate event photography and coverage of meetings, during which she grabs clear images of honest interactions. Showing professionals naturally working together in their own environment while remaining out of the way is a tricky act of balance, yet Lindsey’s deep experience covering news and sporting events makes this second nature. Her timing and proficiency are the key ingredients. The result is honest imagery that expresses the trust available in the individuals who make up a successful business, one of the best first impressions one can make to the world.
Showing one trick to being an effective corporate photographer in Seattle is to be adept in business yourself, Ashley Genevieve is that and so much more. Having 15 years of experience as a producer, she also recently helped develop a woman’s shoe brand Jane and the Shoe. Working as the Marketing Director, Creative Director, and Director of Partnerships for the company, she was also responsible for all of the company’s branding, imagery, social media content, and trade show design.
With a full understanding of all aspects from design, to market, to consumer purchase, I have extensive knowledge of operations giving me an additional edge to creative execution with all parties in mind.
Because of the completeness Ashley and her teams bring to every shoot, she has performed well over 100 contract freelance projects while maintaining an impressive amount of repeat business and long-term client relationships. If you were a business, wouldn’t you want somebody with those values to create your visual presence? Her corporate work is centered around solo and group portraits. The studio backgrounds she selects are quiet, often favoring neutral shades of white and gray in a studio setting to accentuate her subjects and their attire. Given her work in fashion photography and branding, this is effectively handled with a result that is always classy. Being just as adept in on-location work through her experience in lifestyle photography, she often has her subject pose in various areas of an office, typically favoring the aspects that are more home-oriented. She has the same approach in her outdoor photography, working with natural light to provide a dynamic wholeness when viewed with the images she captures indoors.
The second veteran of The Seattle Times on our list, Ron Wurzer grew up in Southern California before moving to the Pacific Northwest. Honing his craft through the documentary photography he learned working for The Seattle Times, he has since done projects for local giants Microsoft, T Mobile, and Starbucks, as well as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and MSNBC.
I learned from my time as a newspaper staff photographer (The Seattle Times, The Orange County Register) and as a freelancer how to make people feel at ease in front of the camera. It is what I am passionate about. Capturing some authenticity of a person in a picture and telling their story. Everyone has dignity too. No matter their line of work or perceived social standing. The pleasure for me is helping that come through in every person, and documenting it.
Ron’s commissions for ForbesLife Magazine and PR Week especially lend themselves to the diverse corporate photography he provides to his clients. His portraiture often has his subjects on location at their job, which ranges from corporate to industrial. This shows how Ron’s dynamic editorial experience has made for an ability to capture his subjects anywhere, doing anything, with clarity and candidness that is shared by every image. Even if his subjects are posing, they are in the midst of the activity that defines their work, giving authenticity as well as pride to their bearing. Known for his friendly demeanor and readiness to collaborate, one can see how at ease the professionals he works with, typically not used to being in front of a camera, seem to feel. In capturing larger events, Ron’s news experience is a perfect match for documenting corporate showcases and busy trade shows.
A professional in photojournalism, portraiture, and documentary photography with over 20 years of experience, Meryl Schenker is a national award-winning photographer. Yet another creative on this list who has the ability to shoot anyone in nearly any setting, Meryl spent 12 years as a staff photographer at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper before its closure in 2009. Gaining an ability to keep her subjects relaxed in a multitude of environments through this experience, she is particularly effective in presenting the personalities of her subjects as the heart of each photograph. As a corporate photographer in Seattle, home of many startups and tech businesses that have a more playful, casual, and current approach to their presentation, this is perhaps the best trait a creative can have in addition to technical skill. As for that, Meryl’s portfolio of diverse professionals shows her to be very adept at capturing her subjects in a multitude of work environments, ranging from offices to high-risk locations. In each image, her talent ensures a constant strength in lighting and composition. For her corporate work, she often focuses on whichever location best documents their personality. Very strong in her use of naturalistic light in her indoor shots, she is just as effective in her work with natural light in her business portraits conducted outdoors. Yet in either setting, her subjects often appear to be telling a story or reflecting on something close to their hearts, appearing as if they were a close friend. Whether working editorially or commercially, Meryl Schenker is a storyteller, and in the world of corporate photography that lends itself to engaging and, most of all, refreshingly down-to-earth images.
Born in Switzerland and raised in the UK, Stuart Isett settled in Seattle after being based out of Bangkok, Tokyo, and Paris over the course of 15 years. This may already seem like a dynamic life experience, yet for him, it’s only the beginning. Having worked in over 40 countries to photograph events ranging from conflicts to top-level business events, Stuart has likely come close to seeing it all. He has also worked on contract with The New York Times for over 25 years, for Fortune Magazine since 2011, and Time Magazine from 1996-2004, and through this impressive experience his documentary approach to his photography yields diverse, yet always effective results. This must be in Stuart’s ability to maintain a precise timing in capturing expressions and reactions from his subjects while managing to never interfere with what they are doing when shooting on-location. They are never looking at the camera, but rather are completely engaged in their own interactions, as if he were not there at all. His portrait work, on the other hand, is the opposite: it is very direct in exploring the personality of every professional in front of his lens, each typically looking right back at it, often being posed in a location that further expresses their character.
Photography should always be a collaboration with the people you’re documenting and it’s a perspective I bring to all my work.
Stuart is also an internationally recognized photographer whose work has been showcased at the Visa Pour l’Image festival in France, the Daegu Photo Biennale in South Korea, the Reportage and Foto Freo festivals in Australia, the Angkor Photo Festival in Cambodia, and the Wing Luke Asian Museum in Seattle.
Surrounded by a business climate historically based on engaging with the trends of the future, a corporate photographer in Seattle could be in no better place to embrace their own special characteristics and abilities. With the amount of newer businesses setting up in the Pacific Northwest, professionals able to handle all kinds of aesthetics are needed to be their visual ambassadors to the public. And with the stellar creatives shown here, each with their personally unique, yet diverse experience, any kind of organization has the potential to create a strong visual edge all their own.
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