A good portrait captures someone’s essence, and even in a commercial setting, it’s an intimate experience that requires the subject to feel at ease with the crew and photographer. So when Cushman & Wakefield were looking to hire a photographer to photograph employee portraits for their “What’s Next” campaign, Matt was the perfect fit. San Diego, California-based photographer Matt Furman specializes in portraiture, so he’s talented behind the camera, but he’s very good with people, too.
Cushman & Wakefield is a global company that specializes in commercial real estate, with employees in 70+ countries who all speak different languages, have different backgrounds, and cultural traditions. When they wanted to build an advertising campaign that reflected the company’s diversity, they looked inward to the very people behind the brand – their employees.
We were casting actual Cushman & Wakefield employees. Most of these people had never been in front of a camera crew in a studio before, so a big part of my job was making them feel comfortable.
For this project, Matt was referred by Boathouse, a marketing agency in Massachusetts that he’s enjoyed working with previously.
They’re always fantastic and I’m really grateful they referred me to Cushman & Wakefield
Matt would need to capture studio photography in several central locations because the images were to feature real employees from various parts of the world. The portraits were shot in New York City, London, and Sydney, but it was important that despite the differences in shoot locations, they all look consistent as they would be used as part of a cohesive campaign focused on the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
It was a challenge to keep it all looking consistent. We shot in a couple of different countries, so I just had to make sure we locked in all the lighting. We also had a pretty packed schedule with subjects flying in from all over the world.
The multiple shooting locations also meant Matt needed to source equipment in various countries and coordinate International flights for himself, the crew, and even accommodate some of the models’ various flight times.
A few times where we had to rearrange the shot list because certain subjects’ flights were delayed. But all in all, the photo gods were kind on this one!
While the travel logistics were an expected challenge, sourcing equipment was a surprising learning experience for Matt. With the photo gods’ help, he kept a positive attitude when he realized that a lot of the equipment they needed had different names, depending on which country they were working in.
Ordering grip and lighting equipment in foreign countries is a little tricky. It’s basically all the same gear, but the Brits and Aussies have their own terms for certain things. It was kind of funny, actually.
After the shoot was completed, Matt worked with George McCardle on retouching the images. George put the finishing touches on the photos and ensured all the photos were consistent in lighting and color while maintaining the natural and authentic feel necessary for the project.
George is really talented, and we kept the images pretty natural. We worked on all of them together, so it helped maintain consistency across the images shot in different locations.
When the term “diversity and inclusion” is trending on google and “D & I percentages” are being thrown around corporate HR departments everywhere, it’s refreshing to see a campaign that showcases people, not just as numbers but as individuals. Matt’s portraits offer a glimpse into the brand’s human element, the most important asset any company will ever have.
See more of Matt’s work at furmanfoto.com
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