Necessity is the mother of invention is an old proverb. Immediate need drives change, but not all change is equal or positive. I want to share with you my wonderful experience this week of having a professional portrait taken virtually.  Yes, virtually. The service, called Virtual Photo Pro™, was launched earlier this year by Gittings Legal, who create legal, corporate and high end personal portraits. In response to many of their clients needing to shoot Bio photos to keep their website and marketing materials up to date, yet unable to photograph their professionals in person, due to office closures and personal safety issues, they saw the need and then created a kick-ass solution.  Their service provides contactless professional portraits at a home or office and it combines the best of digital photography, communications apps, clear instructions, great client service and also logistics, if required, to move the equipment seamlessly.

My consulting firm, Alvarez and Marsal, provides digital transformation services, among many other services, and I am continually in awe of how we help our clients achieve shifts like this at scale. During the pandemic we have been rapidly hiring new professionals across the firm. As our heritage is in Restructuring, we are very busy right now. We want our new hires to have professional photos that match our brand, but the last year has made this very challenging. While we have been guiding our new hires through a “do it yourself at home solution,” I was ecstatic to see this professional option arise.

As I set up the equipment, I had a different perspective than the average subject, having owned a video production company and having a life-long passion for photography.  I tried to approach the experience as if I had no knowledge, as I wanted to see how my professionals would react to doing this themselves.

I am delighted to say that Greg Lorfing, and his team, have created a system that is seamless. Using a Twister like white mat with designated, color coded spots, the lay-out of the lights, tripods and camera (iPhone with special apps pre-loaded) was easy. I followed the instructions and connected with Sam Schultze, my seasoned photographer, by Zoom. He checked my set-up and we made some adjustments and started the session. He walked me through the whole process and spoke to me as if he was in the room, coaxing me to enjoy the photo shoot. At first it was a little bit like being in the movie Her, but then it evolved and became natural and comfortable. He made the process fun and efficient. After a few outfit changes, and a round of images, we narrowed down the options and I made a final choice for editing.  

Their process stayed true to the efficient way in which they normally run a photo shoot, despite not physically being together. After work, I packed up the case and had UPS pick it up to deliver it to the next team member to test it. I’m excited to start using this across our firm as we continue to hire new consultants and need new Bio photos.

As always, I've tried to include some links to relevant, though tangentially related, tweets that are about innovation, photography and digital transformation. I hope you enjoy and check out Gittings' Virtual Photo Pro.