Our studio has been known to our friends, clients, acquaintances, and community as a headshot photography studio for corporate and business people. Rightfully so because we have been doing it for six years. Sometimes, people ask us if we do other genres like family portraits, weddings and other non-corporate photos, to which we say yes. I did not start my photography career taking photos of professionals. In fact, my journey started out as a wedding and portrait photographer in my early years, going back ten years ago now.
In 2013, I started to look for validation as a photographer, asking myself if it was worth it to pursue this profession. The photography landscape was getting competitive, devalued, diluted and being a generalist was akin to being in no-man's land. So Bernie and I decided that in order to stand out from the crowd, we had to have a niche. To have a niche, I had to reinvent myself. To reinvent myself, I needed to be trained to attain specialist skills. But which genre? I chose two - weddings & portraits and headshot photography.
I sought to be trained by two of the best in the world - Jerry Ghionis (weddings & portraits) and Peter Hurley (headshots). Costs be damned. But being trained by these legends in the photography world, I received the confirmation that I do have what it takes to have a successful photography career.
I learned from Jerry how to do engaging portraits under any situation, in any location, with just my camera on hand. During the training, my eyes were trained in seeing past the background and focusing on the subject, which is the person or people in front of the camera, a principle I have kept to this day. I also learned how to pose people regardless of body shape and to use any lighting condition to my favour.
Under Peter's tutelage, I learned to master photographing the most important part of the human body in a portrait, which is the face. Headshots for me, by far, is the most unforgiving genre in photography. It is because I can't hide my subject in a beautiful background, in pretty clothes, or fancy props. During my training with Peter, I learned the techniques on how to create an engaging photo of one's face, showing it the best way possible with authenticity.
I aimed to become one of Peter's associate photographers, which would be the ultimate validation of my work in headshots. To become his associate, my work needs to be top notch, world-class, and would need to pass his very stringent quality. After three months of gruelling deliberations, I was able to achieve my goal of becoming his associate and became one of four in Australasia and the only one in New Zealand to do so (as of this writing).
After my training with those two world-class photographers, we established two brands - Orlando Allan (for weddings and portraits) and Identity Headshots (for corporate and business headshots). But Identity Headshots took off faster than Orlando Allan. So our studio concentrated on doing headshots, which has become our niche. For the next six years, I have mastered the art of creating headshots, and in a way, innovating Peter's principles to suit our target market. Through those years, companies have asked us to do corporate individual or team portraits, aside from their headshots. From there, I used the headshot principle in arranging people where their best facial features are showcased, like creating a jigsaw puzzle, and adding Jerry's posing techniques.
The headshots and portraits I did for our corporate clients harkened me back to my wedding and family portrait days. So I thought, why not do a formal, classy type of portrait, something that is close to my heart (see Our Story). Why not revive our personal portrait brand using the combined principles of Jerry, Peter, and now, my own. Thus, Legacy Portraits was born.