The Apprentice… Profile Shots

Its that time of year again – the UK’s biggest business show the Apprentice takes to the air once more. Another batch of sugar-fodder comes forth for a summer of challenges, back stabbing, grilling and talking in cringe-clichés.

As I’m going to be talking about the visual impact of the apprentice on the Apprentice Lover’s Blog I thought I’d kick off by taking a look at the profile shots on the BBC website and see what we can deduce from those.

First off, they’ve all got the same background – they’ve got this “cool blue which fades” to black thing going on. That gives a consistent feel to each shot, and no real hint as to their personality. A kind of level playing field to start with.

It also doesn’t give a very “friendly” feel, a lot of the warm colours (red, orange, yellow, pink) are very muted, the skin being relatively pale and cool.

The lighting on the actual person varies a little – on Leon (above) we’ve got a nice soft light from the left covering most of his face with little shadow, but a strong, sharp light to the right (a kicker) which catches our eye and gives a modern look. If we look at Felicity here, the kicker light isn’t as distinct, even her hair isn’t highlighted; we get a more traditional look, a softer look. Quite a difference in style between the sexes.

Again, with Zoe, we’re looking at a big, soft, flattering source of light from the left – no bright highlight on the hair or anything like that.

There is an exception to this though, look at Helen – here we have maybe the most dramatic lighting of the lot… her cheek bone and jawline are really emphasized by right light. Maybe this is down to her hair being tied up, allowing the light to get to her face; I would think that the “hair up” look was a smart decision, as her portrait does make her look like a complete ice-princess! Also, though she’s in red, the tone and saturation of the red is such that it doesn’t really stand out – we’re drawn to her cold stare instead.

Another thing which really stands out is the skin texture on the girls. We’re not seeing a very natural look – it looks rather heavily “photoshopped” to give a painterly effect. There are smooth patches of bright skin and smooth patches of darker skin – the transitions being very smooth. You’d almost say they have given them the “hollywood villan” look.

Back to the boys…

Very little skin softening going on here. Lots of stubble which has been emphasized by the cool skin tone adding contrast to the dark beards. Bags under the eyes, sharp kicker lights giving them stronger jaw lines and a more lived in face

You’ll notice that most of them are facing to the left to varying degrees, Glynn here is turned the most and almost has a smile (Is he this year’s joker?).

Vincent and Tom face right…  now with the lighting set up being the same, this means that we get more of the “kicker”, the dramatic light to the right, hitting their faces. About half of Vincent’s face has that bright sheen, our eyes are really drawn to that – and I think he’s been quoted a thinking he’s “not bad looking”, so it all fits together well.

Tom’s head position is probably the most unusual of the bunch, he’s very unshaven (more than just stubble) and has a bit of a wild stare going on… the maverick of the bunch? Kind of reminds me of Moss from the IT Crowd..

But the stand out bloke of the bunch has to be the one standing square on to the camera – Edward. You don’t get this very often with business profile shots, it’s too confrontational for most – oddly enough Alan Sugar’s shot is straight on… say no more. Here you see the balance of light – 2/3 of the face is softly lit from left, 1/3 with the bright light from the right. Its the kind look you get from a rugby international on match day.

There is also one girl who’s straight on to camera… Ellie. I found this little strange when I watched her audition video and heard her say she was a “nice person”.  I get the impression there is a bit of manipulation going on with this shot, making a “nice” person appear more aggressive by putting her head on and telling her not to smile.

The photography brief was probably to get a consistent set of shots that portrays them all as being serious business people – they’ve done this by telling their subjects to look serious, removing much of the warm colour from the scene, processing their skin in a “cool” way and putting them on a blue background.


Well Susan says she’s “easy going” – does this next photo say “easy going” to you?

Well that’s what the “still” photos say to me – I can’t wait to see what they’re really like when the show starts tomorrow!

2 thoughts on “The Apprentice… Profile Shots”

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