ST84 Photography Blog

Behind the scenes blog of London Commercial Photography

Corporate Portrait: Tom Parks of Smart Pig Student Finance

Corporate portrait photography London

Corporate portrait of young entrepreneur, Tom Parks., London, UK

Last September, I had a great project photographing Tom Parks. He is the founder of Smart Pig, a small-loans company for students that he started after seeing some friends fall heavily in debt to pay-day loans companies. He approached me to produce some corporate portraiture to support his advertising and public relations efforts, so we set up a shoot that would give him a range of material that would be suitable for the following uses:

  • The “Meet The Team” section of the Smart Pig website
  • Press releases, and speaker biographies for conferences
  • Editorial content for magazine articles about his company
  • His personal and professional social media accounts


Tom’s a great guy, and I love the ethical response of his business to a dangerous element of student debt. Managing their money for the first time, it is common for students to go into debt beyond the amount of their student loans for tuition. This is one are where pay-day loans companies can have a huge and devastating effect. So I was keen to help Tom promote his alternative, and my portraits have been a great success for him as his business grows.


We began with a location shoot in central London. The majority of this shoot used natural light as we quickly moved through a few locations that would provide backgrounds that could represent university buildings or a city office. Then, we moved to a small park and worked with my portable lights to create a more neutral setting and that I knew would translate to black and white very well. We used my lighting here for two reasons: there wasn’t as much natural light available as on our street shots, and by using my lights I could underexpose (make darker) the garden background, so Tom would stand out against the background much better.


After this, we moved back to my studio space and worked through a series of portraits of Tom in his suit and in his Smart Pig hoody.


Tom’s really pleased with the images from this shoot. You can see some of them below, and another one already in use on the Keynote Speaker’s page of the Tech Entrepreneurs Week conference here. That image is an idea that came to me during the shoot – although it is a little clichéd, I decided to spend a minute photographing Tom from a very low angle, thereby making the blue sky the background for that portrait. While it isn’t the most highly creative idea, it worked well and I find it really helps his photograph stand out among the other speakers listed on that page. Which, afterall, is what Tom hired me to help him achieve.


Enjoying this post? You can view more of my portraits of other people on my main website.


Tom Parks corporate portrait in central London, UK.

Tom Parks corporate portrait in central London, UK.

Black and white corporate portraiture gives a different feel than colour photography

Black and white corporate portraiture gives a different feel than colour photography


Corporate portraiture

Tom in front of a central London doorway, without his glasses

Outdoor corporate portrait London UK

We made horizontal and vertical images, to give Tom a range of material to use in publications


Studio headshot

Studio portrait of Tom, wearing his Smart Pig hoody

Portrait of young entrepreneur, Tom Parks.






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Corporate Portrait: Tom Parks of Smart Pig Student Finance