deCroce blog of photography

Business Portraits – Denver Reefer Bankers


Business Portraits – Denver High Finance at Tokken

I enjoy making business portraits for Denver executives. Every week, I create profile pictures and business portraits. Some of my business photography projects are for magazine stories, but most are done for company websites. Whatever the project is, I design executive portraits that are uncommon. My aim is to create the kind of business portrait that lives its own life – one that is both a reflection of and a window into the personality of the person in my viewfinder.


To that end, I try to photograph each client outside the norms. I want them to express a persona in photography that exceeds preconceived stereotypes. Lawyers and executives in banking are often conventional. After all, their jobs demand polish. Bankers especially can be stiff. So when I got a call from a banking firm named Tokken, I expected suits in a glassy tower.
But just moments into our initial conversation, I knew this would be a fun photo-shoot. First, I was intrigued with the unique niche – a banking system designed for the cannabis industry. And second, the folks at Tokken were open to my ideas.

Lamine Zarrad, Tokken CEO and his wife and business partner Jenaya McGowan Zarrad, told me they scoured the internet searching for the right photographer. That they chose DeCroce Photography was not only an honor, but their confidence in me provided the right ambience for me create interesting works. Here are a few of the results

Available window light is as beautiful as it is problematic. The depth of field in this low angle portrait of Lamine was so shallow that I melded two shots together – one for a face in focus and one for a sharp hand. As a federal banking regulator, Lamine Zarrad understood the complexities of marijuana dispensaries when he created Tokken in 2016.


Executive portrait against red wall

The shared office space at The Shift provided lots of interesting backgrounds. Janaya Zarrad is photographed here against a red wall adjacent to the board room at The Shift.


Denver business portrait photographers and business photographers in Denver are constantly being introduced to niches they never knew existed. In the world of banking, Tokken is certainly on the cutting edge. And Tokken’s banking innovations for pot dispensaries have garnered an abundance of headlines for the young start-up.

Just a few weeks ago (February 7), Westword writer Kate Mckee Simmons penned an interesting story detailing Zarrad’s company.

Tokken, an app for both customers and dispensaries that was recently named a finalist for the 2017 SXSW Interactive Innovation Award.”


Tokken’s new website (with my photography) will be live next week. But their current site displays a long list of publications that have taken note of Tokken innovations. The New York Times, InvestopediaForbes, The Boston Globe and many others have written articles about Tokken.


To explain the Tokken story, I’ve relied on excerpts from a New York Times story (February 16 2016)  on Tokken.

As Marijuana Sales Grow, Start-Ups Step In for Wary Banks


When Lamine Zarrad was not at his job as a federal banking regulator in recent months, he was spending a lot of time at Denver’s marijuana dispensaries.


As a federal employee, he could not partake of the pot.


He was there, instead, to pitch the shops on a start-up he has been working on in his free time and is making official this week after quitting his job as a bank examiner at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a division of the Treasury Department.


Mr. Zarrad’s start-up, Tokken (pronounced token), is one of several recently created companies looking to solve one of the most vexing problems facing marijuana businesses in Colorado and several other states: the endless flow of dirty, dangerous, hard-to-track cash.


The State of Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2014, joining several other states where the drug has been decriminalized in some form, but Visa and MasterCard will not process transactions for pot dispensaries and most banks will not open accounts for the businesses — leaving dispensaries dealing with a constant influx of cash, and nowhere good to put it.


Tokken and others start-ups, with names like Hypur and Kind Financial, have been putting together software that helps banks and dispensaries monitor and record transactions, with the long-term goal of moving transactions away from cash.

variations in lighting techniques

After a conversation the other day with iconic Denver photographer Nicholas DeSciose, I chose to create compositions with distal ends (toes) leading out of the frame. These two business portraits also represent a difference in in lighting technique. The image of Lamine on the left was done with only available light while the photograph of Jenaya in a man pose was lit with a single strobe and soft-box.




Business portraits

I love this composition. Of course, the natural beauty of the subject – Sonya – is what makes this image shine.

business portraits

With the Tokken portrait project, my aim was to create true-to-life business portraits of Denver executives. And I encouraged the executives to have a conversation with “Harvey” off camera. But I also wanted variety in the images. My hope was to make photographs as individual as the personalities being portrayed. This portrait of Israel was made with existing office light mixed with window light.

Denver business portraits

When creating interesting business portraits, one light is sometimes more interesting than two. The trick is to fill the shadows with either reflector light or available light.


Business portrait Denver

The giant TV screen on the wall made for an interesting reflection in this business portrait.——————————— Shift Workspaces in Denver offered a wide pallet of background choices for interesting business portraits. But as I view the collection together, I feel that I might have relied to heavily on this cool wall. ———————-

Denver business portrait

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