Niklas Zennstrom Portrait

People

Date November 22, 2015
His bio reads like the dream of just about every entrepreneur on the planet today. Niklas Zennstrom, “CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico. He is an experienced entrepreneur, previously co-founding and managing globally successful technology companies including Skype, Kazaa, Joost and Joltid. Before starting Atomico, Niklas co-founded Skype, where he held the position of CEO from its inception until September 2007. In 2005, Skype was sold to eBay Inc for $3.1bn, the largest European venture capital exit to date. Subsequent to this, Skype was bought back by a consortium that included Niklas, and was sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion cash in 2011.”

So when I had the opportunity to meet and photograph Niklas at the 2015 London edition of NOAH, I got to work quickly.

As luck would have it, I had just photographed Niklas onstage at Slush just two days prior, and this made for a great opening talk. And like most high profile people I photograph, Niklas had arrived only moments before taking the stage, and was on his way out the door to a meeting upon wrapping things up on stage.

Niklas Zennstrom is a tall man man. I am not a short man. However, in the vertically winning catagory, Niklas has me by a few centimeters. For this shot, I wanted to be at eye level and had to stand on a chair and lean in to get things just right. As he’s a busy guy, I knew this was going to be another Branson moment, and I joked with him that I could get it in four shots.

I always like to take two shots of each composition, just to make sure that everything is perfect. Sometimes a subject will be just about to blink, or not quite dialed in with me and the camera, or, or or…thus the two shots. For Niklas, I had a one light and a two light setup ready to go. I fired the first shot with just one flash, and then got the second. I then switched on the second flash, took the shot, and after a quick in camera review, instantly decided that the one flash was the way to go.

I thanked Niklas and told him that we were done. He asked, “What about the fourth shot?” My response? “Niklas, you’re so good, I actually got it on the first shot.” He smiled, nodded, handed me his business card, and was out the door.

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