There are a lot of lists that prepare you for corporate/business head shots, and most of them cover some great basics:
1- Choose the wardrobe that will define the personality you want to portray.
2- Think about where your images will live, as the platform (LinkedIn, Tinder, your website) will also define the style to shoot.
3- Get a make-up/hair artist. This gives such a more professional look and the extra cash will be worth it.
4- Don't under spend. Just because someone has a camera and a website does not make them professional.
5- Talk to the photographer. Figure out if you get a good vibe from the photographer and if you'd want to take direction from them on shoot day.
While all that is helpful, let's go deeper and talk about the NEXT 5 things to think about before your next corporate headshot photography session.
At GoodHuman we have done countless shoots for advertising, magazine editorial, and corporate head shots, so we've learned to look out for even more than the above. Check out this more extensive list to get you even better pictures than you would expect:
1- Let yourself get creative. Seriously! The corporate culture of today allows you to take small risks that you couldn't take a few years ago. Yes, grey backgrounds work for a lot of different head shot applications, but what about adding in a chair? Or how about some lighting that is punchy (see #5)? We aren't suggesting you need to look like your picture was taken by a 17 year old photographer on Instagram, but we are suggesting you show more of your playful side.
Below we have the subject on a chair which allows him to be more casual and relaxed. Now that's a guy we want to do business with!
2- Consistency within your company's photography is an easy way to look pro. Grabbing portraits from different years, locations, or photographers gives your website a hodgepodge feel. The shots don't all need the same background (in fact, we would suggest doing slightly different backgrounds to show more of your brand's creativity and space), but having totally different looks and lighting might seem fairly unprofessional.
Below we have a set of images from a the same team. We used slightly different angles that allow a little bit of difference between the subjects, but we also maintained a similar light quality, color pallette, and tone throughout.
3- Show what it looks like to do business with you. Potential clients love this because it allows them to see you working without having to watch a video. A picture is digested in less than a second, and the faster a client can see you in your working environment, the more they trust you. Below is a shoot we did for a high end web design firm. Clients are left with the impression that they know what you are doing, that you work hard, and that your team gets along and has good brainstorming skills. The added bonus is clients can see your space. They will often leave your website feeling that they know you, your business, where you work and how you work.
(Warning: make sure you are working an experienced corporate headshot photographer who has skills in advertising, editorial and portraiture work. Otherwise, these could look super fake)
4- Show some background to give a sense of business and location, but some cases call for just a hint.
Sometimes you have a messy work space. Sometimes you aren't proud of your space. Sometimes you work out of your house because you are on the cusp of a big VC investment. With a little photoshop and depth of focus in-camera techniques, a good business headshot photographer can get around all of those issues.
Below we had a woman who worked at a space that was busy and distracting. Also, she was moving jobs and didn't want her old business space to define her. With a few techniques, we took care of all of those challenges.
5- Go editorial! Try something that would look at home in a magazine instead of a corporate look. At GoodHuman Photography we love these kind of business photography shoots. They can sometimes take a little longer because we need to work the location and lighting, but they can really have a feel that is unique to you.
In this particular case the subject wanted a punchy poppy look that would be attractive to his clientele, which were often younger and hipper than your average business owner. As you can see by using this style of lighting, styling, and composition, this business owner could visually speak to his particular audience.
(This one is also best with a pro photographer skilled in advertising, editorial, or portraiture work).
1- Take some little risks by adding props.
2- KEEP YOUR SHOTS CONSISTENT IN style, color, background, lighting or composition.
3- consider a shoot with your business in action.
4- Blur the background to make the images about you and not your space.
5- Make a big splash By creating some business head shots that are unique to you.
We encourage you to find a good established and respected photographer for these more complex situations. Also, have fun and enjoy yourself. It will show in your expressions!!!
By Sam Diephuis a GoodHuman Photographer in Santa Monica, CA.