Portrait photography usually conjures up images of families running around the park being chased by a photographer. However, with online profiles on social media and company websites, professional portrait photography is a serious consideration for many companies large and small.
Portrait photography in business, used to be just for the board or C level staff whose business portraits were sent out with press releases and used in annual reports. However, with everyone now being incredibly accessible and your staff all being ambassadors for your brand, it’s more important than ever to have great portrait photography of your colleagues to use throughout online and offline mediums.
Portrait Photography | From CEO to the cleaner
From the CEO to the cleaner, everyone that has an online presence is in one way or another representing your brand. LinkedIn is incredibly well optimised for Google and typical searches for a name will often result in a LinkedIn profile (and photo) being one of the first results.
So, what should you consider if you do want to create great portrait photography for your business. We obviously deal with companies all the time to get great corporate photography and editorial images but as someone in an unrelated business, where do you even start??
What are the different types of Business Portrait Photography?
What are headshots?
If you search Google for headshots, you will get a mix of reviews of a film, footage from a computer game and also a range of business and actor portraits. In photographic terms a headshot is a portrait that is taken from someones chest to the top of their head. Similar proportions to your passport image. It’s the image that you use on LinkedIn.
Headshots are traditionally shot on a solid colour background like white or grey as they are easy to replicate. Some companies still use school photo style mottled backgrounds and many are now using the office, building or outside space as the background.
What are environmental headshots or portraits
Environmental Headshots is the term for when the environment of where the image is taken is used as the background rather than a solid colour or mottled background. These business portraits tend to have a welcoming and friendlier feel to them. With professional lenses, the background has a blurred or ‘bokeh’ effect. This means that the focus is on the person in the image and the background is less distracting. The amount of blurriness depends on the maximum aperture of the lens. It’s very interesting to see the textures that appear which look very different to the naked eye.
What are Business Portraits?
Whereas headshots show a ‘head and shoulders’ image, business portraits have a much wider scope. The images can be full length and show people in a variety of situations. Business Portraits are often used in press releases and annual reports. Images can have eye contact with the camera or be a more candid approach showing the subject at work, in conversation, etc. Editorial is another phrase often used for this style of image.
How to choose the right style of portrait photography for your business.
Portrait photography is simply another extension of your overall brand. Where you may have spent considerable time choosing your logo, corporate colours, fonts, etc to use throughout your business, choosing the right style or ‘look’ for your business portrait photography is just as important.
You of course know your brand better than anyone, but a good professional photographer will be able to show you sample images to fire up your imagination. They can also work with you to create portrait photography that will not only stand out and represent your brand your company across various platforms.
Should you book a Professional Photographer or use a smart phone?
As a professional portrait photographer, I will try to be unbiased for this section. For many instances, it not the camera but the understanding of light, posing and ability to deliver images with impact that is more important. Smart phones have amazing capabilities and with the likes of iPhones ‘Portrait’ mode which create a blurry background, many of the images are very usable. If you understand where to see good light (hint: it’s not facing the sun!), then you can get great naturally lit portraits.
The difference really comes in when you want to control the lighting, have a consistent look across your company and have pin sharp images that can be used in print. Professional portrait photographers will bring additional lighting that will ensure flattering and consistent images throughout your company in different locations or on different dates. I have personally photographed people for almost 12 years so it’s very intuitive for me to get portraits with great lighting and with minimal disruption for you and your team.
Have a try with your phone, for a simple headshot, stand inside your doorway ensuring the light is not too harsh. The large aperture of the doorway will create soft light that is great for a portrait.
Can’t we just use stock photography?
Stock photography prices have crashed over the last few years and there is actually some really good free stock websites that allow you to use corporate photography for no or very little charge. The images are often very clean-looking with very good-looking people running corporations from the nicest board rooms in the world.
Many companies do choose to use stock photography. It’s quick, cost-effective and looks great. Where it doesn’t quite work is in conveying your brand and skills of those in the organisation. For instance if you are a professional service based organisation looking to promote the skills and knowledge of your consultants, having stock photos that look nothing like the people who work for you, can cause confusion with your brand and give the organisation a less personal feel. There is a very true saying that people buy from people, so isn’t that something you should be maximising?
Where to use your business portrait photography?
So you have a great collection of headshots, editorial and candid business portraits. However, what do you do with them? Here is a great list of places to put your photos.
- Profiles on your own website
- LinkedIn Profile Picture (both small and header image)
- Twitter Profile Picture (both small and header image)
- Google My Business (They like lots of images both of people and products, buildings, etc)
- Facebook Business Page
- YouTube header
- Annual Reports
- Business Cards (great for remembering someone after a conference, networking meeting when you have lots of cards)
- Newsletters (both email and printed)
- Online publishing (articles, ebooks, etc)
- Bid Documents / Tender Documents
Should you have just headshots or also have full body images?
If you simply want an image of every staff member for a directory on your website or similar then a headshot is more than good enough. Where we tend to photograph beyond the headshot is for senior members of the team or solo professionals that are looking for a range of images to be used in marketing materials, board reports, websites, etc. If someone is the face of the business or in charge of a certain sector of the company, it may be worth getting a range of images that are on hand for whatever reason you need them.
Photography studio or client’s location?
If you are a company of any size, its best to have your portrait photography done in-house. We often shoot in the boardroom but I have been in the hallway, a stair well and the kitchen amongst other places. Having the portrait photographer come to you ensures that you and your colleagues will only spend the time of the shoot itself away from your desk, meetings, etc. With everyone’s diary forever changing, your photographer can work around everyone’s schedule and take the images as people become available. It’s not unusual for us to photograph someone in 30 seconds as they pass from one meeting to another.
Where a studio is useful is for getting a range of images and also some privacy from your colleagues! The studio can create a large range of images using backgrounds and the environment. With a permanent set up, the lighting can be more complex as can the styling of the images themselves. Many solo professionals opt to come to the studio to get a range of images used throughout their online and offline literature. In general, you will have more time with the photographer in a dedicated portrait photography session in the studio.
Should you include having group photos taken?
We work with a number of clients that in addition to single person headshots, opt to have group shots taken. Team shots can be included as part of any session and are simply classed as another finished image / person.
If you would like to find out more about having some portrait photography images for you or your business please call Helen or myself on 020 7523 5325