“What makes a staff headshot an investment and why should we invest time and money in them?”
“From a “one-man/woman band” to huge corporations everyone needs a decent staff headshot …or two!”
Visually, our tastes are getting more and more sophisticated and more importantly it seems that everyone expects to see a staff headshot on the company page.
Likewise strong imagery helps build your brand in a positive light, making a connection with your customers or clients and instils confidence in your company.
The About Us Page…
How often have you seen a seemingly random set of images of staff on the “About Us” page and just know these have been sent in by the individuals; climbing mountains, in the pub carpark or walking the dog!
Perhaps an individual can get away with it in the ‘creative’ industry. You can even make them all appear to match if you convert them to black and white portraits.
However, if you run a business where the public image is important, then your clients need to trust & have confidence in your business.
From years of experience of photographing staff, the feedback from hundreds of staff headshot sessions tends to fall into two distinct camps.
1. 10% say, “I don’t like having my photo taken and /or why is the company making me do this and where is this picture going?”
2. 90% understand the need to have that ‘online handshake’ and in most cases, certainly feel more valued by the company for making the investment in them. Most feel comfortable and some even enjoy the experience!
For the reason that they can double up and be used on other forms of media including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter etc.
People love visual content…
Customers love to know who they are working with and will often look at the staff company page. It’s a human thing!
Here’s my Ten Important Tips That You Should Know About Staff Headshots…
1. Change of clothes…
Having alternative jackets or tops available gives you style options for the reason that it makes it look like there was more than one photoshoot.
This is particularly useful at MD & CEO level where you are often approached for a journalistic piece about you or your company. It’s very useful to have a bank of images available for editorial photography on tap!
It’s amazing how many times I get asked for “airbrush” work to be applied. It’s an old term from the glory days of the film stars, where they would literally get an airbrush artist to get creative, from correcting a few skin blemishes through to a whole new set of teeth.
Some of these problems can be avoided (see below) and others corrected “post-shoot” in Photoshop.
3. Shiny skin…
Yes, it can be a problem particularly with the artificial lights I use, but in order to get consistent results on a large staff portrait session they are essential – it’s England so we can’t rely on natural daylight.
However big lights can be used to create an amazingly soft, flattering shape to the face and bring out those cheekbones!
Here’s the trick…
So my suggestion for women, first of all a good quality concealer or foundation & make-up to compliment your complexion. It will give you a much smoother appearance.
Similarly for men, a quick once over with a baby wipe can take away excess grease and prepare you for the camera.
4. Clean those glasses…
Grease on glass lenses is a big no-no. Not only do they look awful, but its almost impossible to correct in post-production. Rather than moving the grease around with the end of your tie, rinse the lenses with some warm water and detergent, then dry with a clean tissue.
5. Smile and the world smiles with you!
Quite often, people don’t like their teeth. If they are yellowed, that’s not a problem as that gets corrected in Photoshop. However, some people are very self-conscious about their teeth and don’t want to show them at all.
That’s not a problem either as all I need is a smile with the mouth closed. It’s not just the smile, but how all of the 43 muscles in your face align to create the smile.
Almost impossible to fake a genuine smile…and it will be noticed!
6. It takes a little time…
One of the most common mistakes people make is not allowing sufficient time for the photograph to be taken. It’s tempting to ‘get it out of the way’ as quickly as possible and this can show on the face.
Being realistic, a staff or business portrait takes around 10 minutes per person – not only to get used to the studio surroundings but the lights flashing too.
Not the end of the world…
Knowing that the first few shots will probably not be used and ‘it’s not the end of the world’ is a form of relief for many people.
For me, I like the person having the staff headshot to be part of the process and show them after a few shots what it looks like. We can then make some minor adjustments to hair and posing if required!
As a result, it’s hard to hold people back…sometimes!
With a few simple techniques, we take the time to pose and coach you so you’ll be relaxed and confident on the day.
Taking staff headshots tends to be 50% technical and 50% direction.
8. Make some room…
Because we set up the whole studio at your premises, it’s useful having lots of room but some privacy as well.
If I want to get some super silly shots, then I would recommend getting another member of staff to chat to them…invariably it ends up in fits of laughter and they can be the shots used.
Why, because they are genuine.
9. Out of the studio…
Some clients want the portraits or staff headshots taken on site and not in a studio situation. These can and do look spectacular!
Corporate headshots using your own office environment as a background setting can look great, but there are things to consider:
- First of all, make sure that you build in enough time. If different aspects of the business need to be shown and you have 15 locations to do, this will expand the shooting time – especially if it’s outside and weather dependent.
2. Corporate headshots using your own office as a setting can look great, but consider how the background will look to others. Is the space cramped and full of clutter/stuff/paperwork? Is the decoration looking a bit tired in terms of colour scheme?
10. Who is your target audience?…
And finally…this is so important and often overlooked. Always think about your audience and what they expect of a staff headshot.
Clean and corporate headshots on a pure white or black background.
Wherever we shoot, it needs to be appropriate, enhances the branding of the company and conveys the message of a professional organisation.