How to have a successful corporate headshot photography session
When you are photographing business people, you need to keep it business- like. It’s important to come well prepared and know what you are doing. They are expecting a professional, so here are our top tips on running a successful corporate photography session.
We’ve divided them into three sections:
- 1Before the shoot
- 2During the shoot
If you take our advice, you’ll soon build a reputation for reliability and professionalism, which is what you need to ensure repeat business and word-of-mouth success.
Nearly every business person needs a good corporate headshot. For their website, for LinkedIn and to be available for marketing and PR activities. Nothing looks less professional than people who use a cropped version of their wedding photo as their LinkedIn profile. Or perhaps a holiday snap on their website.
In other words, providing a quick, reliable service producing good quality corporate portraits can be a lucrative field of business. One that’s well worth building into your portfolio and your marketing campaigns.
Remember, your corporate clients are likely to be your most demanding clients, with high expectations of the results. Add to that the fact that a lot of people don’t enjoy having their photograph taken. For this reason, it’s important to do everything you can to ensure a successful outcome.
Before the shoot
Discuss with your client what sort of pictures they want. You will need to know how and for what purposes the photographs will be used.
Talk to them about what style of photography would best suit the business image they are trying to create. If you know what they are expecting, you’ll be in a better position to meet those expectations.
If the setting isn’t going to be your studio, ask for a recce visit in advance. This is so you can work out the best backgrounds and decide what type of lighting and equipment you’ll need.
Make sure they understand beforehand exactly what will happen and how long the session is likely to take. It will also probably help them if you can give them some advice on what to wear.
The best being, solid, neutral colours but also explain what to avoid. Bright and garish patterns, stripes or geometric designs for example.
Creating an information sheet with these types of tips can be a good idea.
Make sure that everyone knows the exact date, time and location of the shoot. It won’t do any harm to send your sitters a polite email reminder the day before. This will ensure that they arrive on time and appropriately dressed.
Prepare your kit in advance and use a checklist to make sure that you have everything you need:
We would also advise that you check everything is in working order. Nothing looks less professional than turning up for a shoot and having to admit you have forgotten something essential. Worse still, that your camera isn’t working.
This might sound like the most obvious advice in the world, but it’s absolutely critical.
Running a successful corporate shoot
Business professionals are busy people. They’ll appreciate it if you are on time and time-efficient.
Aim to make the shoot as brief as possible, but at the same time relaxed enough to put your clients at ease so you can get the shots you need. Remembering that corporate photography is needed and not always wanted.
Your client may not be looking forward to the shoot but feels under duress to fulfill a company requirement. Knowing this and keeping it in mind will help you identify how to handle some sitters. Remind those that are nervous that you are both on the same team, working towards the same goals and that there is no need to worry. It is a safe space.
Arrive on time. If you need a certain amount of time to set up your equipment, let your clients know in advance so they can factor that in.
Don’t be late
There’s nothing more difficult than trying to get a good shot of someone who’s already annoyed with you, and when you are pushed for time.
Be friendly and professional, doing everything you can to put your subject at ease. Say hello and maybe ask them a few questions about themselves. If they are relaxed the results will be infinitely better.
If the person you are shooting is nervous, show them how to pose and where you want them to stand or sit. Take a few practice shots to put them at ease and try to make the experience enjoyable for them.
If you’ve done your preparation work with the client, you should be able to work effectively and efficiently to get the shots you need in the shortest possible time. Don’t let your subject get bored hanging around while you endlessly adjust your equipment.
If you work with an assistant, make sure you set up the lighting, practicing on your assistant and micro adjust as needed when your sitter is in place.
It’s safe to assume that everyone wants the most flattering picture. For this reason we’d recommend balancing daylight with flash whenever possible. Natural light, outdoor shoots can be good if you can find a suitable background that works with the position of the sun.
If you are working indoors and have to use artificial light, make sure it’s not too harsh. Aim for even lighting by using multiple lights or reflectors. Position the sitter at a 45° angle and then have them turn their head towards the camera.
Talk to them while you are taking the pictures, and give them gentle instructions if you need them to move or change their expression to achieve better results.
Take a couple of test shots and let your subject have a look.
This can help them to relax and try different positions, and it can reassure them that the results are going to be what they are looking for.
With corporate clients when you are shooting corporate headshots for a half day or a full day, you may not have a lot of time to shoot each person. Therefore, ensure that all of your equipment has been set and make sure that you have a conversation with your subject. Finding a connection and building a rapport is a key. The best-looking corporate images come from people being comfortable in front of the camera.
When the shoot is over, thank your client for their time, pack up efficiently, and let them know when they can expect to see the images.
After the shoot
Use judicious post-production to enhance the images, and only present the best and most flattering pictures for your client to choose from.
Make sure you deliver the shots within the agreed time frame and that you invoice the amount agreed beforehand. If there’s any reason why you feel you need to change the agreed fee, you should discuss this with your client as soon as the possibility arises.
Thank your client for the opportunity to have photographed them - great pictures and great manners make it more likely that they’ll recommend you to colleagues and associates.
If you have a business card it will also a good idea to share it with your client as sometimes you will get booked through the assistant, so the person you are photographing may not know who you are.
About the author:
Headshot London is one of the most well-known professional photography studios in London with a number of photographers who specialise in corporate headshots, portraiture, events as well as retouching.