…And Keep it Profitable!
Corporate head shots – they may not be the most glamorous section of your portfolio but, if you’ve got the knack for them, they can certainly pay the bills. Turn it into an art form and you might find it very lucrative indeed.
Who needs a corporate headshot and why?
The easy answer to this is any career-minded professional or businesses whose key players need to be seen. As is the case with all forms of professional photography, the reason why the picture has been commissioned is one of the key considerations to getting it right.
The business headshot has a number of uses but the primary function is to enhance communication with customers, colleagues and other professionals. They are used in annual reports, newsletters and magazines, on company websites, for resumes and issued with press releases for use across a wide range of media.
The good, the bad and the ugly
No one wants to put out a picture of themselves that is anything less than flattering. As well as looking their best, your subjects would like to appear trustworthy, friendly, approachable, intelligent, stylish and good-looking. It’s a big ask but photographers who can consistently take natural-looking corporate portraits that shine a benevolent light on their subjects’ characters are going to be the ones most in demand.
From the company’s point of view, these employee portraits will be going out on the marketing frontline. They need to achieve a consistent image that speaks about the brand as well as the individual – and if you can weave a distinctive look into their corporate photography, it’s you they’ll come back to when they need new or updated headshots.
Technical tips for corporate headshots
To take a good executive headshot you’ll need to combine technical excellence with aesthetic ability and an understanding of your subject, the business they are in and their expectations of the picture.
- Before the session, try to get an idea of the style of headshot required. Dramatic lighting and a tight crop will have a different mood to a more traditional shot with ambient light.
- Also discuss the most suitable background with your subject. Plain backgrounds work best as they distract less from the subject, but some professionals may wish to be portrayed in their work environment.
- Anticipate the equipment you’ll need for the shot and make sure you have it. There’s nothing less professional than turning up without something vital.
- Soften the lighting – no one looks good in a glare and the more natural-appearing the light level, the more flattering the picture. Position your light sources as close as possible to your subject – this will have the same effect as using a larger light source and the result will be a softer finish. On the other hand, a brighter light could be used to bleach out shadows and make the face more even. Lighting from the side tends to give the best results.
- Choose a lens with a narrow field of vision. This will make it easier to take the shot without the light sources intruding. A longer lens also helps to compress the distance to the subject which is more flattering to the facial features.
- Position your subject at an angle to the camera and then ask them to turn their head to look towards you for a more natural pose.
- Remember, it’s actually about the person not the equipment. Make your subject feel at ease: even if they don’t enjoy being photographed, if you can make them relax, the resulting picture will be a hundred times better than if they’re tense.
- Manipulate your subject! Digital manipulation afterwards can improve skin tones, soften wrinkles or brighten an image. Make use of them to enhance what your camera captured.
Finally, keeping it profitable
Build yourself a reputation as the go-to photographer for corporate headshots and it will form a reliable source of steady income. But the key is to ensure that each shoot is profitable and there definitely ways of making this more likely.
- Keep your equipment needs to a minimum – if you can carry it and set up quickly on your own without the need for an assistant, you’ll be making more money. Furthermore, you may find yourself having to take the photos in a small room or confined space, so the less equipment the better.
- Come fully prepared as far as possible – the less time you spend on each shoot the more money it makes. This has an added benefit: a quick set up will please your clients. If there’s one thing people hate more than being photographed, it’s waiting to be photographed.
- Be consistent. Businesses need consistently good quality executive headshots. The more consistent your results, the more repeat business you’ll get.
When it comes to taking great corporate headshots, an experienced photographer has the advantage. For the best executive images, talk to Headshot London Photography on 020 3222 0087,www.headshotlondon.co.uk.