Essential Tips to Consider When Taking Corporate Headshots

professional corporate headshot portrait

A good first impression can be made through the photo you post in your professional social website or profile. It is never acceptable to merely post your selfies online; a corporate headshot should be much better.

What is a Corporate Headshot?

Corporate headshots are portraits used on different social media platforms. These pictures are in businesses’ about us section of their website and other industry specialty sites. It is a photograph of an individual with the simple point to show the public of what they look like⎯it is giving a face to a name. Corporate headshots are mostly utilized by people in business, but authors, actors, and models are also making use of this for personal branding.

How to Produce a Great Corporate Headshot

Getting a good corporate headshot is not something that should be taken lightly as most of the subjects here are busy individuals and would want to make use of their time wisely. Yes, being a photographer in these kinds of shoots is challenging, but you should also know taking an excellent corporate headshot requires more than wearing a suit and make-up. There are other details which play a vital role in the process such as the following:

1. Create a Connection

Regardless of if you are a budding novice or an expert in the field of photography, you should be able to create a connection with the subject the moment he/she steps in the set. Doing so will allow the subject to be at ease to work with you which will eventually help in creating a good corporate headshot. When dealing with a significant person (such as tycoons or business executives), it is best to do your research about the subject. This will be useful for conversation starters between the two of you during the shoot. You can also research photos of the subject and ask yourself beforehand on what are the things you could improve on.

2. Consider Lighting and Environment

Come up with a plan for portrait setting and additional set-up before shooting day comes.

If you are shooting indoors, familiarize yourself with the options you can use. Does the room allow natural lightning or will you need to set-up for artificial lightning? Are there drapes available to be used as a backdrop or will you make use of other backdrop props?

professional portrait example

However, if you are to have your shoot outside, consider the time of day and the weather conditions. Both of these play a prominent role on where you should place your subject to produce the best photo. The best time for natural lightning is early morning and late afternoon while shadows and sunlight are too bright during the midday.

3. Examine the Dynamics of Your Camera and Lens

Deciding on what lens and the focal length to use is important. When shooting a portrait, you are translating a three-dimensional face into a flat plane of space. Moreover, you should be able to consider your subject’s features as this can contribute to the resulting image.

Is your subject aiming for a headshot or does your subject want to include the background to show what they do? Each subject is unique, so your approach in taking the shots should vary as well.

4. The Classic Black and White Photo

classic black and white corporate headshot

Converting to black-and-white is a good option if the available lightning makes it impossible to get a good shot. Photos in black-and-white eliminate the distraction of looking into other colors and allows people only to draw their attention to the subject. There is always a timeless and classic effect whenever you see a photo in black-and-white, and this can become useful in any corporate setting.

5. Never Forget the Eyes

The eyes are considered the “windows to the soul” and this similarly applies in photography. When doing corporate headshots⎯or just about any shot, you should be able to emphasize the subject’s eyes. All other elements would be meaningless if the eyes are not sharp enough. Most mirrorless cameras sold in the market have an eye AF feature which allows you to trace focus directly on the eyes.

6. You Are In Control

The moment that you have the camera in your hand, you are the boss. Take charge during the photoshoot and make sure that you have a plan⎯especially for large groups. You would want to move from one employee to another as quickly as possible without compromising the quality of your photos. Keep in mind that most of these people do not have any experience in front of the camera so make sure you give positive criticism to help them.

To Wrap it Up

Aside from being prepared before and during the shoot, you should be able to impose a character of patience and support to all the staff working. Even the experts taking professional headshots know that you should have the social skills to communicate with your subjects what you want to achieve and in the same manner, your subjects should be comfortable in conversing of what they would prefer for the shoot.

Special thanks to Michael Schacht for this article. Michael is a portrait photographer and photography educator based in Chicago Illinois. As owner/operator of 312 Elements Headshot Photography located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, Michael overseas the day to day operations and has had the opportunity to photograph thousands of corporate professionals over the last decade. Through his direction, attention to detail, and people skills, he’s helped these clients to craft a narrative around their personal brand. It’s his belief that the headshot is the modern day business card and that a better headshot is essential for a better career.

Michael, his wife Meghan and his two daughters reside in Tinley Park Illinois where he is a community leader and active participant in the local business sector. Michael studied business at Ball State university and photography with world renown headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. It was Hurley that trained Michael in the art of human expression. Michael is now a Headshot Crew certified Mentor and active member of the Headshot Crew community where he was named one of the top 20 headshot photographers in the world.

4 Replies to “Essential Tips to Consider When Taking Corporate Headshots”

  1. Deb Pearl says:

    I have to take some headshots soon, but I don’t know how to take a good headshot. I wanted to look up some tips that could help! These are all great tips! I love how you mentioned that you should create a connection with the subject. That would really help set us both at ease while I am trying to get some photos. Thank you so much for the tips!

    1. Mike says:

      Glad this was helpful Deb, appreciate the support!

  2. I really like what you’ve said in the article about making sure that you emphasize the subject’s eyes in a corporate headshot. After all, the eyes are one of the most important features of the face and should have the attention drawn to them. Ideally you should make the eyes in your headshot be able to convey a message whether it is one of trust, power, wisdom, leadership, etc.

    1. Mike says:

      Thanks Callum, totally agree with you. The eyes tell a story. :)

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