It depends. The obvious answer is to match your headshots to your brand and match your brand to the industry you compete in. But what about standing out in your universe? Do you want to send a subtle message that you’re just a little bit more hip than your competitors? Or that your firm is younger and leaner than the bigger guys? Or maybe than you’re still “young enough?” We can help.
We live in the world of visual cues. Sometimes something as simple as the angle of your shoulders or the color of your clothing sends a message. What type of lighting tells the story that is right for you? Not every business has a marketing department focused on these things. If you need to sit down and study some sample business headshots and discuss the options –give us a call. We’re always ready to offer suggestions and go through the options. We can even help you create a ‘style book’ — because maybe your sales people need a slightly different look than your C suite, or maybe you have multiple uses for your business headshot that require slightly different looks? As your business grows, your new employees can come to us and get the same look, lending continuity and building confidence in your firm.
We are often asked to photograph business people at their office building or in their office environment — but in today’s workplace, that usually means a business park or office complex without a lot of greenspace. Or a building with 90% parking lot and 10% grass. Sound familiar?
What you may not realize is how creatively we can use just a small green area or a grove of just a few trees to give you a woodsy or natural look. The examples shown below were shot in the parking lot of an office building on the Dallas North Tollway. It was a rainy day in what most photographer’s would consider marginal shooting conditions.
This design firm wanted a rustic, almost woodsy look for their business headshots — and to add to the challenge, they didn’t want them all to match. So we brought supplemental light with us and moved around on a 20 foot strip of grass in their parking lot and created these.
So don’t feel you’re wishing for the impossible if you want outdoor business portraits in Dallas — we can make it work for you. Or we can meet you at a nearby location that will give you the look you need.
We are often hired to do assignments with trade associations and publications or content creators who need a key person photographed for publication. We sometimes work from a written spec sheet or style book, or we can sit down with the subject or art director and strategize about creating the look from scratch. A style that works with current branding. Either way, we provide everything needed. Sometimes we bring hair and makeup professionals with us to give people a truly polished look (also a great tool for giving key people a more youthful appearance) – and always advise on wardrobe and location.
And that’s just what happens BEFORE we photograph. What happens afterwards is often close to magic. The all-important photoshop editing is the icing on the cake. It can be so subtle that no one even knows what we’ve done –just that all of a sudden everyone on the team looks crisper, professional, more rested and younger.
3 Questions to Ask a Photographer BEFORE you hire them for business portraits:
Does your price include the Photoshop work (i.e. digital touch-ups)? You’d be surprised how many will say you don’t need it (because they don’t provide it).
Does the price include an online gallery so that we can choose our images? You will want at least 3-5 proofs per person if for no other reason than to keep people from complaining later that they “didn’t get to choose.”
Does the price include all the backdrops and lighting equipment? Many photographers do not have studio lights and professional equipment and will try to rent or borrow what they need, and those costs are often passed on to the client.
If you have a speaking engagement on the horizon or are about to be published or interviewed — it’s time to get a great business portrait. We can help!
Do corporate headshots and Photoshop go hand-in-hand? Absolutely. But to most people, Photoshop is a magic wand to make them look younger, thinner and more attractive — and photographers can be lazy. They can use Photoshop short cuts and quick fixes and all of a sudden, every face looks like the same plastic mask. No wrinkles, but no detail or contrast either. Good editing takes time, which is why a lot of bargain headshot photographers don’t include it.
Here is a simple example: This client hired us to photograph several employees in their Dallas offices so that the finished images would match their brand (they are a global firm) which called for crisp black and white images with a soft blurry background, cropped wide.
This was our starting point — after choosing the location, setting up lighting, posing and adjustments to a few elements in the background — but before we edited skin, hairline, and little background annoyances like exit lights. See if you can tell the difference.
In short, Photoshop is an essential element when used properly, so when hiring a professional for your next business portrait, be sure it’s included in your quote and ask to see some “before and after” shots.
We will always answer YES to this question! Here’s why:
Professional makeup people can minimize a variety of skin imperfections (and we all have them) . Dark circles, fine lines, skin cancer, wrinkles — you name it.
Makeup artists can help you to look more alert and more youthful. It’s not just about wrinkles and photoshop. You want your eyes to pop and it takes more than just mascara! Your headshots are an investment… don’t cheap out on yourself.
Matte finish. The last thing you want for your headshot is shiny skin. A professional matte finish is really going to make your skin look younger and healthier.
Hair! The goal is never to make you look like someone else — but don’t you want to look your best? Coming from home or the office with droopy hair ( or hair that has been exposed to the outdoors) right before you step in front of the camera can be risky. You don’t have to look like an ad for a salon, but you should not look whipped and frizzy!
CONFIDENCE. What better way to look your best than turning it over to the pros? They will take direction, consult with you about color choices based on the clothing you plan to wear — and even advise you on jewelry. So you get to step in front of the camera knowing you’ve got it all pulled together.
My assistant, Jessiree (below) and I recently re-shot our headshots here in the studio. We chose a bright, natural light look and used one of our favorite makeup artists. As you can see, our ages are vastly different — and we both benefited greatly.
So give yourself every advantage and consider using a professional — and keep it simple!
When is stock photography a good idea for small business? Maybe on a temporary basis if you’re working from a home office and don’t have a team in place, in which case all you may need is a headshot. But a key part of successful branding is promoting what sets you apart. If you’re a small business looking to grow, what you’re really selling is YOU and your team. And we can help.
When you’re knocking on the door at IBM you don’t expect to meet the CEO, but if you’re interested in a more personal business relationship –say you’re looking for a local printing company or bakery — don’t you want to see their working environment on their website? Every small business needs to make that personal connection with their clients and images are key. And the smart people at Entrepreneur.com agree with me.
Combining a few headshots created on site, with some workplace action shots will make you look like a professionally run organization with some big business smarts. Call our studio for a quote and find out how we can help. 972-250-2415
Often hiring a headshot photographer falls to a team member who has never hired a photographer before and may not know what questions to ask. Where to begin? Here’s a list of questions to start the conversation.
Can you send me a sample?
Photographers should have a variety of samples they can attach to an email to demonstrate a certain type of lighting or background color. Directing you to a website is not the same thing. You need a sample image you can inspect, or that can be circulated to the people making the decisions about the work. Need a few shots of the products you sell? Not all photographers know how to shoot products. The same goes for event photos vs. portraits vs. sports — many of us specialize, so be sure to ask.
What type of equipment do you use?
Not that everyone needs to know which camera does what — but your photographer should have a quick fluid answer re: cameras, lenses and lighting equipment. It should be written into the quote. And yes, you need a written quote. Nobody wants to think about this, but make sure that your photographer has back-up equipment and liability insurance in case things go wrong.
How long do you keep images on file?
Again, make sure you hire them for what you really need. If you only need two headshots and you’re never going to need more, then file storage is really not an issue. We store images for a period of months and always check with our clients before deleting them. Also ask who chooses the images — do you need an online gallery (most executives want a selection so they can choose their photos) or does the photographer choose?
Is digital re-touching included ?
This is a big one, because not every photographer puts a lot of time and effort in to the finished product. The cheap shoot-and-burn guys may just be cropping them and sending them over. You want someone who touches up skin and hair at the very least. For many of our clients we can easily skim off a few pounds (and a few years!) during the editing process. If your team is aging or unattractive? You need a photographer with good skills in this area.
What are your studio hours?
There are a lot of part-time photographers. Do you need a quick answer? Does your group tend to move their dates around a lot? Sometimes for budgetary reasons, a part time photographer may be all you can afford. Just be very specific about deliverables and make sure your emails get prompt replies.
View our portfolio at our website: here or call the studio at 972-250-2415
Join us as we explore new concepts and ideas for business photography for 2017. We understand our corporate clients and also small business owners and entrepreneurs. Their photography needs vary with their marketing and communications needs. We work hard for our clients.
It may start with a mission to upgrade their personal branding — like a simple business headshot. But often our clients our clients are members of a new team or new leadership for the entire corporation. There is so much we can do to get you and your business front and center.
We’ve spent years studying all the components of a compelling business portrait. As a small business, why settle for a simple ID photo when you can sell yourself ? And as a corporate HR or Communications specialist, doesn’t you group need consistency and a professional touch? Wouldn’t you enjoy having your people coached and presented properly? Call us and let’s talk about it!