Everyone knows it’s the people behind the scenes that make great brands what they are…and great team headshots are essential for helping customers get to know the people they’re dealing with. Corporate portraits are a great way to promote a uniform image for your company, whether a more formal look (professional services, for example) or something more creative (e.g. a graphic design company). Here’s our ultimate guide to help you get prepared for your corporate headshot session, from planning the day of your shoot, to your outfit, hairstyle and more.
Plan the day
Are you planning a headshot session for just yourself or for your team too? For the latter, you’ll need to find a time that you can get the whole team together for the photo session. Consider what time of day might be better (people are generally brighter and fresher in the morning!). For larger teams, there may be a need to book multiple sessions. Of course, if it’s just for you, discuss a suitable time and place with your photographer so that you can be well organised.
You should consider where the headshots should be taken – is it most suitable in your office, somewhere local like a coffee shop or park, or even somewhere neutral like a studio? You can discuss what might be best with your photographer – be sure to make the most of their knowledge and skills to find something that works for your brand and vision to get the best results.
What to wear
When preparing for your headshots, one of the most common questions is “What should I wear?”. It’s generally useful to set some ground rules for this so that you can get a consistent images. For example:
- Wear a suit jacket or not?
- Should they wear a tie (or bowtie!)?
- Top button done up or undone?
- Plain or patterned tops?
- Accessories or not?
- Hair up or down?
And what about colours? Generally, solid, neutral colours and classic/timeless outfits work best and you should avoid bold patterns and colours. If you have branded tops that you and your team can wear, why not use them to develop a consistent theme across the headshots? Produce your own guidelines to suit your company and reflect your values.
One of the most frequent worries people have is how to smile in corporate headshots. Smiles create more warmth in a photograph but equally certain businesses tend to lean towards more formal and serious portraits.
A key tip here is to try not to force it. To help capture a great shot, your photographer might make some jokes or get you talking about something you’re passionate about to capture your most natural look. Be prepared to play along!
If you’re worried about how to smile for your photo, have a practice in the mirror beforehand and see what you feel comfortable with.
There are arguments for and against both sitting and standing for corporate headshots. One thing that should aid your decision is what type of headshot you’re after – a traditional professional portrait from the shoulders up; or an editorial headshot. Your industry will probably help dictate the answer to this one.
If you choose to sit down for your headshot, a good tip is to rest your hands on top of your thighs, which will help to stop you fidgeting and relaxes your shoulders.
When it comes to your hair, a general rule of thumb is to avoid cutting or dyeing your hair just before your shoot. Here are some other tips for styling your hair for a headshot:
- Wear your hair in a style that represents you;
- Wash (and blow-dry) your hair the night before;
- Style your hair to frame your face.
Take note that your photographer is probably not a hairstylist and won’t be able to rescue you if you’re having a bad hair day! So, remember to take a brush or comb and any hair products you use so that you can tidy up (if necessary!) just before your photo.
Make-up and accessories
You might consider hiring a make-up artist to be on hand during the shoot since their skills can help enhance the outcome of your corporate headshots and make you look your best.
If you’re planning on doing your own make-up, here are some things to keep in mind:
- The camera will draw attention to heavy mascara and bold lipstick, so try to keep make-up looking a bit more natural;
- Any shimmer/glitter tends to come across shiny and oily on photos, so avoid where possible.
If you’re planning to accessorise, try to keep necklaces and bracelets to a minimum – the aim is to focus on your face, so chunky jewellery and too many accessories can create distraction in the picture.
The most effective corporate headshots are representative of you in everyday work life. So, if you usually wear glasses, you should wear them for your headshot.
Whilst glare from lenses used to be a common problem for photographers taking headshot photos, most glasses these days have anti-reflective coating. Do remember, though, to give them a good clean so that there are no smeary lenses.
Another way to avoid the glare problem is to ask your optician if you can borrow a similar pair of frames (without the lenses) for your shoot.
Communication is key to getting the best from your corporate headshots. This includes communicating with your team about when and where the photo session will take place, as well as guidance for ensuring consistency across your images.
You’ll also need great communication with your photographer – give them as much information before the shoot and perhaps even invite them to visit the shoot location so they can get a better feel for your requirements (and give you their creative input).
Here’s a handy list of some key questions you should ask when selecting your corporate headshot photographer:
- Do you use a studio and/or go on location?
- How would you manage the lighting and would additional lighting be required?
- How much time would you recommend for the session?
- How do you define a “look” and how many different “looks” do you include (such as clothing or setup changes)?
- How long after the shoot are you able to provide the proofs?
- How many proofs will I have to choose from at the end?
- How will I receive my proofs?
- When will I receive my final shots?
- What exactly does your price include (Proof prints or CD? Final prints? Retouching? etc);
- What is your payment policy?
- What are the options if I am not happy with the photos?
- So far, what ideas do you have on how to shoot me?
Get some rest
Think heavy drinking the night before your corporate headshot is a good idea? Think again, please!
One of the best things you can do before your shoot is to get a good night’s sleep so that you look bright and fresh for your portrait. After all, your corporate headshot will be of you representing your brand or your business, so you should want to look your best.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – R.E.L.A.X. Your photographer has heard the phrase ‘I hate having my photo taken’ a million times before – don’t worry, you’re in safe hands!
Here are some tricks used by Splento Pro Photographer, Neil Gonzalez:
Before pointing the camera, even before picking up the camera. Find an element of humour to talk to the talent about.
When dealing with people who blink a lot, ask them to hold their eyes closed gently and give them a count-down to open their eyes.
Ask the talent to mirror you, this way you can often get them to do whatever gesture you do without describing it.
Have a playlist of music depending on the setting and the location, this can help with nerves and can help lift spirits.”
Finally, keep in mind that “no-one’s smile ever broke a camera lens”!
Check out some great corporate portraits taken by Splento’s professional photographers or book a headshots photo session for your team now.
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