Corporate Headshot Tips: How To Plan Corporate Headshots for Your Company Part I

Corporate Headshots in NYC - Lauren

Whether you’re a small or large company, there may come a time where you want to get a round of professional headshots done. Having professional headshots of your staff/team can be a great way to appeal to potential clients and give your company that extra bit of polish needed in the world of business. Having worked with several companies in the past, here are some tips I’ve put together to help you plan your shoot so that it goes smoothly and you get the results you’re after.

1. Provide adequate details to your photographer.

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There are hundreds of headshot photographers out there. All with unique styles and pricing. So know from the beginning that pricing will vary from artist to artist. When approaching photographers for quotes, it helps to give as much detail as possible about your project so they can better assist you. I often receive quote requests that are simply one sentence to the effect of, “We need headshots for 15 people, how much?” This lack of detail about the project makes it difficult to accurately provide a quote.

Some things to mention could include:

  • What’s your budget?
  • How many people do you need photographed?
  • Do you need them done at your location?
  • Required or desired turnaround time for the final images?
  • Do you need retouching?
  • Would you like to hire a makeup artist?
  • Do you want a traditional photography backdrop or something more organic like the images in front of a window or in the office itself?

Covering all of these questions should help give the photographer a much better idea of the scope of your project. If there are any unique things you can think of, mention them as well. Perhaps your CEO only has 5 minutes to be photographed before an important meeting. Let the photographer know, so they can account for any time constraints or special requests.

2. Be realistic with your budget.

Do you want quality work or cheap work? If you want to get headshots done of 50 people, I’m sure there’s some headshot photographer out there willing to do it for $500-$1000. But what is the quality of work like? Are the images eye-catching? Does the retouching look natural? Is the lighting flattering? If not, consider stretching your budget or holding off on the project until you can afford the rates of a higher quality artist. This is your company’s image on the line and you don’t want to misstep by hiring a photographer simply because they were the cheapest available. Aim to strike a balance between quality of work and cost. Find a happy medium and you’ll end up with beautiful headshots within a budget that works for you as well as the photographer.

3. Determine the location of your shoot.

Would you like your headshots done at your office? Is your team available to visit the photographers studio? The location of your shoot is important since that will determine the tools available to your photographer. When I’ve done corporate headshot sessions in the past, at a client’s location, my location kit differs slightly from my studio kit. And that can also change based on the size of the space I’m shooting in.

 Conference rooms are great for staging company headshots.

Conference rooms are great for staging company headshots.

Which brings me to another tip. If having headshots done at your location, try to pick a room with the most space available. A large conference room or wide open lobby/lounge area could work. I like conference rooms since they offer a bit more privacy than the lobby area which may be a little obnoxious to visitors who have to step around your photo shoot as they enter. One shoot I recall, I had to do headshots in a tiny hallway. While I made it work, the session would have been a lot more comfortable to everyone involved if we had a bit more space to work. 

If your office doesn’t have enough space, consider sending your team to the photographer’s studio. My studio is located near a popular train stop so it’s easy for my clients to take the subway right to me, get their headshots done, then hop back on the train back to work all in a span of an hour. It’s slightly inconvenient in terms of time away from the office, but very helpful in terms of getting quality headshots when you don’t have adequate office space.

4. Schedule enough time.

Time will vary from project to project and photographer to photographer. But overall, make sure you schedule enough time so everyone has plenty of time to be photographed. In my experience, some people take longer than others. Some people can stand in front of the camera and are just “on”. While others may need a few shots to warm up. They may need to adjust their clothing, makeup, etc. before they’re ready to hone in the shot they want.

For my corporate headshot group sessions, I general take about 10-15 minutes per person. Sometimes I extend this time to around 20-30 minutes depending on the individual. And there are other times where there’s so much of a time crunch that we have to get people in and out, allowing only 5 minutes to work with each person. I’d suggest against scheduling in that manner to the best of your ability. If there’s no way around it, we’ll make it work. But if possible, schedule plenty of time for everyone.

5. Give wardrobe instructions to your team.

Every company is different in terms of their image. A finance company may prefer suits and ties. A graphic design firm may prefer more casual attire. Whatever your company’s culture is, that’s often reflected in the way everyone dresses. If you’re a company who’s a lot more casual, then tell your team to go with a more casual look. If looking professional is your thing, then let everyone know to wear their best.

 A casual look may be best for your company's headshots.

A casual look may be best for your company's headshots.

 Or maybe something a bit more formal reflects your company's image.

Or maybe something a bit more formal reflects your company's image.

It’s very helpful that everyone’s on the same page in terms of wardrobe so you end up with headshots that are not only visually consistent, but also reflect the culture of the company. You wouldn’t expect to see Apple employees in business suits or Charles Schwab employees in t-shirts and jeans. Also, if there’s a certain color that reflects your branding, consider having everyone incorporate that into their attire (a blue tie, for example).

General tips for wardrobe no matter what the look are:

  • Solid tops are generally best. Try to avoid distracting patterns and prints, but don’t be afraid to be stylish.
  • Layered looks are great. A blazer and button up shirt beneath is a classic look that always tends to work
  • Keep accessories small and minimal. We want your headshots to be about you, not your designer earrings or watch
  • Make sure your clothes are pressed and wrinkle free. Don’t show up to shoot with clothes that look like they were thrown in a bag

Follow these simple guidelines and you should be good on wardrobe.

6. Inspire your team. Get them excited to be photographed.

I know this last tip is a long shot, but it must be said. With my actor headshot clients, it’s generally easy to get them motivated to have their picture taken since they’re often on camera anyway. For my corporate clients, who don’t spend nearly as much time in front of the camera, they may be a bit wary of having their picture taken. When someone hears about picture day, they may groan and even dread it. 

As I always say, a photo shoot should be a fun, relaxed experience. It’s a give and take between photographer and sitter. Let your team know, “Hey, have fun.” The more enthusiastic they are about the process, the better the results. Guaranteed. I don’t know how you’ll motivate them, but just give a friendly nudge and reminder that they should present their best self and this headshot will not only reflect the company’s image, but their own professional image as well.

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