Corporate Headshot Tips: How To Plan Corporate Headshots For Your Company Part II
Following up on my previous post on planning corporate headshots for your company, I decided to add a few more tips that I think clients will find useful. Hiring a photographer, getting everyone scheduled, and the actual shoot day can be stressful affairs. I'm hoping this series alleviates that stress and helps you plan for your corporate headshots in the most efficient manner.
So here’s part 2!
1. Know the requirements of your building.
This is one I really have to stress to all my clients who want a photographer to come to their location. Here in New York, many of my clients find it easier to have me come to them. Why leave the office and be less productive when the photographer can come to you, right? I love doing in-office sessions, but one thing that must be understood upfront is if there are any requirements by the building for hiring outside contractors that will be conducting work on the premise.
Requirements vary from building to building and from check-in area to check-in area. I’ve gone to some buildings that seem so serious it’s like they’re a front for the CIA, only to be greeted with a friendly smile and pointed in the direction of my client’s office. And I’ve been in buildings that seem pretty lax in terms of security but they have given me the hardest time and some have turned me away outright.
I get it, they don’t want to risk damage to the building or any of its inhabitants unless they know you’re fully insured. Luckily my insurance covers most buildings’ concerns but I have encountered some buildings who’s requirements are downright mind-boggling. Like, you must have $10 Million Dollars of Liability Coverage. Whoa! Most standard insurance policies cover $1-2 Million, but $10 Million is astronomical. Insurance companies are usually willing to provide coverage but this often results in increased fees, additional paperwork, verifying information, and a bunch of other hurdles that can prevent a shoot from happening. That’s why it’s very important to know what the buildings requirements are up front and well in advance of your shoot date. Don’t start finding this out days before the shoot.
If the requirements are steep, there are workarounds. I’ve found going to a client’s location with minimal equipment has helped alleviate any concerns and in many cases allowed me to go right through the check-in process unbothered. I advise my clients that if you desire a backdrop (i.e., seamless paper) that will require more equipment. More equipment raises red flags and there could be a potential issue during the security check-in. Best to know what requirements the building has so your photographer can submit the proper documentation. Do this and the shoot should run smoothly.
2. Have the person in charge of the photographs on standby during the shoot.
When someone contacts me for a project, it’s usually someone who’s been put in charge of finding a photographer for the company. While they’re my primary contact during the process, they’re not always the one making the final decisions in terms of the images. If you’re not the person in charge, but have hired the photographer to do photos for your company, be sure to have them available so they can approve the work. Whether they’re physically there or even via Skype/Facetime. It helps if they can approve the work while the photographer is there, versus being dissatisfied and voicing their issues later.
Whenever I visit a client’s location, I have my laptop with me and my camera is tethered to it. As I take pictures, the images pop right up on the screen so everyone can view them. If there are any issues, we can make the necessary adjustments before moving on. If the person in charge of the project is there, have them step in and take a look at the work to ensure it meets their expectations. I make an effort to double check with them before I break down for the day, since I’d hate to get an email saying we didn’t use the proper background or some other issue resulting in the client being dissatisfied.
Having them there on set makes sure they’re certain about the work and also prevents us from having to do it all over again. Let’s get it right the first time!
Also, let your team know if they’ll be picking their favorites or if the person in charge of the project will be deciding. It’s usually the former, but it’s best to check!
3. Don’t trust the weatherman.
Ah, the weatherman. One of the many professions that allows for consistent inaccuracy without any consequences. How many times have you saw the forecast and it says, “Thunderstorms” and it turns out to be a nice sunny day? I’m sure we’ve all encountered it. It’s annoying in real life and even more so when planning a photoshoot.
Usually clients prefer a plain backdrop for their corporate headshots. This keeps the images consistent and also matches the tone of their website and/or branding. But sometimes clients want something a bit different and will request an outdoor session. I LOVE shooting outdoors, but there’s always that fear of the weather being less than ideal. It’s very difficult scheduling a session for over 10+ people if it’s going to be outside. In other more consistent weather markets like Los Angeles, this probably isn’t a big concern. The weather in New York is a whole other level. It’s sunny...but humid. It’s sunny...but the wind is crazy. It’s supposed to be light rain...but it’s torrential downpour. If I had a lot of hair, I’d probably be pulling it out on those days when the weather doesn’t work out as planned!
So how do we combat this?
The best approach I’ve found is to have multiple days available for shooting outdoors. If it’s a large group, say 10 or more, then have 3-4 days set aside as backups so in the event one gets ruined due to weather, we can move everyone with little fuss. Even if it’s a small group of 3-5 people, having a couple backup days can help. I’ll be monitoring the forecast days in advance of the shoot so if the weather does something unexpected, we’ll make the necessary adjustments. And sometime’s it’s just easier to shoot indoors in the studio.
This wraps up Part 2 of How To Plan Corporate Headshots for Your Company.
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