When I meet people and tell them what I do, they usually ask me what kind of photos I take. When I tell them I am a social media photographer specializing in online dating photos they are intrigued and surprised. When I tell them I also take professional corporate headshots, they lose interest pretty quickly.
I guess this makes sense as a result of our conditioning. When we hear “corporate” most of us think: plain suit, serious expression, white background and studio lighting. That is the old way people did corporate photography and yes, that is boring.
But a business portrait doesn’t have to be dull anymore, especially not in San Francisco.
I recently spent two full days at an environmental consulting firm in Downtown San Francisco, taking corporate headshots of over 30 of their executives. They, like many other San Francisco based companies, have realized the importance of capturing excellent photos of their key executives. Corporate culture is changing and people want to do business with people they feel comfortable with. Their website is dynamic and modern, so stuffy studio shots just wouldn’t cut it.
There are easy ways to make sure that the face(s) of your business match the force of your corporate culture.
How to Keep Corporate Shots Engaging
1) Natural light- canned lighting can be felt by both the one being photographed and the one looking at the photo. If you can avoid it- do!
2) Color- Traditionally when we think of corporate photos we think of black, white and gray. But by adding some pops of color it’s easy to create eye catching portraits while still remaining professional. Note of caution: do be careful to not have too many colors in one photo.
3) Location- Be creative with what location you choose. If a particular staff member is always ‘out in the field’ perhaps their headshot would look best in a natural setting. Or, if they always work downtown in a modern office, then modern clean backgrounds make sense.
4) Personality- when people are being forced to take photos for work, it is natural to clam up. Make sure to get an experienced portrait photographer that makes people feel at ease quickly, especially when you have a long session day scheduled for your entire team.
5) Variety – Not all staff photos have to be taken in exactly the same spot with the same background. In fact, a little variety keeps it interesting. As long as you can maintain a similar style (lighting, depth etc) don’t be afraid to move around and change it up.