The Business of Business Headshots: It’s Partly Science, It’s Partly Art.
The challenging thing for a business photographer when taking staff photos, staff and business headshots, and especially group photos of an entire business team, is achieving a happy balance. I don’t mean achieving a happy balance of the light, color, or contrast – though those all count, too. I mean achieving a happy balance between making the business appear professional and yet friendly; expert, dedicated, and diligent while at the same time approachable and easy-going. It can be a tricky balance to hit. It’s partly a science, and partly an art; especially when the primary purpose of the shoot is for display on a huge billboard.
Real Estate Headshots for Norwest Commercial
That was the challenge presented to me by Norwest Commercial, a leading commercial real estate sales and leasing company. The shoot location was in Bella Vista, Sydney; specifically, the group shots took place in both the foyer of one of the many buildings they manage, and the real estate headshots, which were to be used for online profiles such as the LinkedIn profile picture, and other advertising fliers, took place on the balcony of their offices.
As regards getting the balance right, the first key step to any business shoot is making sure your business clients are at ease. So that means that I need to be on site, and fully set up, before my clients arrive. The last thing any client wants, especially a busy business client, is to be kept hanging around while the photographer fiddles around with the lighting. That’s a big no-no as far as I’m concerned. The equipment needs to be all ready to go the minute the clients arrive, so that it can all take place in the least possible amount of time for them.
The second key element is arranging the subjects to ensure that, especially in group shots, they don’t appear too posed. Their body language and facial expressions need to look natural, relaxed, and happy. A lot of this comes down not just to technical photographic skills, but rather to what the photographer says, and how it’s said, to them in order to illicit the desired posture and expression. That’s more of an art than a science.
Of course, the technical expertise matters, too. For instance, in the foyer shoot the lighting was a key challenge. The natural light coming into the foyer was good, but it was coming in unevenly and wasn’t quite bright enough. So it needed to be balanced properly with carefully arranged studio lighting.
The other key technical challenge was the fact that, as I mentioned, this particular group shot was for a large billboard in Sydney. Billboards are, by their nature, wide in width but short in height – which isn’t the same as what the camera spits out.
If this isn’t taken into account, the image will end up with a lot of empty space – something that doesn’t look good, particularly on a billboard! Asking the client their intended upfront allowed me to plan for this and carefully arrange the people for a pleasing image.
Finally, in post-production, the technical challenge is always to correct the white balance and make other colour adjustments in order to ensure skin tones look good and to bring out a soft look to the skin while still keeping the image sharp and vibrant.
As I say, the challenge of business headshots is achieving the happy balance. It’s part science, and part art. The important thing is getting it right. And the other important thing is that the client is happy. Are you in need of photography for your business? Contact me today.