I have worked as a corporate photographer in Boston for over a decade, and have had the pleasure of working with some the best companies in the city. Today I wanted to share some samples of corporate headshots that I have shot recently. The corporate headshot, while sometimes considered a necessary evil by some employees, is actually a promising opportunity to reinforce the message of your corporate brand.
Corporate Headshots: Why Quality Matters
The quality of corporate photography that you choose to represent your business online and in printed materials says a lot about your company. It very often forms your potential customers' first impression of your brand, your corporate culture, and your employees. With that in mind, here are few samples of corporate headshots from the financial and law fields.
Businesses With Which We Have Done Business
I'm really proud of my client list, it's exciting to get to work with some of the most interesting companies and meet the people who are making huge impacts in the fields of science, law and finance. Here's just sample of some of the clients that I have worked with:
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- General Electric
- Liberty Mutual
- State Street Bank
- Goodwin Procter LLP
- Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
- Harvard Business School
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
An Example of Headshot Style Following Brand Style
This photo comes from Cambridge-based gene synthesis company, Gen9. They are in the cutting edge bio-tech market and wanted corporate headshots that reflected both their reliability as scientists but also the cool factor that comes with being a pioneer in this emerging scientific landscape. We shot this style of portrait for all their employees, and they really complement their brand messaging and help make Gen9 seem like a company with which you would be comfortable doing business. Biotechnology could have come across as overly serious, but it was important to them to make sure the public understood that they were both brilliant and approachable.
The point is that compelling and high-end photography is really important. And it doesn’t have to be too disruptive to your business. We can come to you and with as little impact as possible deliver a gallery of images that will help tell the story of your business. We have years of experience in making companies look great.
Corporate Headshots In Boston, And Around The World
We have done these types of corporate headshots all over the world. To ensure a consistent look and a consistent level of quality we've shot as close as downtown Boston and New York, to national clients in Texas, Kansas City, and California, internationally in Paris, Madrid, Zurich, to as far as Hong Kong.
Preproduction for Corporate Photography
Enough cannot be said about the value of good preparation to a successful corporate photography session. The way to think about it is to run the timeline backwards from the first frame that is shot of the subject - before that happens, almost all the work will already have been done. From scheduling to wardrobe, from creative style to location scouting, all the heavy lifting happens before the subject even walks into the room. So, as one of my favorite makeup artists that I work with, William Murphy, says, “You are either preparing to be successful, or preparing to fail.” Here are some steps to prepare to be successful.
It seems like a good idea to start at the very beginning. (That’s a very good place to start?)
Scheduling Your Headshot Session
Ideally, we like to have several weeks lead time for a shoot, especially if there are flights involved. We certainly have turned around great shoots on very short notice, but the more time we have to plan the shoot, the more throughly it can be planned. Often times, corporate photography gets coordinated around major corporate events. So if you know you have a board meeting in a few months, or you know you will be launching a new website in the next quarter, start thinking about engaging a photographer to at least get the conversations started. I know for me, personally, I’ll go out of my way to make a schedule work, but sometimes when dates are booked its hard to free up time at the last minute. If you book in advance, the chances of finding dates that work increase dramatically. Don’t let schedule dictate creative choices.
Location Scouting for Corporate Headshots
Finding the right place for corporate portraits is incredibly important. The location sets the mood and tells a story, so this step shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ideally, I would like to personally do the location scout myself, if time and budget allow. For major executives where time is short (and pressure may be a bit high) I will pre-shoot the portraits with an assistant or a stand in days before the actual shoot, that way everyone knows what the final product will look like in advance.
In general, the goal for finding the ideal setting for corporate portraits is to find a large space, with great natural light and interesting furniture. Easy, right? I know this is the dream, but it is not always possible. Large conference rooms tend to work well. The lobby of the building can be a great choice, but does bring up two caveats. First, you will probably need permission from the building management if you don’t own it. This is a bigger deal than it sounds, and people tend to get pretty prickly if you don’t ask. Second, you need to make sure that your subject is okay with being photographed in a public space. This is not always the case, believe me.
Seamless versus Environmental?
“Wait. (You could be saying) My office is grim. We have no beautiful, natural light. We have no interesting furniture. We have no impressive lobby. Is all lost? Is this hopeless?”
First, I would say, stop being so dramatic. And second, no, it is not at all hopeless.
A great option for corporate portraits is to shoot with a seamless background. You get the studio look in the comfort of your own conference room. We bring the studio to you. We travel with either fabric muslin backgrounds are nine foot solid rolls of paper and set up right in your office. It is a great way to get very clean images in any location, but particularly helpful if you don’t have a great location to shoot. As a side note, if we are shooting in multiple locations around the county or around the world, and you need a very consistent look across all locations, a seamless is the best option for uniformity.
We can set up a studio within a very small footprint. If you don't believe me, check out this before and after:
What to Wear to a Corporate Photography Session?
This is by far the number one question we get. And that makes sense, it is important. The wardrobe should, first and foremost, align with the culture of your business. If you are a suits and ties kind of place, that should be reflected in your photography. And, importantly, if you are not that should be reflected as well. A company’s corporate photography tells a lot about the people who work their, what they are like, and what the company is about, on a large scale.
My favorite piece of advice for dressing for a corporate photography session is to wear what fits well. Fit and presentation are hugely important. In those three weeks leading up to the shoot that we planned ahead of time? This would be a perfect time to visit a tailor and a dry cleaner. In our digital world, your corporate portrait will be seen by thousands of people. And while a lot of problems can be fixed by Photoshop, it is much better to fix them “in the camera” by having clothes that fit just like they should and by having them crisp and ironed.
We also like to advise that you stay away from fine patterns that could moiré on some screens. My sense is that this is increasingly less of a problem as both cameras and screens improve. But, just to be safe, stay away from fine patterns.
If this area is a weak point for you or someone in your organization, we can recommend some great stylists. Or, for a more permanent solution, you may want to consider working with wardrobe consultant Nicole Otchy to get on the right track.
Hair and Makeup Artists
Just to touch briefly on Hair and Makeup. Again, if time and budget allow, Hair and Makeup can make a huge impact on the final product. They are wizards. It is important to note that when you are working with a Hair and/or Makeup artist, you need to work time into the schedule for them to work their magic. Try for at least a half hour per subject, if possible.
That really takes care of the preproduction. We’ve scheduled, we’ve scouted, we’ve prepared. And, with that much preparation things should go very smoothly on the day of the shoot. I like to arrive with my team around ninety minutes before the first shot to make sure everything is set up with plenty of time.
When we are shooting, particularly if you want just corporate portraits, I encourage you to consider if you need any other types of photographs of your subject. Would it be helpful to get “working shots” - engaged in conversation around a table? These photographs could be useful in press releases, for speaking engagements, on the website. The subject doesn’t always have time for it, but while all that preparation has been done, it is something to seriously consider.
Post Production Workflow
We deliver all file digitally. The first step is to put up a gallery of low resolution images of all the options. Then, when you have made your selections, we do global color correction and light retouching on the images. We then send high resolution files via Hightail or FTP.
If your images need more than light retouching, say you need a person added to a group shot, we can recommend some extraordinary retouchers who you can contract with directly.
Does Your Business Need New Headshots?
If you need new headshots for your business, please don't hesitate to contact us to set up a shoot.