Crafting a Business Image
Wherever you are representing yourself, be it online or print media, you will need to think about your business image. Visuals create a window to the personality and tone of a company. Headshots introduce your team and onsite environmental or editorial portraits evoke a sense of hard work and skill. Done well, photos can communicate volumes to your clients about you, and present a polished, professional look you aim for in person.
I have worked with many companies to create stock libraries and professional headshots uniquely tailored to their needs. I do the heavy lifting for my clients in crafting their business image, using my own creative eye and experience to develop the perfect photo. However, it is vital to know what you want, and to communicate your expectations with your photographer so the resulting images will better represent what you pictured. The following pointers will help you figure out those expectations.
Uses Far and Wide
To start, you need to know where you will be using the images. Do you need team shots? Marketing materials? Website stock photography? Knowing the mediums will help your photographer know how to approach each photoshoot.
Style and Story-telling
Images tell the story of what your business is—if you are a tech company, your visuals should look drastically different than a landscaping contractor’s. There are three styles I use in photoshoots: classic, environmental, and editorial. Classic style, a straight-on shot with a distraction-free background, is great for people-driven companies, like HR and marketing. Editorial style captures workers and processes in action, and is the perfect way to highlight product and service-driven businesses.
Environmental style allows subjects to be shot at visually interesting locations, outdoors or in the office. I recommend environmental portraits to those who have interesting office spaces. You can refer to the process of professional headshots for a more in-depth look.
Personality and Backdrops
Talk with your photographer beforehand to determine what personality vibe you’re going for so he or she will know what tools to bring and how to shoot the pictures. Are you a law firm or bank? You may want images that communicate competence and trustworthiness. Are you a tech company? Creativity and ingenuity might be your leaning. Plain color backdrops can convey a strong message: white and bright colors have an open, inviting energy, while dark backdrops look more serious and dramatic.
Interesting offices provide a lot of visual fodder for stock photography and headshot backgrounds. I always advise my clients who have great office spaces to showcase their work environment, not just for clients, but also for prospective employees. Refer to my blog about using office spaces for examples.
Bringing a professional photographer on as an integrated partner can save time and provide you with consistent quality work. Please contact me for your business photography needs, whether it is portraits, professional headshots, group photos, or unique brand photography.
How Often Should You Get a Professional Headshot?
For business teams and individuals, there are many occasions where getting a new professional headshot is helpful, appropriate, or necessary for proper publicity.
– If it’s been a while since you’ve been in a photoshoot: When your look has changed, you may want to update your professional headshot so your public profile matches real life.
– If you are starting to refresh your resume: When you are entering a job search, getting a new professional headshot can give you the opportunity to present yourself in the best way possible, thinking ahead to match your image with your career goals.
– If you are about to receive a lot of publicity: Authors publishing a new book, inventors introducing a new product, or speakers about to go on a tour, can benefit from an updated headshot to help publicize their product or event.
– If you are unhappy with your current or past headshot: If you don’t think your current headshot is a good representation of you, why not make it a New Year’s goal to get a new one? Read how to make sure you are happy with your headshot.
– When new employees join your team: Keeping your team headshots up-to-date can be built into your on-boarding process, having a professional photographer on call to take pictures of new employees as they are hired.
– When your business changes locations: Moving into a new office affords the opportunity to get new headshots and photos for your website or other marketing materials. Read how you can use your office as a backdrop for professional headshots and other promotional material.
– When your company is rebranding: Revamping your brand often means changing your business image at every level. Having new professional headshots that fit the style of your new brand ensures the faces representing your business match the visual message you want to send.
If you are looking for marketing images, professional headshots or portraits that stand out and express you, your brand or business, you can talk to me here.
Cheers to You!
Best wishes for the new year from Paul D’Andrea
Brand Photography for Non-Profits: The Riley Children’s Foundation
I have the honor of being one of the go-to photographers for The Riley Children’s Foundation, who create regular communications for emails, social media posts, magazines, brochures, signage and everything else needed for a non-profit to reach its donors. My projects revolve around capturing the conditions, struggles and successes of children and their families who are treated at the Riley Hospital for Children. Together we create visual stories of these kids and what they’ve been going through.
I create images for a number of different media outlets: social media, enewsletters, the printed magazine “The Riley Messenger”, blog posts, brochures, signage, and much more, including third parties like the Indy Star. There is a huge variety between photoshoots. I take standard “candid” portraits and also create studio-style portraits with a backdrop.
Locations vary between the hospital, families’ own homes, and events like a high school dance marathon in Bloomington or race car drivers and professional football players visiting patients.
With a few years of working together under our belt, a level of trust has been created. I can show up to a location with my gear and dive right in with little oversite. They usually tell me the background of the subject, but beyond that I know the Riley style and brand and can tell the story they want to tell. I also know the nooks and crannies of the organization—parking, familiarity with the team and their photo library—giving us an expedited process. I also understand the challenges of working with kids who sometimes aren’t feeling well, and my manner of being sensitive and understanding is invaluable to making them feel comfortable. The kids are usually fantastic, by the way. I have a lot of fun working with them.
To effectively tell a story through visuals, you need to show what happened through those images. I do this by including aspects relative to the situation. One recent story was of a boy who had a genetic eye trouble his father also had. His treatment required wearing very thick glasses. I took a shot where he wore his glasses, then took a shot straight on without the glasses to show his eyes, emphasizing the issue that is being resolved.
Laura Buckner, my contact at the Riley Children’s Foundation, provides her take on what professional photography does for their organization. “Professional quality images are paramount to communicating need for a non-profit. Photography is everywhere, but placing importance on professional quality images like Paul provides is a priority for Riley Children’s Foundation. When people see a variety of images from us over a period of time, it starts to make an impact.”
Bringing a professional photographer on as a partner of your team can save time and provide you with consistent quality work. Please contact me here for your business photography needs, whether it is portraits, professional headshots, group photos, or unique brand photography.
Keeping Your Team’s Professional Headshots Up to Date
Team and employee professional headshots on your company website connect faces to your business and help build your brand online. But businesses change, move locations and acquire new prospects. How do you keep your company image up to date with your current team composition? In my many years of corporate photography work, I have come up with several solutions.
Employee Group Photos
Group photos pose a challenge for businesses as employees come and go. It can take extensive scheduling and coordination to get everyone together every time there are new hires. However, with the power of Photoshop, one group photo can be taken and then edited as time goes on. New employees can be photographed individually against the same background with the same light settings, then added into the picture with much less hassle.
Individual Employee Headshots
With individual headshots, scheduling time for new hires to have their portrait taken can be simplified by integrating your company’s photographer into your onboarding routine. I have several clients for whom I am part of their new employee orientation process—the portraits are done right from the start and no extra scheduling is necessary.
I have other clients who make me a part of their yearly company-wide meeting. I provide portraits for whoever wants them during a lunch break. Again, this combines two events into one, and assures most employees can get portraits with the least trouble possible.
Company growth is often marked with a change in headquarters, and moving into a new space is the perfect opportunity to update your professional portraits. I like using my clients’ office spaces as backdrops for their headshots—often they design their own spaces to reflect their business personality and brand. It makes sense to refresh the company look to match the new environment. It is also a great PR opportunity to show off your space and talk about the exciting changes happening in your business.
Consistency in photography is key for all my clients. Their professional headshots and group photos across time need to have the same look. I light them similarly, using identical camera settings, and review previous photos to keep the same feel even though backdrops and ambient lighting may differ.
If you need anything from simple business portraits to unique brand photography, I am comfortable taking professional headshots in the field or the studio. You can contact me here.
What to Expect After Getting A Professional Headshot
Once you’ve had your day in front of the camera, the last step of the professional headshot process is editing and final delivery. Although I prepare extensively and communicate with clients to make things run smoothly during the shoot, images usually need some tidying up to make a polished, finished set of photographs. This editing process is fairly straightforward for the client—their heavy-lifting has already been done. However, crucial decisions are still ahead; you will need to select the images that you feel best represent you and what you wanted to convey.
After minor color and light adjustments, I work with my clients to choose their final portraits. We talk in-depth about what they like and don’t like about each image—even pointing out a preferred background or a smile over another. This is the time to step back and see where facial expressions and postures might be off. I can make major changes such as taking a subject from one background and dropping them onto another, or even taking just a head or tie and integrating it into another pose. With larger changes, sometimes there are extra costs; it’s obviously much easier to wear a tie than for me to add it artificially.
Above is an example of how I can move a subject from one photo to another. My client loved the background in this shot, but did not like the outfit she wore. Rather than reshooting, I removed her from another picture where she wore an outfit she liked better, and placed her on top of herself on the background she preferred.
Most of the editing I do is background and detail work—removing specks and stray hairs, softening shiny skin, or reducing a mess of wires on a desk. The point is to reduce distractions, leaving the people as the only subject of interest in the shot. In these professional portraits of real estate agents, I edited out scuffmarks on the table, stains, and stray leaves.
My philosophy is that all pictures should be pleasing and balanced, and should convey ideas about the people in the image while still keeping the focus on them. This picture has a minimal detail of a white picket fence in the distance, a subtle motif lending itself to the suburban theme these real estate agents wanted to capture. The background doesn’t distract from the subject, but still is pronounced enough to tell a story about them—they will help you find a home in our area.
In editorial-style photographs, the profession of the subject is much more central to the shot, and therefore more details are left in to tell a broader story about the person, such as the shot below.
After all the editing is done, I send my clients their final, polished photographs, providing print and web-sized files so all their needs are covered. Sometimes I get additional requests—maybe teeth could be a little whiter or laugh lines a little less noticeable—and I work through these details until my clients are happy with their final images.
The detailed steps within the last stage of image creation are essential to making the very best of raw photographs. If you are looking for an experienced business and professional headshot photographer, you can send me a message.