Different Kinds of Headshots for Different Uses
Headshots seem straight forward – “You sit me down and take my picture, right?” My clients are often surprised when I ask them the type of image they are looking for. What many people do not realize is that there are different kinds of headshots for different uses. The variety you choose should be based upon your goals. Click here to read more about the different kinds of headshots. Below, I offer the reasons why I would choose one over the other:
I typically suggest this type of image when I am shooting for a business with a lot of employees. The simple background I use makes replicating the images for brand consistency much easier. As employees are added to the team, I can take headshots that look like the rest of the company at any time of the year. Click here to see an example of classic headshots.
Some clients are looking to offer a glimpse into their personalities through their business portraits. Here is where environmental headshots shine. The focus is still on the person, but we take the images in scenes that provide context. For example, I take outdoor shots of the owner of a landscaping company with the background slightly out of focus to highlight the subject. Or, the head of a financial institution with the logo or building behind him/her. Environmental headshots make the individual the central theme while telling more of a story. Click here to see an example of environmental headshots.
Technically not headshots, these images are more about telling the story of a business rather than just one person. They provide a taste of company culture. I usually shoot in their space, sometimes with many people in the image or just one person surrounded by the things that show what the company does. The problem with editorial headshots is that they are not as easily reproduced later. I can be limited by the time of year, interior design changes, etc. Click here to see an example of editorial headshots.
So How do You Choose?
I help my clients decide which version of headshot to go with by asking them how they plan to use the image and the kind of story they want to tell. If they only need to show the faces of who their clients will be working with, then classic headshots can work. If they are looking to create blog content about their employees working in their manufacturing plant, an editorial headshot may be best. Social media profile pictures or if they plan to feature the expertise of one person, an environmental or classic could work.
Regardless of your need, I can help you choose from the different kinds of headshots to ensure you achieve your goal. Contact me here for more information.
Tell Your Brand Story Through Professional Headshots and Brand Imagery
One of the reasons why I love what I do so much is my belief in the power of storytelling through pictures. As a photographer specializing in professional headshots and brand imagery, I feel like it is my job to capture my clients’ personalities on camera. Whether it is a single headshot of one person, or event photos or environmental images, I take the time to understand the goal for the shoot and the story we are trying to tell.
Duane Law is the owner of Exact IT Consulting, located here in Indianapolis. He was looking for headshots and marketing imagery for their website and other advertising spaces. It was important to him to capture both the company’s culture and expertise. We took editorial-style headshots and environmental images to achieve this goal.
When I come into an organization’s workspace, I immediately start thinking about what they do and look for elements that convey that idea. For Exact IT, it was technology. It would not have made sense to take pictures of the office furniture or décor since they are not interior designers. I found things that evoke the idea of technical expertise, such as wires, blinking lights, and cool looking technology items. The idea is to show that the organization is comfortable with these things, and therefore worthy of trusting them with your IT needs.
For the professional headshots, in the tech world a more casual vibe is the norm. So, we avoided suits and ties and went with the company polos, the stereotypical uniform of tech support that also has the added benefit of showing off their logo. I captured employees sitting at their desks, smiling at the camera or more candid shots of them enjoying their work.
Exact IT now has the beginnings of a stock library for their marketing needs, as well as updated headshots that highlight the supportive nature of their company culture.
Duane was kind enough to share his thoughts on our work together:
“We love having pictures of our space to showcase on the website, on social media and in our marketing materials. It helps humanize the brand and put faces to our company. Paul was professional, experienced and fun to work with”
If you are looking to tell your company’s brand story through your own imagery, you can contact me here.
Showing Your Personal Brand Through Editorial Headshots
It may be that when you think of a professional headshot, you picture a person set into a formal pose sporting a conservative smile and outfit. However, these days imagery is expected to tell a story. Hence the rise in popularity of editorial headshots, which offer a deeper understanding of the subject’s personality and livelihood. Now that most of us have a smartphone and take candid pictures, society is used to seeing people in a more authentic light. Editorial headshots offer that snapshot into who you are and what you do.
Editorial headshots are meant to go a bit further than showing your face (which is important too). They add a bit of marketing to your image by offering a glimpse into your processes and client interactions. A client of mine, Brian Huff, was looking to include this idea in his professional headshots. He is in the tech field and does a lot of brainstorming on a whiteboard. He wanted that tool behind him in the pictures to emphasize what a client can expect when they work with him. Those headshots offer a totally different message than just his smiling face on a plain backdrop.
If you are considering having editorial headshots taken, I have two pieces of advice. First, be flexible with your environment. There may be a few stories you want to tell about yourself. For example, Brian knew he wanted the whiteboard, but once we were on-site, we realized that an attractive couch and window offered another view of him that was also appropriate for his client base. He ended up also choosing one of those images to use in his marketing efforts.
My second suggestion is to consider your outfit carefully. One could argue that it is even more important to dress authentically for editorial headshots. Dressing in what you wear at your job adds to the storytelling. For example, if I am photographing a researcher, it could be appropriate to have a lab as the background with my client wearing gloves and a mask. A financial advisor could be wearing a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, or a manufacturer could wear coveralls and safety gear. There is no official dress code for an editorial portrait; it all depends upon what you do and who you are.
Brian was kind enough to share his thoughts on our work together:
“A common connection that Paul and I share decided it was finally time for her to get new headshots and she took to social media for advice. Paul’s name was mentioned multiple times and it got me thinking – I started my career 20 years ago and never thought about getting professional headshots. Maybe I, too, should get rid of those cropped photos. Paul and I have been acquaintances for years through networking and local food. My expectations were that he would deliver on his stellar reputation. I had no idea how simple or how much of a production the photoshoot would be. He showed up at my office with some equipment and made the process easy and effortless. The results are exactly what I wanted, professional yet ‘me’.”
Thank you, Brian! If you are interested in having editorial headshots taken, you can contact me here.
Using Editorial Photography in Professional Headshots
The Financial Advisors of Knall/Cohen/Pence Group, an Indianapolis branch of Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc, were looking for updated professional headshots for their new website and sales tools. COO Phil Bounsall shared the organization’s goals for the shots: “We wanted every employee on the website so our clients can easily see who they are working with and have quick access to their contact info. We also use the images in our informational presentation for prospects.”
Capturing the personality of the organization was important to KCP. They have an office with interesting art and architectural features that were perfect as a background. I took the employees in groups of 3-4 and placed them in different spots around the office. I also used different poses, with some people standing, some sitting, so with their arms crossed, etc. We even did some with people not looking straight into the camera for a more candid feel. This variety helps liven up the look of the marketing tools in which the images will be used.
Using the environment to provide deeper clues to the viewer about the subject of the image is called editorial photography. We took this idea even further with the partners of KCP. Each member of the leadership team has a distinct personality or interest that is reflected in his office. They wanted to capture those unique attributes in their professional headshots, so we made sure to place each person in his space. For example, one partner is a voracious reader, so we took his picture next to his pile of current reading material. Another person is into art, so we placed him near a piece of his collection. The environment helps further the story within the image, adding more interest to these professional headshots. As Phil told me, “We want people to leave our website with a feeling of knowing and trusting our team, so we were looking to show a glimpse into who we are through the pictures.”
Phil was also kind enough to share a few words about his experience with me: “This session was the second time I have worked with Paul, and each time I found him to be flexible, creative, and comforting. He gets the best out of everybody and offers a very good experience.”
Thanks, Phil! If you are looking to take your professional headshots to another level, consider using editorial photography. I’m here to help. You can contact me here.
Client Highlight: Professional Headshots Reflect Your Brand Promise
Whatever business you are in, your company has a personality and set of differentiators that help it stand apart from your competitors. All of your marketing content needs to highlight what makes you unique, including your professional headshots. My client, Rebecca Geyer, owns an elder-law practice here in Indianapolis. Being competent, trustworthy and approachable are central to her marketing message, so I needed to give her imagery that reflected that tone.
Individual Professional Headshots
Sometimes people get uncomfortable in front of the camera, so in order to elicit their true selves I need to help them relax. However, the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates team had no problem being authentic. Their warm personalities and strong professional skills came through easily since there was no apprehension. I have worked with Rebecca and her staff twice now and had the same experience each time. Unlike some other businesses where we are trying to create an environment, these individual headshots were more about highlighting the person. So, I used a bright, simple backdrop, which also makes it easy to take similar shots when new employees are added.
Business Team Shots
For the first shoot, we tested out many areas of their office to offer a few background options. My second time there, we knew what they liked so we stayed in one spot. Again, this friendly and open team made my job easy! The most difficult aspect of taking group shots is blinking. It can be difficult to capture everyone with their eyes open at the same time – especially when children are involved. For this small, experienced team, I was more concerned about how to light them correctly. The lighting you use for an individual is very different from a group situation. If you light at an angle like you do for a single person, the people in the front row cast a shadow on the back row. I have to shift my lights to ensure everyone looks good. It is situations like these where a photographer’s experience really shows.
Rebecca was kind enough to share her thoughts about our work together:
“I originally met Paul at networking group and have had a good experience with him. He is professional and timely in getting responses, and he provides both print and web versions of his photos to help you with your advertising. We especially liked that he would make any photo tweaks we needed. The final product had a professional look, which is necessary for a law practice. Lawyers can be intimidating to contact so coming across as approachable yet professional was our goal. I have been pleased with Paul’s work and look forward to continuing to work with him.”
Thanks, Rebecca! If you creating marketing materials that highlight your brand promise, don’t forget your professional headshots and team images. The people your customers will be interacting with play a large role in differentiating your business. Make sure their images reflect them as well as your company. Please contact me here for more information on my photography services.
Capture Your Brand Efficiently with a Professional Photographer On Call
Fast-moving organizations have a need for efficiency, and Carmel-based retail software solutions company enVista is the perfect example. They have a large, growing team of associates, and putting a face to a name is central to their client relationships. I have been their professional photographer on call for a few years now, going out to their offices to take professional headshots of their new employees many times a year. Not only do the headshots reside on their website and internal IT systems, they hang them on a large wall in their break area to celebrate their team. The consistency of the timing and look of the photoshoots ensures their clients know exactly whom they are working with at all times.
The real value of having a professional photographer on call that you trust is efficiency. You do not have to keep repeating the details of your needs to someone new; they know your style, people and company already. The consistency they bring makes unifying your brand much easier. This relationship becomes even more important with event photography, since the photographer will know the key individuals to capture, as well as the messaging behind your marketing. Events tend to happen once, so retakes are usually impossible. Your photographer gets one shot (pun intended), so working with someone who knows your company helps ensure you get what you need.
enVista is not looking for in-depth photoshoots for the employee headshots. The goal is get a good picture of each employee quickly. I set up a white backdrop to keep the photos consistent each time, and the employees stand before it for their picture. However, creating a connection with my subjects is central to how I am able to capture their personality in the images. So, I have become adept at making quick connections that put people at ease, allowing them to offer up authentic smiles. New employees tend to be happy and enthusiastic, but also nervous. A genuine “good morning” and helping them settle their clothes or hair helps them relax and enjoy the shoot.
Stephanie Newell, enVista’s Human Capital Director, shared her thoughts on having a photographer on call:
“We’ve been working with Paul for five years; he takes headshots of all of our new employees and annually takes a group photo of our whole company. What has been really nice about with working with him is that once we explained our needs for and style of the photos, he continues to execute it every time. We have orientation days every three weeks now, and we have him out for each one. He manages the whole process for us. With so many new employees, he knows we might not know everyone’s name at the time, so he takes a photo with them holding their name on a piece of paper first. He then gives us several good options so the associate can pick their favorite. We also like having a single style of headshot we can use on our IT systems; it’s a great way for us to put a face to a name with the remote nature of our company.”
If you tend to have a lot of photography needs for your business, it may make sense to create a relationship with a professional photographer. Having a partner who understands your company and what you are trying to achieve can make promoting your brand more efficient and effective. I’d be happy to help. Contact me here with any questions or to make an appointment.