As a freelance commercial photographer, I take on just about any sort of photography a business would need. Product photos, interior and exterior architecture and design photos, corporate events… Portraits make up the lion’s share of my business, however. If  you are considering professional headshots or portraits, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Some basic questions and types of portraits

First, I’d like to know how many people need portraits? Not only will this help in building an accurate quote, it will also play a part in things like how much variety is possible in the portraits.

Are there any portrait looks you’d like to replicate or example photos you like the look of? Professional portraits come in three styles: classic, environmental, and editorial. Here are some examples of these:

Business Headshot

Classic: This style is versatile and can be shot in a wide variety of locations. I’ll bring a solid color backdrop, which also makes these easy to replicate if you add new team members later. These are also a good (quick!) choice if you have a large team but limited time.

Location Headshot

Environmental: This style is well suited for visually interesting locations. If your office has a unique architectural feature, cool outdoor space, or eye-catching piece of artwork, environmental portraits liven up the “look” of your head shots and make them unique. This style is not well suited to plain office spaces.

Editorial Portrait Editorial: This style focuses on your people “in action.” If your business makes physical products or delivers services “on location” in interesting places, this can be a great option. If you’re an office-based business and would like editorial portraits, I’ll likely ask you to bring a few of your clients and/or partners into the office during the shoot. That way, we can showcase your team members during meetings, on calls, working in groups, etc. This style is also not recommended for plain offices, as the images will feature the surrounding space.

A few more items to consider: Should we mix up the portraits? Do we want consistency through all the portraits or should there be variety, possibly having the different departments have different looks. Time may be a consideration here; if a large number of portraits are needed, there may not be enough time to make them all unique. Also, will the portraits need to be replicated at a different location or at a different time? Choosing a simple backdrop, such as a colored-gradient, may help with this.

Some thoughts on what to wear

What you and your employees wear for your portraits can convey quite a bit about your company culture and what you do. What qualities of your business are you trying to convey with the portraits– Fun and energetic? Competent and dependable? Casual and laid back?

Here are some typical dress codes by industry:
– Finance/Legal: Dark suits, blazers, and collared shirts. Minimal jewelry.
Technology/Marketing: Sport jacket or blazer and/or collared shirt. Dark jeans.
Services (e.g. HVAC auto repair): Branded polos or jackets.

Additional best practices:
– Avoid busy patterns.
– Avoid bright colors (unless it’s an “accent piece” of your outfit).
– Wash and iron shirts to avoid fold lines.
– Avoid fabrics that wrinkle easily.
– Wear minimal jewelry.
– Bring a hairbrush and/or makeup if you’d like to touch up before your portrait.


Pulling out all the stops

This is a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into a Master Portrait Session. Bringing in a team, we can work to make sure my clients have the best possible experience and get the best possible portraits. With a flexible team, these sessions can take place in the studio or out on location, and can range from headshots to editorial style portraits that tell the story of who you are and what you do.

Master Portrait Session from Paul D’Andrea on Vimeo.