How to Plan for a Company Headshot Session

⌨ 17 April, 2020 |  ✎ Julian Stock

Mobile studio on-location setup example

Company headshots are a great way for clients to connect with your staff members on a personal level and can give your company that competitive edge, especially with so much business now done online. But how should you prepare for your photoshoot to get the most out of your session and ensure it runs smoothly? 

Over the years I have photographed a wide variety of businesses and industries, both large and small, and effective preparation has always been the key to any successful portrait session. So, here are my top tips to help you plan for a photoshoot that gets the results you’re after. 

1. Know what you want from your photoshoot

The first thing to do is understand your vision. Know what look and feel your images need to reflect your company's brand and convey the correct message. Decide if you want a formal corporate look or images with a more friendly feel. Think about how your images will be used also. Are they for your website, email footer, staff board etc. Do you need portrait, landscape, or perhaps a wide panoramic shot to allow text over part of the image. Make a list of all the uses and any specific sizes so you can share this with your photographer.

2. Choose the location of your shoot.

Your choice of location will have a huge impact on the look and feel of your images. Choose locations that reflect what your company does and complements the staff members roll. If they work in an office, have the photos taken there. If your business is on location have the shoot on location if you can. As an onsite photographer myself, the most popular choice by my clients is the company office. A meeting or boardroom makes an ideal location for both environmental images and studio backdrop setups. Using a location that has privacy or at least minimal distractions is key to insuring the subject feels at ease and comfortable when being photographed. Other areas around the office can also make great locations including the outside areas.

3. Communicate your vision to the photographer

Make sure to discuss your vision in detail with the photographer. I always like to meet with my clients onsite prior to the shoot to discuss options, location ideas and ensure we are in unison on the brief. I would rather clients asked lots of questions than not enough. Ensuring we both are on the same page and understand what needs to be achieved prior to the day is key to any successful session.

4. Don't rush the schedule

Your schedule should allows plenty of time for each person being photographed. Session lengths will vary from person to person as some people take longer to settle in than others. Many people get nervous when having their photo taken, myself included, and need longer to warm up and relax. Others are in and out in just minutes. I always recommend allowing 10 minutes per person for a single photo. This allows time for people to relax, adjust any clothing or makeup and for those people who get stuck on a call and running late. Sometimes time is against us and you need people in and out in just 5 minutes. If there’s no way around it, we’ll make it work. But if possible, schedule plenty of time and you will get better results.

5. Give clear instructions to your team

Make sure those involved know the schedule and what time they are booked in for. Advise them to start getting ready 10 minutes before hand. I often have clients arrive all flustered because they have just rushed down after a conference call. It can then take a while for them to slow down ready for a great headshot. Allow time to relax, do makeup and hair and be ready for the scheduled start time.

Give them wardrobe instructions too. How your staff dress and look in their headshots should reflect your company brand and image. A legal firm may prefer a more corporate and conservative look with suits and ties. A graphic design company may want a more casual and colourful image. Whatever your choice make sure everyone does the same. This also helps to show the unity and bond within your team in a visual way and ensures people don't clash in group shots particularly.

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