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15 Great Tips for Corporate Headshot Photography

Photographing a headshot for something as serious as a corporate photo can be incredibly stressful for both the subject and the photographer alike. But there are several things you can do to make the process easier for everyone. The next time you photograph a corporate headshot, consider these 15 great tips for corporate headshot photography.

1. Set-up a Consultation Before the Scheduled Shoot

An initial consultation ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding their expectations for the final product. In the meeting, make sure you find what types of images the client needs and the style they would like. Take note of their industry, because that can influence the style of the final product as well. Make sure the client knows what to expect during the process, and use this time to ease any fears or nervousness they may have. Many people don’t enjoy having their picture taken, and this is your chance to set their mind at ease.

2. Attire

A lot of clients may not know what types of clothing to choose for a corporate headshot. Suggest solid, neutral colors, and have them steer away from anything distracting. Their industry can also influence the types of clothing they can wear for the photos.

3. Background

When choosing a background for a corporate headshot, make sure that that the client doesn’t stand too close to it during the session. Standing too close can cause shadows to form that will make the image look sloppy and unprofessional. Nondescript backgrounds, such as plain solid color office walls or brick walls, tend to work best.

4. You Don’t Need a Studio

Urban backgrounds are very popular, trendy choices for corporate headshots. You don’t necessarily need a studio. Consider shooting outside, just make sure that the environment isn’t distracting and there is sufficient light.

5. Lighting

For corporate headshots, consider using even lighting. Lighting that might be used for a model or profile pictures may not be appropriate for corporate headshots. Portable, battery-powered LED lighting can be a great solution when sufficient ambient lighting isn’t available or when you need to fill in shadow areas.

6. Small Talk

Most people don’t enjoy having their picture taken and might be nervous before the shoot, despite the initial consultation. Before you begin, make small talk, ask about their job, or what else they have planned for the day to put them further at ease and loosen up the situation.

7. Use a Mirror

Keep a mirror on hand for your clients. Some people may feel more confident if they can do a few last-minute touch-ups before you begin shooting.

8. Break the Ice with Silly Faces

To test the lighting and to also lighten up the situation, ask the client to make a silly face to test the first frame. It can be a great way to break the ice and make the shoot less tense for first-timers and people who may otherwise not enjoy being photographed.

9. Positioning

For best results, have the client turn their body 45 degrees from the camera, and toward the primary lighting source. You may need to coach the subject to look straight into the lens. Also, ask the client to slightly lift their chin and “push” their forehead towards the camera. This will help eliminate any double chins that people hate so much.

10. Sitting

In most cases, people are more comfortable when sitting, with hands resting on top of their thighs. A stool works best because it forces the client to sit up straight and ensures there are no distracting elements from a chair in the photograph.

11. Make Suggestions

Don’t be afraid to make suggestions. Subjects are often uncomfortable if they don’t know what to do with their hands, or where to look, or how to tilt their chin, etc. In many cases, what separates an average headshot from an excellent one is a small adjustment, even minor changes in facial expression or how much someone’s head is angled. Make suggestions and give direction until you get that perfect shot. Remember, the client relies on you for your expertise. They will be more comfortable knowing you are in charge.

12. Talk During the Shoot

Talking will help keep your client at ease. Let them know that you’re capturing some excellent shots, or that the lighting is perfect. Silence can make people nervous and kill the atmosphere.

13. Consider Shooting Tethered

If you have the right equipment, shooting tethered can help you capture some fantastic headshots. When clients can see images on a screen, they quickly understand what needs to be changed and can make minor adjustments to their position, smile, etc. Immediate feedback from a screen can put them at ease, and make your job easier.

14. Make Minor Changes for Maximum Connection

Have your subject make minor changes in positioning or facial expression to capture catchlights in their eyes. Without catchlights, eyes can appear lifeless. Catchlights will help the viewer connect with the photo on an emotional, humanizing level. When it comes to professional headshots, people want to trust the subjects. Experiment with light angles as well to capture catchlights in their eyes

15. Pricing

To determine pricing, decide how many photos you will offer your client. It can be one photo or a gallery. Headshots are of the face, so you will most likely spend a bit more time editing a headshot than any other type of composition. Keep that mind when pricing for headshots. Still not sure what to charge? View our pricing for portraits and headshots to get a better idea as to what to charge.

When you combine these tips the next time you’re scheduled for a corporate headshot, you’ll find that not only are you more confident, but your client will be too. Confidence on the part of the photographer and the client will help you capture a genuine photo that will foster a connection with the viewer.

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