Business Headshot Design for Marketing Directors
How are you're going to design your headshots for your company? Different companies have different needs and most companies want uniformity of some sort to their shots. The essential elements of uniformity are:
Backgrounds For Your Headshots
This varies from company to company along with what they do. I usually find myself in a conference room, table shoved to one side, a gray paper sweep on the wall, and then we go to work. If you're in the money business this may be just what you need. It's a serious stable presentation of your people. It's legit and professional. Here's some other choices.
Spring and early Fall here in Atlanta work well. You'll want to start shooting first thing in the morning before the wind picks up and it gets hot. I think this is a great solution. The background varies slightly throughout the day and even with every shot yet it's outdoor so it's uniform. It's a bright fresh feel good look.
Your Office Space
If you're in a creative space this is a great way to go. I shot "Clutch" a Kenzie Lane start up. Their office looks like a cool rich kids basement. No cubicles, 20 and 30 foot lines of sight. Hanging incandescent bulbs, brick walls, exposed beams, polished cement floors, etc... all on the highest floor of a Buckhead high rise. Target rich environment.
Other Options For Backgrounds
What about a rooftop or balcony? It's worth talking to the building manager about it. Maybe your building lobby? Or how about renting and Air BnB with a great view or balcony. What about a hotel lobby? A nearby park downtown within walking distance of your office.
Another alternative is a "stock" background which is composited in. It's a good solution. It's not without challenges but I'm surprised at how well it works.
Dress For Your Headshots
This is highly personalized for each office. My recommendation to the marketing director is to have people bring in their clothing choices ahead of time for approval. Ask both men and women to get their jackets tailored. .
There are offices who don't normally wear jackets who want headshots with jackets. This is problematic. I've seen 20 something men share the same jacket among 5 or 6 guys. If you have them bring in their jackets a day ahead you'll avoid that.
Cropping and framing Your Headshots
It's best to stay shoulders up. It hides 90% of all folks objections to their picture being taken - their body. Woman should not wear a low cut blouse, dress, or shirt. It limits cropping options and how strong the shot can be from a composition standpoint. On occasion marketing people feel strongly that they want their people shot waist up. It's a game changer. It doesn't look right without hands in frame. So now you've added several more variables into the process. Waist up shots look great but they just take longer.
Stylizing Your Headshots
This has to do with all the elements combined for the most part. What comes to mind is processing though. So black and white, or black and white that turn color on a mouse roll over. There's some web design that comes into play here. If you're in a creative space you could also stylize a shot by adding a pencil drawing effect that turns photo on rollover. Or a "cross processed" look with yellow in the highlights and cyan in the shadows. The possibilities are really endless. I would say this is more for people who are creatives. Stylizing a shot will date it because that's just the nature of style. Style comes and goes. For most business headshots people don't want to get too creative because they're not looking to have the employees shot every two years even. They want the headshot to last 5 years or more and styling the shot will date it.
It surprises me how much the lighting can vary if your dress and background remain constant. You can vary the lighting a bit. This is worthy of it's own article. In general let me say this: Your headshot is about your face. It's not about my lighting. Different lighting flatters different people for different reasons. Now if you need 60 headshots in a day you need to have a "one size fits all" lighting. You need a lighting set up that looks good on everyone. Generally speaking this will be a "loop lighting" set up. I'll be posting another article on lighting design soon. Thanks for your interest in my headshots!