Corporate headshots are used more and more as online presences continue to grow in importance. It can be to showcase the entire team, senior management, or yourself as a consultant, for example. They are often for the business’ website but are also commonly used elsewhere. But what exactly is a corporate headshot?
First, what is a headshot? Simply put, a headshot is a photograph of a person’s face. To define this a bit further, it differs from a portrait because a headshot is primarily used for business purposes. It can directly or indirectly influence a purchasing decision.
For example, in the case of an actor, it is more of a direct influence on getting work. Meanwhile, for a real estate agent, lawyer, doctor, financial advisor, and other such professionals a headshot can have an indirect influence on whether a customer will do business with you. The same can be said about using a professional headshot for a LinkedIn profile and its influence on how recruitable a person might be.
A corporate headshot is commonly cropped from around the chest up but can also be from around the belly up. The subject usually looks directly into the camera, as if to make eye contact with the viewer. There is also a usually a slight smile from the person. Sometimes the person is squared to the camera and sometimes they are slightly turned but still making eye contact with the lens of the photographer. So, how are these photos used?
There are lots of ways such headshot is used. A primary one is on a business website under the page for “team members” or “management.” They are also used for press releases to announce a new hire. As touched upon, they are common for use on LinkedIn or other career websites. For businesses or entrepreneurs with a social media presence, they can be ideal on Facebook, Instagram, and other such business social media channels. You have likely seen headshots used in advertising such as to advertise a professional that provides insurance, legal, real estate, financial, and other such services. They can even be used on sales presentations and other such materials, and so on. Some RFQs sometimes request team member headshots be submitted. In other words, they have many business uses.
This photo is often to make a first impression upon potential customers, partners, investors, and others that may have an interest in doing business with you or your company. Sometimes your use of a headshot in your marketing might be a subliminal deciding factor over selecting you to hire, partner with, or work with instead of your competition.
This type of headshot is different than other types of headshots – like for acting, modeling, musicians, other artists, and so on – in that the person is often styled how they would be on a workday. For example, it could be on a workday where the person might be meeting an important client. It is often advised to look in your headshot how you would look when first meeting an important customer or client. So, a primary difference is in this – how you might style yourself. There are some general considerations for what to wear for headshots.
A corporate headshot is also commonly different in what background or scene is used. Often, classic grays or blue backgrounds are used. Solid colored or lightly textured backgrounds are popular. This is because it helps keep the focus on you instead of an overly busy background.
Sometimes people opt for an office-like setting as the background, or outdoors. This can be to capture some impression of the person’s workplace, or outdoors for a more casual look. In terms of how a person is lit, it’s usually a flat, soft, and flattering style of light that is used, which also reduces shadows.
If outdoors, flattering light is a bit more difficult to come across, though not impossible. But even in a studio the quality of the lighting used does matter. There are some considerations.
Regarding outdoors, quality lighting is impacted by weather, time of day, the scenery around you too. For example, if you are in a red brick area, it may cast a red tone on you, same thing if on heavy grass and trees – it might case a green tone on you.
In a studio, the quality of the studio strobes used may have an impact on quality. All light bulbs are not created equal. Also, the light modifiers that are used by a photographer will have an impact on quality, as will light placement.
Technical considerations might be to align with a website’s design. In this way, marketing managers usually tasked with securing headshots for people will coordinate with their website designer on technical requirements.
These technical requirements can include the crop factor to use, file type and file size to optimize a site for speed and balance this with quality photography. Beyond this, marketing managers might need headshots to serve multiple purposes. So, often multiple crop factors and sizes might be needed and are a good idea to have in advance. For example, if a key executive is scheduled down the road to speak at an event or writes an article for a trade magazine that is to be published, these scenarios commonly require submitting a headshot.
Marketing managers might also want the headshots to be well-aligned with the company’s overall branding and color schemes. It can look disjointed to have team members with headshots that have varying background colors – red, green, black, white, studio, outdoors, etc. So, often plans are made to ensure consistent background colors. This may also include posing everyone to the same side, be it front-facing or facing left or right and looking into the camera.
These are some essential details about a very specific type of headshot, the corporate headshot. It’s usually suited for people that are part of a business team and it’s often for industries that wear suits to business casual clothing. Executive headshots or other business headshots also often adhere to similar technical or branding considerations.
Real estate agents, especially in Los Angeles, are one example. Then there are doctors, accountants, agency executives, and so on. Some people in these professions wear suits and others don’t. So, as with any headshot, corporate headshots don’t always have to adhere with all these considerations.
So, to come full circle, what is a corporate headshot? It’s a professionally made photo of a person’s face that is used for business purposes to include, but not limited to, influencing purchasing or hiring decisions to presenting a well-branded professional team behind a business.