3 Mistakes to Avoid When Getting Corporate Headshots

Getting corporate headshots are important for marketing yourself or a small business. For an individual, your LinkedIn or other online profile gets many more views with a headshot. For management teams on the company website, headshots are an essential first impression with potential customers.

Headshot photography

So, if you’re in the market for getting headshots there are at least three considerations to avoid getting a bad one.

Don’t Use a Selfie

First, never use a selfie. At least one recent survey demonstrates why using a selfie for a corporate headshot should be avoided. The results found that 88 percent of hiring managers find a selfie for online business profiles like LinkedIn to be “unprofessional.” And, some 58 percent also said they would not hire someone who had specifically used a selfie. The use of selfies for whole management teams on a corporate website would only compound such problems.

While it’s simple to use a smartphone to take a selfie for a headshot, it can be a critical business mistake to do so. Thus, it’s best to avoid a selfie and instead use a professional headshot photographer.

Do Your Homework on a Photographer

Second, find the right professional photographer. Finding a professional headshot photographer can be a time-consuming task. But the last thing you want to do is hire one that turns out to produce unusable headshots. So, there are steps to consider to properly vet a photographer. Of course, this starts with making a list.

Their location may be important, particularly if you’re an individual. Corporate teams can usually find a photographer that’s willing to travel to them with a mobile studio setup. So, if you’re an individual or small team, start a search within a mileage range you’re willing to travel to. If you’re a corporation, you can likely span a larger search area for a photographer willing to come to you. Remember to not just go with the photographers that are at the top of the search results. They aren’t necessarily the best, since being the best at search engine optimization doesn’t necessarily equate to being the best photographer.

Considering Reviews

Once you’ve got a radius down, shorten your list by looking at ratings and reviews that are available online. A standard web search on a popular search engine will list several photographers via a map. Once you’ve made your list shorter by eliminating poorly reviewed photographers, start evaluating their work.

Any serious professional headshot photographer will have a comprehensive portfolio available on their website. When you evaluate their portfolio, be sure to do it on a large desktop monitor and not on a smartphone. It’s easy to hide poor quality photos on a small screen. In addition, nearly half of all Internet traffic still happens on a desktop. And, when viewing content from a desktop, people view it longer and that will include the headshots you put on your website or profile.

Evaluating a photographer’s portfolio is a matter of personal preference as looks and styles can vary quite a bit. But you should be certain of some levels of quality that include proper exposure and good quality lighting. For example, skin that is overexposed can appear white-washed and this should be minimal – preferably none- for business headshots. On the opposite spectrum in shadows, you want minimal dark areas and few to absolutely no black areas on the face. You also want to verify the eyes are sharply focused. These elements are best verified on a large monitor.

Emily Coupe corporate headshot

Evaluating a Photographer’s Portfolio Includes Seeing if They Can Pull Off a Look You Want and Also Proper Exposure, Sharp Focus and Other Elements of Quality. Subject: Emily Coupe

Get Studio Headshots First

You might want to think creatively about where you should physically take your headshot. However, the third potential mistake to avoid is a distracting background. So, if this is your first or only business headshot you plan to get for a while, getting a studio headshot will be your best option for branding. A studio headshot can be more universally used in branded content.

A studio allows great control over the elements. There will be no concern over weather changes, if you’re outdoors, that can force a reschedule. In a studio, a photographer that understands how to use studio lighting will be in full control. This is important to avoid obstacles such as glare that can occur in glasses. Or, you might want nice even lighting instead of lighting that has a falloff from one side of the face to the other. In addition, you can have solid backgrounds so the focus stays on the person in the photo.

For these reasons, using a studio is best for primary executive headshots – be it a physical studio location or a mobile studio a photographer can bring to you. Also, consider other possible uses for your headshots. You might need to submit one as part of an RFP. If you author an article, you’ll sometimes need to provide a headshot for the magazine to publish. A studio headshot provides a photo that can be more universally used for various purposes.

Getting properly good corporate headshots can be a good asset in your branding, whether for an individual business profile or for the corporate management team. You can fall victim to poor headshots if you settle for the fastest and cheapest way to do it. By avoiding the use of a selfie, doing your homework to find a good photographer, and ensuring you use a studio, you’ll help guarantee your next headshot session is a success.

Additional Resource:

Video Version: How To Get the Best Corporate Headshots

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