Seems like a simple thing, a head and shoulder portrait to accompany your business bio in a conference presentation, for the corporate leadership web page, or perhaps to send out as PR with a new position announcement to trade publications. And sure enough, there are tons of photographers that offer “head shots” at as many price points.
But buyer beware…not all “head-shots” are the same.
First, the term “head shot” has been used by the acting and modeling industry since forever. The first stop of every aspiring talent is a “head shot”…and every talent agent has a list of photographers that will take inexpensive, quick, “head shots”. These are used to show directors and casting agents what the person physically looks like and gives some idea of how a particular talent may, or may not, fit the director’s idea of the character being cast. These head shots are almost always full face, brightly lit, showing the face structure with a bland background. After all, the director needs to see what the talent looks like…and that is all.
A business portrait on the other hand, is a different situation all together. A business portrait, a head & shoulder portrait, an executive portrait, should show a careful, sophisticated attention to detail. The business portrait is more than a simple face picture.
A business or executive portrait is not about ego. It’s not about looking tough or sexy. We do business with people we like and are most comfortable with, making that first impression vital.
My philosophy for business, executive portraiture is that the individual needs to appear relaxed, confident, knowledgeable and experienced, but perhaps most important, approachable. The subject needs to look like they have it together. Business portraits are about sales…it’s all about sales.
Skip the fancy, (busy) background, skip the large print blouse, skip the loud tie. Do not change your hairstyle for the portrait. If you wear glasses and people know you with glasses, by all means wear your glasses. A good photographer knows how to handle distracting eyeglass reflections. Navy is better than black, gray better than tan. If you are unsure about what to wear for your portrait, I recommend involving your significant other in the selection process. After all, they know when you look good. Trust them.
Business portraits are best when the subject is well rested, crisp and not rushed. That means mornings for most people, before the fires of business get started burning, before the shirt is wrinkled, before the beard starts to show, before the hair style starts to show the effects of humidity.
Speaking of the corporate leadership page, for continuity and design, every executive should be shown with the same background. Keep it simple. (KISS) If you have a need for something special, that can be arranged, but here we are only discussing the everyday business head & shoulder portrait. Prospective customers need to know your company is stable and engaged in whatever industry, business or profession.
Take the time to schedule a professional business portrait. The reality is that picking out your wardrobe, suit, tie or blouse may take more time than the actual portrait session. A professional photographer knows you are busy and will not waste your time on set. Our job is to make you look great and then get back to work…creating business.
Larry Gatz is a professional commercial, corporate photographer with over 25 years of experience. For more information or a quote for your corporate photography, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305.775.1635