Commercial Portraits – Creating a Branded Headshot
Commercial portraits are an important part of a company’s use of images. Staff headshots help to bring real faces to the business, giving it a more human feel. Websites and brochures benefit from using headshots of staff. They help customers and potential clients to relate better to the brand as people relate most easily to people.
However, as with many other aspects of branding, it is easy to make mistakes by trying to cut corners so that a box can be ticked but done cheaply and quickly. Many may resort to taking pictures of one another using mobile phones with the subject standing against a blank wall. All too often, this leaves people looking less than comfortable and fails to connect the images with the overall branding. Commercial portraits provide an excellent opportunity to communicate your brand and personality.
Sometimes the connections in the image may be extremely obvious – as with the profile picture of the social media expert above (Andrew of Lamb Social Media). You may also wish to bring in imagery that is slightly less obvious but still carefully aligned with the brand. For example, this image of Jim Adcock with cogs and gears in the background was produced to go with his strapline “The Mechanic for your Business”. In the context of the rest of Jim’s branding, this headshot makes real sense.
It is also possible to draw on something as simple as one of the main colours of your branding. This headshot of Oliver Hill of Hill Coaching uses the green which features in the logo and across the website. Keeping continuity in colour is a simple way of drawing your brand together and making positive associations.
Sometimes, we might want to use a commercial portrait to convey tone. This image of a financial advisor was designed to articulate the serious, professional nature of the business along with the friendly personality of the individual. It needed to say professional and approachable. The lighting and colour scheme as well as the final pose all assist with that.
Of course, sometimes we may want to go with a relatively neutral image for various reasons. But it is important to think through the options rather than simply defaulting to a white background because it is trendy. We can so easily waste an opportunity to do something unique to our business if we just go with the norm.
If you have your own premises, particularly if the architecture is a little unusual or easily recognisable, then it may be worth using that as the background for your headshots. For example, this shot was taken using the stairwell at the Centrum building on Norwich Research Park.
This image also makes use of the surroundings where the person works. It is a slight deviation in terms of composition on a classic headshot, but this staff portrait gives a link to the work they do and the place they are based.
In cases where you may be able to have not just a small square but a larger image, then the opportunities for branding or association become even greater. For a letterbox cropped image there is plenty of scope for including something that contributes usefully rather than just having blank space.
So, I would suggest that whether for your own personal branding or for your business or organisation, take time to think more about your profile pictures. Choose creative options that will fit in well with your branding and help you to stand out from the crowd. There are many different approaches you could take. For example, you could use colour, your premises, local landmarks and more to align your commercial portraits with your brand and location. You could also add elements in Photoshop that could reinforce your message. Yes, you may choose to use a simple, plain approach. But make sure that you don’t just default to that, especially if it doesn’t fit with your brand!
It can be difficult deciding on the look you want and finding the right photographer for you. You may like to read my article on how to choose your headshot photographer for some tips on how to make your choice.
If you would like help creating a branded headshot or a series of staff portraits then please do get in touch. Although based in Norfolk, I can arrange to travel to your location for a shoot. I have provided headshots and portraits for entrepreneurs, various businesses, professional musicians, models, bishops and a range of different staff in different organisations.
© Joe Lenton, October 2017