PLANNING YOUR COMPANY’S CORPORATE HEADSHOTS PART 1: PICKING RIGHT LOCATION AND BACKGROUND

Corporate headshot of financial advisor

CORPORATE HEADSHOT LOCATION AND BACKGROUND: SINGLE-COLOR BACKDROP VS OFFICE ENVIRONMENTAL VS OUTDOORS ENVIRONMENTAL

My professional corporate headshots are bold and straightforward. They tell the viewer, “Hey, this is what I look like. I am confident, approachable, and professional.”

But like anything else, you can refine the message.

One way to do that is to determine the corporate headshots setting and background.

Generally speaking, you have three background options for your company’s headshots. There’s the classic single-color backdrop, the indoor environmental, and outdoor environmental.

While they’re all valid, each has its place. Let’s take a closer look at their strengths and weaknesses to learn what would work best for you.


1. SINGLE-COLOR BACKGROUND BUSINESS HEADSHOTS

First things first, think on your intended audience.

Single-color backgrounds are the bread and butter of corporate headshots. They’re clean and simple.

As a result, they eliminate distractions, keeping your viewer’s attention on the subject. In other words, the single-color leaves in the frame only what matters most- you!

So, if you want to show your business team as a cohesive whole, a clean, single-color background headshot, paired with consistent studio lighting, is the way to go.

And, despite any trends, single-color-background headshots are always in good taste.

Single-color backgrounds are the bread and butter of corporate headshots. They’re clean and simple.

Ultimately, with its streamlined process and aesthetic, the single-color background headshot is the most practical and versatile out of all headshot categories. It can be used in just about any scenario. 

In part, their practicality stems from the ease with which they can be replicated. Therefore, single-color-backgrounds come in handy when your team is spread across the country, or even across the globe. It makes job easier for all photographers that are contributing to the same professional headshot pool.

The controlled environment, which this style entails, lends itself to tethered shooting. In this workflow, the camera sends images to a computer for review in real time. This makes it possible to discuss incoming professional headshots on a high-resolution screen and make improvements on the spot.

All in all, the best platforms for single-color background headshots are LinkedIn, individual websites, corporate staff headshots, public speaker profiles, etc.

See single-color background business headshot examples below.

Corporate headshot on solid white background
Business portrait of an executive.
Solid-color background corporate headshot
Business headshot of an entrepreneur.

2. ENVIRONMENTAL COMPANY HEADSHOTS INDOORS

Adding an environment to your professional headshot can have a big impact. It engages your viewers by adding context to your occupation or personality, clues them into the type of experience they’ll have with you, sparking curiosity and excitement.

On the other hand, you could have an equally adverse effect when you include a generic environment that doesn’t tell a specific story.

To put it another way, with too generic environment, your headshot might confuse potential clients and lead them to move on to someone with less a muddled message.

In general, adding too many extra layers to a product or service creates more points of potential failure. In the case of environmental indoor headshots, those extra layers are logistics, available workspace, rapidly changing lighting conditions, photography permits, location limitations, etc.

Professional business headshot of healthcare professional
Business portrait of healthcare provider.
Company headshot of grocery store employee
Environmental portrait of grocery store employee.

Ask yourself a following question: “Does the environment in my headshot’s background help to communicate our company’s brand, values, or story better?”

None of these issues are necessarily deal-breakers, but they take time and make achieving strong and relaxed headshots more challenging.

It is also important to realize that environmental indoor headshots cannot be easily replicated if your staff is spread around US/World and multiple photographers are contributing to professional staff headshots.

Ultimately, you really need to ask yourself a following question: “Does the environment in my business headshot background helps to communicate our company’s brand, values, or story better?”

If the answer is “Yes”, then go for it. If the answer is “No”, keep it simple and versatile with the single-color background.

Platforms where the environmental indoor headshot or portrait work best are personal, small business, or freelancer websites, newsletters, etc.

Just like with single-color backgrounds, environmental indoor headshots make tethered photography easy.

Check out some environmental business headshot examples below.

Environmental business headshot of communications executive
Environmental executive headshot.
Business headshot in office envirement
Environmental headshot of financial advisor.

3. ENVIRONMENTAL CORPORATE HEADSHOTS OUTDOORS

An environmental business headshot is a great way to use beautiful scenery to enhance your brand’s story. It does, however, come with quite a few drawbacks.

First and foremost, any outdoor photoshoot is heavily impacted by the environment.

Even with the most careful planning, the available light and weather conditions (e.g., cold/heat, wind, rain, humidity) can change dramatically within minutes. As a result, light and weather interfere with all aspects of the photoshoot- your hair/clothing, physical comfort, scene/landscape look, camera equipment, etc.

An environmental business headshot outdoors is a great way to use beautiful scenery to enhance your brand’s story. It does, however, come with quite a few drawbacks.

Other elements to consider with outdoor headshots are unexpected disturbances in public environments, lack of permits, copyrights of objects in the background, etc.

Beyond just being a hassle or uncomfortable, these variables often lead to cancellations and rescheduling. Which makes working with large groups particularly complicated an unpredictable.

For this reason, outdoors environmental headshots and portraits work best for individuals or smaller groups.

Platforms that are best for the environmental business headshots outdoors are websites, promotional materials, newsletters, etc.

Unlike indoor shoots, shooting tethered outdoors is not realistic in normal circumstances.

Professional corporate headshot of a middle age woman
Environmental business headshot of an executive.
Environmental outdoor headshot of an executive.

All above are general rules and suggestions. With this in mind, background look and location is dictated by each client’s and their particular needs.

To discuss best approach for your corporate business headshots, reach out to me via this contact form or give me call at 608-239-4199.

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