business headshot photographer show how to take a corporate portraits

What I’ve learned from my years as a business headshot photographer

Having been a portrait photographer for 20 years now, I have undertaken most types of portraiture. From individual headshots to personal branding sessions, to family portraits, weddings and events. And in the last few years I find I’ve become rather in demand as a business headshot photographer. Which is fantastic, if not what I especially set out to do! But I really do enjoy my corporate photoshoots. And it turns out that they are not what I thought they would be when I started. So here’s what I’ve learned, (In no particular order!);

  • The most important person at the company, CEO, president, whatever, is not necessarily any more confident about having their photo taken than the lowliest. I don’t know why, but I assumed that people who had risen to the top of their professions would naturally be more relaxed in front of the camera. But I was wrong. Being confident in front of the camera is a bit of a lottery. And it certainly is not tied to the size of the salary. I’ve had interns with more confidence and nous when it comes to having their portrait made than someone from the C-suite who regularly appears in the press. It’s been an eye-opener and a good reminder!

  • That natural light photography works in corporate settings. which came as a surprise to me. – I didn’t think I would enjoy being a business headshot photographer because I prefer to work in natural light. But I’ve managed to work around that and I manage to do most of my corporate headshots in natural light these days.

  • Who knew that even the most buttoned-up of companies can be persuaded that getting outside and letting me ‘go walkabout’ with my subjects would result in such powerful and dynamic portraits. We have liberated ourselves from the boardroom!

things to remember as a business headshot photographer

  • To always recommend (insist) that companies allow proper time for shoots to give a fuller picture of their employees’ personalities. And also the company culture. And I would always advise allowing up to 45 minutes for C-suite executives. This fuller picture is what potential customers and clients expect to see now. Authenticity and connection to the people they are doing business with.

  • That efficiency and time management are nearly as important as camera skills and photographic talent when it comes to successful business portraits. Trying to fit in up to 25 people in an 8 hour shoot is not easy! And I would never do more than that. Even though I realise that some photographers set up an almost industrial, production-line type approach where sitters just pretty much file past. I could never do that because I just do not think you can possibly get the quality of portraits that way. And also because…
corporate photoshoot on location in Soho London

The absolutely most important thing

  • The single most important skill for successful corporate headshot photoshoots is the ability to connect with people. And quickly! Putting someone at ease, get them posed and comfortable and taking several headshots in different locations is possible. But only if you are able to quickly make that connection with someone…

  • And that for that reason, group shots are always difficult. They just are. Working with so many different personalities, heights, levels of comfort with having a portrait made. It’s not possible to connect with them all individually. Just as a group. And for loads of other reasons, it’s just never simple or easy. But it is possible!

I’m sure there are many more things I have learned from being a corporate headshot photographer, but those are the highlights.

And if you are looking to have some professional business portraits, whether in your office, on location or in my West London studio, I would love to help. You can email me on serena@serenabolton.com, ring me on 07958511819 or click to book a Zoom or telephone conversation.

“Photography through the lens of a storyteller”

LONDON HEADSHOT AND CORPORATE PHOTOGRAPHER

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