So you think you want to get into corporate photography work? Well here’s what you need to know…
In the modern business world, every company needs great images. There is a real desire for authenticity in our business dealings. People want to connect with clients and service providers. So, how best to do this? By putting a face to the name. By showing the people who make up the company and allowing the client to feel a sense that there are living, breathing people behind the business. Businesses have woken up to this and are investing in corporate photography. And it’s not just boring old yearbook-style headshots these days, but more dynamic portraits showing a little personality both of the sitter and the company. Which means corporate photography has evolved and is a growth sector for photographers.
So what do you need to know to be a corporate headshot photographER
Corporate headshot photographers need a certain skill set. It’s not enough to be creative. Professionalism and organisational skills are imperative You will be shooting a large number of people, usually in an environment you cannot control. You need to be efficient in your planning and your execution. At the same time, you need to be fresh and ready to capture the very best version of each sitter. Which is no easy feat. Especially when there is usually considerable time pressure.
To ensure that your photoshoot runs smoothly, planning is essential. You will often have up to 25 subjects a day and you will need to allow sufficient time to make a connection with each subject, You will need to put them at their ease so that you can get the best version of them. So ensure you allow for this by giving each sitter 15-20 minutes of your time. And if you are going to capture images of the company principals, allow a little more time for them eg 20-30 minutes.
Also consider whether you will have group shots and allow time for this. Work with the company to ensure they think through the people who will be needed for each shot. And remind them that you will need breaks. You are not an automaton who can shoot for 8 hours without food or a comfort break. I’ve had experience of this where a well-meaning but zealous assistant booked me straight through 28 sitters from 8,30 a.m for 8.5 hours without even a 5 minute break! Like this young lady, they might not have experience with photoshoots, so guide them through the scheduling.
It’s also very important to scout out your locations. While many businesses nowadays have created more comfortable, design-led interiors, there are still plenty of business out there with strip lighting, white walls and grey furniture and it may be more of a challenge to find a conducive place to take the portraits. And of course you must consider lighting carefully. Many businesses have only downlighting which can be harsh and unflattering. Make sure that you are prepared for this and can control the lighting environment favourably.
And as for conducting yourself..
When dealing with corporate clients, clear communication is key. For example, you must decide on your pricing and keep it simple. I find that it’s easier just to have full and half day rates which include my editing time. For me, the only additional costs are any travel expenses incurred. Advise your client in advance about any travel expenses you might be billing for. And make it clear whether your rate includes editing and whether it includes high resolution digital negatives.
Finally, in terms of presenting yourself, make sure that you are appropriately dressed for your environment. It’s just good manners. While it is not necessary to dress like a banker to photograph bankers, you should at least look smart. This is especially true for corporate event photography where as someone hired by the company, you are representing them at their event.
If you prepare carefully, communicate clearly and look and act like the professional you are, all that is left is to take great pictures.
“Photography through the lens of a storyteller”
LONDON CORPORATE HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHER