As a headshot photographer, I not only work with just actors & entertainers, but I’ve photographed a range of different business professionals. I love shooting Corporate Headshots. For a lot of my Corporate clients, they want a very simple business headshot, usually in a studio setting with a white or gray background. There are similarities to Acting Headshots and Corporate Headshots but there are also some differences you need to be aware of when taking on these different clients, so I’m breaking down a few key elements to the photo shoot.
Most of my Corporate Headshots are shot over a few days at my client’s location and are done at a very high volume. Think of it like school picture day for adults, but without the tacky school picture backdrops (or if your school was cool, you had lasers). This means I’m scheduled with only a few minutes for each person before they have to go into a meeting or get back to work. If I’m photographing a lot of employees in one day, I meet a new person every 10 or 15 minutes; so I make sure I’m giving them the best experience I can in those 15 minutes so they leave feeling great about their photos!
For Acting Headshots, I’m hired by the actor or entertainer. The headshot session can last anywhere from one to four hours depending on how many looks they get and if they have hair + makeup on set. I never schedule more than 2 acting headshot clients in a day to make sure I can give each client the full attention that they need.
Backdrops & Lighting
A great headshot background for both actors & business professionals is going to be either white or gray. When I work with an actor, I have more room to be creative with my backdrops and lighting choices because I have time and my goal is to create a strong selection of images for them to choose from. Unless requested by a corporate client, I only use one set (background & lighting) for the entire day. Keeping the sets for business headshots the same guarantees that the images will be consistent for all employees. This is so helpful especially if I have more than one day of shooting for my client.
Alternative Business Headshots
I have corporate clients who’ve requested different types of photos or hired me based on my fashion portfolio or my actor headshots. Some clients want environmental business headshots while others may want a different backdrop or lighting. This can be more common when I’m working with creative professionals (i.e. graphic designers, wedding planners, voice teachers) however, I have done some really cool alternative business portraits for financial planners, authors and executives. I photographed a financial planner who wanted a more fashion-forward look with his headshots, so I used a black backdrop, lighting I would use for a fashion editorial and we focused on styling him in his favorite suit and watch. We also played around with different posing options and got some really nice shots of him in his office chair.
One of my clients owns an engineering company, so he wanted to get shots of himself with his branded hard hat, as many of his clients and colleagues would recognize him out in the field.
It all comes down to each client’s personal style and how they want to market their business. I offer a Personal Branding package that allows my client to have a nice variety of corporate styled business headshots and also some fun or fashion forward portraits to showcase their personality.
For headshots of actors & entertainers we want them to look casual and natural, while for business headshots they need to look very professional. Acting headshots I suggest to a good fitting t-shirt of tank top, a great pair of jeans or a pretty cocktail dress. I want to showcase their personal style. I rarely suggest or shoot my entertainer clients in a full business suit. For corporate headshots, I tell my clients to dress like they would dress for an important business meeting.
Even though the styling is different, it’s important that both types of headshots look professional and clean. Though an actor may come with a t-shirt, that shirt needs to be clean and fit well. I don’t want any of my clients to look sloppy in their photos.
This also depends on how much time I have with each of my clients. When I know I’m shooting 30+ people a day, I have a few standard poses I use for everyone that are strong, confident business poses. When I have more time with my client, I can use that time to direct them into poses and variations of the standard poses I have. Posing also is dependent on the clothes they are wearing. If someone is in a business suit, their pose will be different than someone wearing jeans and a t-shirt.