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Blog and photos courtesy of Lauren Pusateri

Colorful Corporate Headshots

There’s a reason people dread getting their photo taken and it has a little something to do with the corporate headshot. With the gray-on-gray action I see floating around LinkedIn, you can hardly blame them. When it comes to shooting headshots, you could grab a light and a crushed velvet backdrop and call it a day but you want a way to stand out from the crowd. And we definitely don’t want to remind anyone of their dreaded school day photos. When in doubt, grab a colored seamless backdrop.

While that may sound like too simple of a solution, I promise you it will change your headshot game for the better. A colorful backdrop instantly injects personality into your shoot. You can’t tell me you don’t know anything about a woman in a pink blazer with pink lipstick in front of a pink background; she clearly has style. Plus, it can be hard to find ways to show the subject’s personality in one still image. Your subject may be stuck with a specific wardrobe and you can’t always rely on props to save the day. Save yourself the headache that is location scouting and unroll that seamless paper.

One look at my portfolio and you’ll see I lean a little more towards the bright and colorful but I believe every photographer (yes, even you) can gain something from a little color in their lives. Neutrals have their place in the world but color is (no pun intended) evergreen. You’ll recognize white backgrounds from that trendy blogger you follow on social media and gray backgrounds are a safe bet for traditional LinkedIn profiles but color keeps the content fresh and continually relevant.

I’m not asking you to go out and buy every neon color you can find on Savage Universal’s website. Play around with pastels and jewel tones for your ideal effect. I’m not inventing the color wheel here; I’m just using it to my advantage. If you’re ready to level up your headshots, take it a step further by layering your backdrops or creating patterns with items you have around your studio. Peep the speckled white backdrop I made with just gaffers tape and a bright seamless on the floor.

Choosing the Right Backdrop Color

Color is also a powerful way to communicate. Yellow sells a happy image and blue gives a fun pop to any page. Pink is a personal favorite but every color has its own story to tell. Identify how you want your images (and your subject) to feel and choose your colors from there. Additionally, work with your subject on their outfit choices for an even better impact. A cream suit on a turquoise background gave the perfect pop to a client’s professional headshots without being goofy. You’re not just sticking someone in front of a backdrop, you’re creating imagery to contribute to a larger brand.

Not only is it about the brand, but it’s about keeping the brand cohesive. Colored seamless backdrops are a great way to tie everything back to your vibe. Strong brand recognition is exactly what people are looking for these days and with the visual world we live in, it’s the best way to make an impact. Plus, a bright pink background might be just the thing you need to break the Insta algorithm. Just a suggestion.

Using Color to Stand Out on Social Media

Speaking of creating imagery, you have to remember where your photos exist in the world. 95 million images are uploaded to Instagram every day and while you’re probably not seeing all 95 million of those images, you’re still out there with them. In a world of endless streams of visual content, I use color to differentiate the images I create for my clients from all the noise. People have short attention spans and you’ve got to hook them quickly, especially if you’re marketing yourself. Shooting your subject (be it a person, a product, or even a dog) on Savage paper is a fantastic way to grab attention.

So when it comes time for you to shoot your next round of headshots, remember what color can do for you. It’s an instant eye-grab, an instant personality boost, and an instant way to communicate with your audience. And just think about how happy your people will be when they see the bad ass images you created.

If you want to see more of Lauren’s work, check out her Instagram

Lauren Pusateri

Lauren Pusateri is a Kansas City-based commercial photographer with 15 years experience. She specializes in animals, still life, portraits and colorful backdrops. Lauren has worked with a variety of brands and agencies over the course of her career including H&R Block, Deutsch, Zippy Paws, Bayer, Hallmark Cards, Andrews McMeel and Signal Theory. Check out her website and if you love dogs and a good shadow drag, follow Lauren on Instagram.Learn More