Corporate headshots: how and why they matter…
Corporate headshots: how and why they matter…
As a member of the Association of Professional Headshot Photographer (APHP) it is my job to take Industry-Leading Headshots.
My primary clientele are Actors. Most people might think that Actors would be easy to photograph – ‘they have experience in front of a lens’ (after all, it’s their job), ‘they’re extroverts’, ‘they love the limelight’, ‘they’re big show-offs’… And yes, while some of these points may have a little truth behind them – in general, when confronted with being themselves, they find it hard. It’s all very well playing a character, but to be open enough to show who you actually are takes a different type of bravery.
I have, over the course of my career, made it my mission to produce genuine, open Headshots of actors, which show their authentic true self. A Business Headshot should be no different.
With the advent of social media and ever increasing online visibility, it is imperative that companies and their staff have Headshots online that show who they are and what they stand for.
No longer is it acceptable to have a Black & White pixelated little ident taken on an old Kodak or camera phone. Or heaven forbid, a selfie. Yet, still, too many companies (who invest a lot of time and effort into their PR and Marketing) represent themselves with old, dated Headshots.
Below are a few examples of huge American Companies still doing exactly that.
Take Herbert – President and Director of one of the biggest companies in the World – Coca-Cola. This is the picture chosen to represent him on their website. Old, dated, pixelated – even his eyes are barely open. Now, I’m sure he’s a fine person – and I mean no disrespect – but the fact that a multi-billion dollar company should use a picture like this is paramount to negligence.
Perhaps there is an argument that ‘being such a huge and powerful company, it really doesn’t matter what pictures they use – people will still buy their products.’ This may be true, but if you could address this problem, why wouldn’t you? Coca-Cola’s mission statement is “to refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit” – well, it appears Herbert hasn’t taken a sip of his own produce since 1983.
Then there’s the example below, Thomas – President of Innovation at Nike. Innovation? His headshot is far from innovative. Low-Res, pixelated, cut-out and stuck on a black background. It doesn’t exactly scream – Nike “bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” (their company Mission Statement).
And lastly, and perhaps the biggest faux-pas of all, Donna – Executive Vice President of Walmart. Credit to Donna, she has actually hired a Photographer for her Headshot. However, either the Photographer is a little over-zealous in Photoshop or Donna herself has put her Headshot through a FaceTune mobile app and airbrushed her very soul out of her picture. Another example of a Headshot serving no benefits to the subject it represents.
These observations may seem a little harsh, but the point is that in order for prospective clients to warm to a company, their image needs to be on point. Humans are incredibly good at reading the face – it’s baked into our DNA. All minute, microcosmic gestures and expressions are picked up on (and whether sub-consciously or not) an opinion is formulated about who that person is. It is therefore right to assume the image you put out into the world has an affect on those who view it. In what way would you like to be perceived? I can assure you a confident, approachable, well-lit and professionally processed Headshot will pay dividends to any company or employee willing to do it the right way.
What is the right way I hear you cry?
A quick, expedient Headshot Session, which is well lit, efficient and that gets the sitter in and out with expressive, truthful shots in as little time as possible. Leaving you to get back to business. Truthful, approachable, confident expression – this is key.
Here are a few before/after examples of my recent clients who have been coached (to bring out this truthful expression) in under 10 minutes. Note the vacant, unenthused or embarrassed/nervous expressions before – as opposed to the engaged, direct confidence that exudes from the subject after the coaching.
The techniques that I employ are geared to producing Headshots that will capture the eye of prospective clients, who will say ‘this is a person/company/organisation that I want to know more about.’ As apposed to ‘They look awkward/unkind/unenthusiastic, I’ll take my business elsewhere‘.
Of course, this is an extreme, but the fact remains – a good Headshot means more business.
The small, painless(!) and inexpensive task of framing yourself and your business in the right way has never been easier. To be seen as confident and approachable (and not awkward and dated) in 2021 is just a shutter click away.
Companies worked with
© Cam Harle Photo • All rights reserved