Executive Headshots

Samples of executive headshots captured in our studio or at client’s London locations.

Sample of an executive headshot in London on white background

Above is a classic style of executive headshot with a soft diffused side light and a reflector thinning any shadow.

Framing is tight and white web friendly background makes this headshot usable in any media.

Sample of a executive headshots London 1

The above is an executive headshot with a wider crop and a London City background. The stance is less formal and this gives a portrait feel to the image.

The background gives the headshot a sense of place and suggests it was taken from a boardroom or high level office. This works well as all these subtle elements enhance the corporate headshot.

Sample of an executive headshot taken in London street in black and white

This last sample above shows an executive headshot captured on location in London. This gives the headshot a ‘real’ quality and suggests an approachable and professional business person.

Making the photo black and white also strips any opulent colours away which might distract from the natural corporate headshot.

If you decide to commission a business headshot to help your online profile and your general marketing then we suggest you look at a few elements you can control prior to the shoot.

First suggestion is look at how you can subtly introduce your business sector into the headshot. Obvious options are corporate logo or reception signage but these can look less subtle and often look like PR photos for the local newspaper. Try have the business element out of focus and therefore recognisable but not too blatant.

Sample of an executive headshot taken at a wine importers office in London

The headshot above was for the director of a wine importing company and we used a painting in his boardroom as the background. This was very understated and we positioned the subject in a pose that allowed wine bottle to become a feature element of the portrait.

Second idea is that think about the personality of the executive who features in the headshot. Try and instil aspects of their business character and lifestyle in the image.

The lady below ran a successful company from her south London home and we photographed her on the balcony looking down a leafy London side street.

Sample of an executive headshot taken on South London road in Battersea

A third option is to look at the style of headshot. Look at how it should be composed and how the subject should be posed and what attire should they be wearing.

The gentlemen below ran a large data centre in north London and we felt the best place for the headshot was amongst his servers. We suggested it would look better if he did not have a jacket on as he was a technical expert about his business and the executive headshot showed he was often hands on in the workplace.

Sample of an executive headshot taken in a data centre in north London

Final suggestion is to get creative and really go for it. In this instance you can give the headshot plenty of thought and create something memorable.

Once again you do not want it to look like a press release but more of a publicity portrait. Use props, interesting situations, different angles and pretty much most ideas will work if they are executed well and by a professional corporate photographer.

The person below photographed by us for The Sunday Times magazine and was being featured as he had worked out a mathematical formula for assisting pension funds. We utilised a perspex sheet and a marker pen and created this executive headshot in his London offices.

Sample of an executive headshot taken for the Sunday Times in London offices.

© Corporate Photographers London.

Retouching Corporate Headshots

The pros and cons of retouching corporate headshots and portraits.

Since the arrival of quality software to enable digital photography manipulation we have seen some remarkable examples of what can be achieved and also where it can go very wrong. I believe the main reason there is such a wide range of differing standards with photo retouching is that editors, designers and photographers have varied opinions as to when to stop working on an image. This also applies to clients as they sometimes have a different idea as to how much retouching you should do to their corporate headshots.

In the past we have had clients ask us to do more and more retouching to headshot commissions and we have always tried to explain that less is more and that you should never be able to see where the retouching has been done as that defeats the object. I liken it to the fact their is nothing funny in male baldness but their is a funny aspect to males attempts to cover it up. So our stance is that the viewer should never be able to see where we have retouched the headshot because if they can we have failed as the headshot then has the viewer looking at the retouching rather than the original purpose which was to convey the professionalism of the business person.

A common mistake when working on retouching a headshot is to not keep a reference as to the original and keep comparing as you do the retouching. The original is the starting point and therefore this should be referred back to through the process. Sometimes retouchers only refer back to the last version and the danger here is that if you are submitting it to the client and you are adding/detracting stuff each time the headshot is moving further away from the original and rendering the headshot unrealistic.

You have to take each headshot on the work required and in general we tend to removes spots/skin blemishes and scars. We are very careful to only reduce wrinkles and bags under eyes as these are part of the natural ageing process and a corporate headshot of a person in their 40s or 50s without any skin of their skin ageing can look very odd and therefore unrealistic.

Clients often ask about make-up artists and we tend to suggest that subtle retouching is preferred as it can produce better results than heavy make up especially on men who feel uncomfortable with unfamiliar make-up. We also get asked about airbrushing which pre digital photography was blowing a fine mist of paint over a printed headshot which masked any original skin defects. This process can be replicated digitally but as with the original process you have to be very careful not to overdo it and not allow the vanity of some people to encourage a retoucher to do more than they normally would.

Below are some samples of three retouched corporate headshots that we feel have worked extremely well. The do not look like they have been retouched at all and you could only spot the retouching if you had the original headshots to compare.

Light photo retouching on corporate headshots and business portraits in London

Light photo retouching on corporate headshots and business portraits in London

Light photo retouching on corporate headshots and business portraits in London

Currently we are including free retouching with all our corporate headshots commissions. We usually request that after the shoot the client selects between 2 to 4 headshots with varied expressions so we can retouch and spend quality time working on the headshots you will use for your online LinkedIn profile photo and traditional marketing requirements.

 

Corporate Photography in London Offices

A large percentage of our corporate photography commissions take place in client’s offices in London. We capture corporate headshots with our studio set up and generic office imagery. Headshots clients often prefer that we shoot at their office as this saves arranging for their staff to come to our studio. We bring our professional lighting and background set which is very compact and can be constructed by the photographer. The mobile studio can be set up within ten minutes and this allows for top quality high end corporate portrait photography.

 

Corporate Photography in London Offices

Corporate Photography in London Offices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some clients prefer to have a more relaxed style of corporate headshot which incorporates the environment they work in. This we can supply by using the same style of lighting set up but incorporating their office as a background and using the ambient light to feature the offices. We feel these work well as they show the client in a more corporate environment and make their headshots much more individual. Each person can be photographed against the same area of the offices so all the headshots have the same background or we can photograph each member of staff with a different area of the offices behind them giving a variety of locations but all having the same theme as corporate backgrounds.

 

Corporate Photography in London Offices Corporate Photography in London Offices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another option we can supply is our favourite reportage style of corporate photography. This type really has to be captured at client’s offices as they rely heavily on the seeing the sitter working and communicating in their offices. These we try not to light with professional lighting as you are trying to keep the portrait as natural as possible so we rely on a higher ISO and ambient light. It is a good idea not to try and over pose these images and create a meeting situation in an area of the office you find photogenic and then let the clients talk business and really focus on what they are discussing rather than the fact they are being photographed.

 

Corporate Photography in London Offices Corporate Photography in London Offices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last corporate headshot option we can capture at London offices is the same as our studio set up process but we then can add a cityscape background. This is popular for clients who want to be associated with The City as a financial hub. It is also popular with international companies who have several offices across the world and wish to highlight their employees working in different capitals. We have a photo library of important financial cities and we can create the illusion that the photographer has travelled to each office to compile all the companies headshots for their about us website page.

 

Corporate Photography in London Offices Corporate Photography in London Offices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally we sometimes get asked to shoot a few shots around the offices to be used on company websites. These can often be for banners and as backgrounds on company LinkedIn pages. We do have to recce the offices and set people in to the staged shots so we can contrive to capture natural corporate office imagery.

Corporate Photography in London Offices Corporate Photography in London Offices

All content and photographs © Corporate Photographers London.

 

 

Corporate Headshots on a White Background.

The most popular style of corporate headshot with the subject looking to camera with a white background.

For many years we have been capturing these for clients and it is only recently that we have seen a common problem occurring. Shooting headshots with a white background seems a pretty simple set up and it always was in the past. Clean crisp white Colourama and a diffused light to make it nice and blown would give you and the client exactly the effect they were after. The problems now arise with businesses and individuals putting these headshots onto company websites where they assume the white background on the headshot will match with the white of a webpage. The background will retain some element of tone and hue as the digital camera sensor will always try and level out any colour to give an average recording. You cannot get around this even by flooding the background with white light. Now we try to make clients aware of this but it does sound a little daft to the average person who says they just want a headshot on a white background. We always try and establish the end use for the headshot now as we want to prevent the problem before it arises.

In post-production we remove the headshot from the background and add a white web friendly background in photoshop. An easy process once you know how but as with all photoshop work it really depends on the workflow you use. There are a few tools that allow you to do this but some give much better results than others and one thing is for sure there is no way you can automate the process.

We recently did a shoot in London for a company with their HQ based in Hong Kong. When we sent them the original high-resolution images they were very pleased and we mentioned about the post-production work if they were going to be used on a website. About a month later we received an email noting that the Hong Kong office had flagged some problems with the shots as they were showing some marks on the white background and could we check what we had done incorrectly. After looking at the website screenshots we could tell that the headshots had been cut out incorrectly and this was the problem. The photoshop tool they had used was not that accurate and left pixels in on the white area. We have since gone on to do the cutouts for the company and the problem has been rectified. Describing this problem to clients is not an easy task and telling them it will cost extra in post-production to get the right result tends not to go down to well. We now send samples out so that they can see for themselves that you have to go through with the process.

Sample 1. Standard corporate headshot captured in camera with a white background. Technically correct but flawed for use on a white webpage as it is still retaining tone on the background. You would think that the simple solution would be to add more light to the background but this does not work as it starts to bleed through into the edges of the person and messes up the exposure.

LinkedIn headshot with a white background unedited

Sample 2. Headshot after photoshop post-production. Headshot cut out with a white web friendly colour background added. Clean and crisp and as on this webpage the background matches the white of the webpage.

Corporate headshot with a white background edited

 

If you have had this problem or need any more advise please get in touch and we can talk you through our process and improve your companies headshots. Please see also our previous article on tips for corporate headshot photography