International Corporate Headshots

Several of our London based clients have flagged a problem with getting consistent corporate headshots when they are commissioning shoots with their international offices. We have noticed this when looking at our client’s website after we have photographed their London staff and directors. We visit their about us page to see how the headshots have been used and notice that their international offices headshots look out of line with ours and therefore make the page look less professional.

One of our major clients has offices in nearly every major city and when revamping their corporate website asked us to come up with solutions to this potential problem. We decided the best way forward would be to create a style guide which could be sent out to photographers and could be followed with the minimum of photographic direction. This is an important part of the process as we are often approached by US clients asking us to photograph their London staff and we receive a very detailed brief from their US photographer.

This might seem straightforward but often these briefs contain specific lighting makes, types of reflectors and degrees that the subject should be looking at the camera, the chances of finding several international photographers all with the same set up or with the ability to shoot in a different many to which they are used to working are pretty slim. We suggested that if we looked at the photographers portfolio we will be able to tell if they can shoot in a style we can suggest. A good photographer should be able to look at a sample photograph and be able to mimic the lighting and pose. With this in mind we drew up a set of photographic guidelines that we knew the photographers would be able to follow.

International corporate headshots Japan International corporate headshots Washington

International corporate headshots India International corporate headshots Germany

Our client asked us to select a colour background and then order a large batch so they could dispatch these to each office. This was a good solution but had a major flaw as backgrounds colours change when photographed unless the lighting is identical each time it is photographed. With this in mind we suggested that we could create a background in photoshop and then add this to each international and London headshot to give a perfect consistency to the commission. This has been a successful project with over thousands of international staff now photographed.

Another client has a similar problem but in their case they required the headshot to feature the international city in the background of the their headshots. They had tried to get different photographers to take the shoots on location but they tended to look more like holiday snaps as they were taken at ground level and this created an awkward angle trying to get the height of recognisable buildings in as well. We looked back at some of our London corporate headshots and came to the conclusion that it would be better to shoot in a studio with standard diffused lighting and then drop a cityscape behind each person. We blurred the city view a little to replicate the long lens depth of field effect.

corporate headshot New York

Corporate headshots London The City

Corporate headshots St Pauls

Now we have perfected these methods we sometimes suggest this to our London clients even if we are only shooting in the UK. Reason being is once we have the headshots taken it is easier to add the right background then trying to create the perfect background in camera. We were recently commissioned by an New York corporate photographer who had a financial sector client who had an office in London. The photographer sent us over samples of the shots they wanted us to match and we asked if we could shoot some backgrounds at the offices and add them later as this gave us greater control.

The shoot was planned over the space of a day in February and we were concerned that the style they wanted, which was headshots with office views across the city behind them, would be hampered by the short daylight and poor weather at that time of year. They were adamant they wanted to keep it real so we shot as they required only to have our fears confirmed and we had to add some backgrounds in post production.

© Corporate Photography Agency

 

 

The Advantages of Corporate Photography Post Production Techniques.

Post production techniques can benefit the marketing impact of your commissioned corporate photography.

Our headshot photographers undertake hundreds of commissions each year and as I get more involved in the post production side of the industry I can see how clients do not see the potential of what is on offer.

To give some examples. The first case is a company will approach us and we will agree to capture their staff and directors headshots. Within our quote we include airbrushing and retouching to selected images. After we do the shoot we send all the high res versions and the client is happy. A week later the headshots are on their website and the next time we will hear from them is when they have new starters to be photographed.

The second case is several other companies we work with and we go through the same process but after the shoot them come back with a list of images they require being retouched and asking if we can do anything to improve the overall impression of the headshots. The answer is always yes.

We are beginning to see that what the photographer can capture in camera is only half of the process. Post production gives a whole new dimension of what can be added to the original corporate headshot.

Traditionally business headshots were on a white or sometimes blue background. This was due to these being the most popular background paper rolls that were sold by Colourama. This trends continues to this day and there is no reason for this. Good quality cut outs in post production means that you can literally have any background you require. As it is now impossible to tell that a headshot has been cut out and placed on a new background this opens up great possibilities. We work with large international companies who want all their worldwide offices to have headshots with the same background. We have guidelines for foreign photographers and we then create a corporate branding in post production. Another client again with international offices was having real problems trying to capture headshots of staff in their offices across the world. Again we wrote guides for the photographers and then purchased library shots of the world capitals and very carefully created a set of professional headshots for them.

Another option to look at is that if you have a headshot you are pleased with and feel confident using then get more from it by adding backgrounds, cropping and tailoring it to work in different situations. These are some samples we put together to help clients understand what is possible in post production.

 

Corporate photography post production techniques.

These two samples have been captured in clients offices and we have subtly retouched them. The worst thing with post production is the ease with which the client or the photographer can over work the headshot. Retouching should never be noticeable on the final version. You would be able to see differences if you compared the original headshot with the retouched version but the final product should and must look natural. Our subtle retouching and airbrushing includes lessening lines and wrinkles normally around the eye area. We also remove any spots or blemishes as these are not permanent features. Scars and moles are a person’s preference wether we remove them or not. Shinny skin can be reduced and any discolouration reduced to look healthy.

 

London business headshot with office background added

At this stage we have now added an office environment background with gives the headshot a new dimension. It makes perfect sense to me that a corporate headshot should have a corporate background. Gives the person a sense of where they work. It is instant that the viewer knows this is a person at work and it is a business profile photograph. I have been creating LinkedIn headshots in London for many years now and I am still amazed at some of the profile photos I see. Snaps of company directors half up a mountain or on a sailing boat. The person is usually so small in the picture they are barely recognisable. If you get past this amateur mistake you then see they have spent a great deal of time writing content for their profile but the first thing you look at as a potential employer or client is the photo and you really need to look professional at that point.

The benefits of adding a background in post production really come into play at this point. You can have your headshot captured in a studio utilising the professional lighting which would be a difficult option if you wanted to do it on location. After this you can add a background that perfectly reflects your business sector.

 

corporate headshot with London skyline added in post production

Being based in London with most of our clients they require a City background added as this reflects their work location. I mentioned earlier about the benefits for international companies but another point to look at is that it is very easy for us to apply the London cityscape as a background but if you try and recreate this on a shoot you will have to gain access to a high building as trying to capture this type of headshot at street level is not possible due to the height of the building which create a steep angle. We have a library taken from many of the skyscrapers in the City purely for the purpose of being added as a background.These are carefully shot to allow for the person standing and blocking most of the view and gently put out of focus to replicate the shot if it was captured in camera and the use of a long portrait lens and the point of focus.

 

Corporate photography post production techniques.

Corporate branding colours can be sample from your old headshots or created and added to your companies headshots. These are also made web friendly and feathered in around hairstyles. It might be suggested that this can be done with a colour background roll and save the post production work but that is a mistake. In the past we had clients buying background rolls and sending them all over the world for different photographers to use. This was in the hope that the background and therefore the headshots would remain consistent. The main recurring problem with this is lighting varies and therefore the hue, colour and brightness of the background changed in different photographers work.

If you want the background and the your headshots to perfectly consistent the only sure way to guarantee this is to add them in post production.

You might be interested in our last post on corporate photography tips.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or additional benefits to corporate photography using post production techniques.