How to Plan a Successful Team Headshot Photoshoot

Posted on: August 24, 2021

This post is for you if you’ve been tasked with hiring a professional photographer to come in and shoot business headshots of your team. 

If you’ve never organized a group photoshoot like this before, or if you have and it didn’t go particularly smoothly, I can help. 

Below are the things I talk through with each of my corporate headshot clients to help us get on the same page about the goals and vision for the new headshots and the plan for making them a positive and efficient experience for everyone involved.

We'll touch on:

  1. Deciding on the STYLE of your new corporate headshots
  2. Managing LOGISTICS for a smooth headshot photoshoot
  3. Setting EXPECTATIONS within the team

STYLE

When it comes to deciding what style of business headshots are right for your particular organization it can help to consider it from some of these angles....  

Final use & brand alignment--what style of headshot will play nice on your website?

I like to start with the vision of your new company headshots where they’ll actually appear and work our way backward from there. Are these headshot photos going on a “leadership” or “team” or “about” page on the company website? Picturing the photos in context where you’ll actually need them immediately narrows the aesthetic/style options because we’ll want them to fit in to the environment where they’ll appear. 

Does the company website have a clean, modern, minimalist aesthetic? Then traditional studio headshot on a crisp, solid-color backdrop could make a lot of sense. 

If the website has a lot of white space and the aesthetic is open/bright/airy, a white or pale gray background could be perfect. 

Like the Janus Group.

If the color story on the website is more dramatic/dark/bold we might decide to style the headshots in that same way--high contrast against a dark background.

Or maybe you’re a startup and your brand skews more fresh, playful, and young? Then maybe we go for headshots with a looser, more candid tone, maybe with a brightly colored or contextual background.

See how I’m thinking about this?

Vision for the Future --how important is it to you to maintain consistency over time?

Alight, another important consideration when choosing the style for your new corporate headshot photos is the mid and long-term plan. Most companies, when they hire a professional headshot photographer, don’t just intend to have their team headshots looking cohesive temporarily, they want them looking tight over time. 

What does this mean if your team is growing? 

Well, it’s wise to think about how we will keep everybody’s headshots unified as new folks join the team. If you don’t want to reshoot everybody’s headshots every time someone joins the team (I’m guessing you don’t), we need to factor this in to our planning.

How can we create a style for your company headshot photos that we can maintain over time? 

The easiest way to do this is to do some form of studio headshots, where we can use the same backdrop and lighting set-up as time marches on so that new team member headshots can look the same as the rest of the crew. 

Like structural engineering firm Lund Opsahl did. 

They don’t plan on moving buildings any time soon so we went ahead and used the cream colored brick wall in their “Parlor” as our backdrop because we know we’ll have access to it a year, two years from now. I designed lighting that created an atmosphere that works with their brand and documented my settings so every time they bring me in, no matter what time of day or year, we can maintain a consistent aesthetic.

Other companies concerned with maintaining a consistent headshot aesthetic over time choose to do classic studio headshots where we use a standard backdrop and custom lighting. 

This way, instead of bringing me on-site every time a new person joins their team, they can just send that person to my Issaquah studio and we get them set up to match the crew lickity-split.

Outdoor and on-location headshots are a lot trickier to keep consistent over time because natural light dramatically changes day by day and season by season. 

A solution here is to go for “consistently inconsistent” backdrops where we build in variation across the team and maintain consistency via composition and tone.


LOGISTICS

Alright things get a lot more straightforward from here. For a corporate headshot photoshoot, well-managed logistics create an experience that is smooth, effective, and minimizes disruption to workflow.

  • Pick a private place...If we’re shooting at your office we’ll ideally find a private-ish place that’s not in broad view of everybody working. Say, a conference or meeting room. Most folks don’t love having their picture taken and it only makes things worse when there is a peanut gallery of coworkers watching (or worse, commenting “lookin good, Neil!”). 
  • Avoid Mondays… Why? Because it’s super easy for people to forget about headshots on a Monday (even if they get a reminder email beforehand--many people don’t check email on the weekend). So Sally forgets she’s having her picture taken and shows up to the office on Monday wearing something she’d really rather not have immortalized in her new business headshot photo (not to mention she didn’t even do her hair). You get it 🙂
  • Choose Morning... When people look their most fresh. Your female team members will especially appreciate this because in the morning our hair and make-up is fresh and at it’s best. By afternoon many of us feel at least a little bit wilted. 

Alright, last but not least…


EXPECTATIONS

This applies in so many business contexts *including* professional headshot photos: do your best to make sure everybody understands what we’re doing, why, and what is expected of them. And if there is potential anxiety in the group, try to head it off at the pass. 

Make sure to communicate with your team about things like:

  • Whether the headshots are mandatory or optional (if they’re mandatory you can frame it positively-- you want your people to look sharp online because you know they’re your biggest asset. Plus think of it like an employee perk! A chance to update your LinkedIn photo on the company’s dime!)
  • Exactly what the time commitment is and how (and when) to sign up. *If I’m your headshot photographer your peeps will use a super easy online scheduler where they can choose their time slot and reschedule it if they need to. They’ll even get confirmation and reminder emails with links to “add to your calendar”. Easy peasy!
  • Who the headshot photographer is and why you hired them (something like “hey folks! we’re bringing Andrea in next Wednesday to shoot new business headshots for us! We love her work and we chose her because her she’s great at coaxing out relaxed, genuine confidence in everybody she works with, even people who hate having their picture taken)
  • Whether there are any guidelines on what to wear (like “black, gray and navy please” or “only solid colors”). *If I’m your headshot photographer your team members will also get links to style tips for Men and Women in their confirmation email--it helps take some of the guesswork out of grooming and choosing what to wear 🙂

Alright peeps, I’ll leave it here for now. Good luck planning your team headshot photo session!

Ideally you hire a great corporate headshot photographer (me!) and you don’t have to worry about any of this because they’ll walk you through the whole damn thing 🙂

>>> Reach out for a quote

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