You have just been given the task of organising staff headshots. Sounds straightforward enough (and it is). But as with all things involving people, making sure the day goes smoothly requires organisation. So here is a simple management checklist that ensures you ask the right questions, create the right brief, hire the right photographer and get a set of images that everyone is happy with.
How long does a corporate headshot take?
Realistically anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes is needed for each person. Your objectives determine the length of each individual session (and therefore, how many staff can have their headshot completed in a day). A headshot is a stylised portrait. It
should communicate your organisation’s brand values. For senior, customer-facing staff, the process should be more considered, individuals given time to work with the photographer to get the right pose and expression. Junior staff, whose image may only be used for internal communications, can get a perfectly presentable image within 10 minutes.
Where should the shoot take place?
Many companies have a meeting room or boardroom that can be converted into a studio for the day. But, as with ‘how long’, your location is dependent on your objectives. If you wish to convey an impression of a dynamic, creative office, it is worth considering headshots taken in an office setting. If your office location is important, headshots taken outside with a city backdrop may be an option. You also need to consider consistency. Location headshots look great but if your first photo shoot takes place in June and the second in December, your photographer may not be able to maintain the same look and feel in your images. You might also consider the shoot at the photographers’ studio. Provided the location is central and convenient, it may be an opportunity to get geographically dispersed teams together for team building, planning and the photoshoot itself.
Some staff find headshot day intimidating. Often it is an unwanted interruption in a busy schedule. Executives can find themselves rushed on set, thinking of actions from their last meeting and trying to prepare for the next. Add a humid, dusty city and cramped public transport and your staff can feel uncomfortable in front of camera.
A makeup artist doesn’t simply ensure grooming is just right, they allow a few moments of calm, where the subject can relax and become centred. There is time to chat about the shoot: what they should expect and most importantly, what message does the individual wish to communicate in the headshot.
Subjects: men as well as women, benefit from 5-10 minutes with a good makeup Artist: they relax and go onto set knowing hair is perfect, shine is reduced and any redness removed.
It creates confidence and that confidence shines out through the eyes. It is for that simple reason that we always recommend a Make Up Artist. And we always provide it as a costed option.
How to co-ordinate diaries?
One of the biggest headaches is choosing a day when everyone is in the office. We recognise that this is an almost impossible task. Even on the day, client
meetings and sickness can mean one or two last-minute absences. Which is why we always offer complimentary studio shoots for staff who cannot make the main event. If you have opted for a studio style background, we can create exactly the same conditions: making sure that images are consistent. We also have a ‘green-screen’ option so staff can be superimposed on your office (or city backdrop) location.
Knowing you can complete the shoot at the studio gives you m much more flexibility: opening up more potential dates and keeping everyone onside.
You should expect good support immediately after the shoot: clean images prepared for selection and retouching done in a timely manner. But there is also support required throughout the year. Staff change: old friends leave and new colleagues join. Many organisations have an out of date ‘our people’ page with blank spaces and ‘awaiting images’ messages. This is because companies wait until they have several staff needing headshots before they book another day or morning’s photo shoot. This is where photographers with permanent city centre studios are at an advantage: new joiners book a shoot in the studio as part of the induction process. So your website is never out of date.
Maintaining consistency is also vitally important (you will win points from the marketing department if you achieve this). We take care to document each client’s shoot so that images are consistent, no matter where or when they are taken. And the team travels to different locations. For some of our international clients, we create the same studio conditions: whether that be in London, Zurich or Geneva.