Nearly every company website has an About Us section that lists team members along with a few stats: job title, job description, favorite (insert person, place or thing), where to find the employee on social media, etc. Along with this list of basic information you typically find a headshot or two. A friendly and inviting headshot is a great way for your clients to match faces with names and to get a better overall feel of who you are as a company. However, poorly planned and executed photos can have the opposite effect and may cause your current clients to question who they’re working with, or potentially scare away new clients. So this begs the question, “What do the current headshots on your site say about your team members, your company, and your work?”
I’ve enjoyed photography for the majority of my life, and I’ve grown to love creating portraits. Sure, I’ll walk around town with my camera taking photos of interesting things that catch my eye, but my passion is photographing people. A single photo can tell a person’s story and reveal many aspects of their personality. In fact, this study argues that we even determine how much we initially trust other people based solely on their appearance. Remember, you only get one first impression.
We decided it was time to update the headshots of our team members for a few reasons: the current ones were out of date and originally taken with an iPhone, some photos looked completely different from the others, and since we are a rapidly growing company we needed to add a few more people to the page. I jumped at the chance to organize a company-wide photo shoot! As an experienced headshot photographer, I was able to provide a bit of direction, and I’d like to share a few tips to help you improve the headshots of your team members on your own site.
Create a uniform look
I’m not suggesting everyone needs to wear a uniform by any means. Just be sure to decide on an overall photo style and make sure each image is tied together by this common theme. For example, the office has a lot of exposed brick interior walls. We decided the brick would make for an excellent and stylish background for the images. I also recommend capturing a couple of different poses and angles so you have plenty of options to work with in the end.
Make the process easily repeatable
When I was experimenting with different lighting configurations on my own, I decided on a very elaborate setup that involved multiple lights, a large reflector, and a full background. Then I remembered that we are a reapidly growing company, and I do not have the time to recreate this studio lighting setup every time we hire a new team member. So I simplified my setup to create a process that is easily repeatable, yet still achieves the quality, look and feel I was looking for. Funny enough, that’s where the title of this article came from. After I showed everyone my original idea they asked me how I did it. I explained all of the gear and setup involved. Someone said, “That’s a $5,000 selfie!”
Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression, and no one wants to work with a creative agency that doesn’t appear … creative. There’s an advantage to photographing people you already know. Since we are together 40+ hours a week, I knew how to work with everybody and what to say to draw out their natural expressions and personalities. It takes most people a few shots before they warm up to the camera. Stick with it and coach people through the process. Usually your last shot is your best.
I encourage you to revisit your current About Us page and decide if your team headshots put your best faces forward. If not, you’re bound to have someone on your team or know someone who is handy with a camera who can help you out. If not, don’t be afraid to hire a professional photographer, just be sure the process is repeatable as your company and staff grows.