Neuroscientists have determined that customers viewing a website will spend more time on a page with portraits of the leadership team than without it. A headshot designed for the about us page and all the social media channels associated with your company signals how you and your team conduct business. Forbes reports that 82% of consumers will trust you more and 77% are more likely to buy from your company when you are found via social media and headshots.
The following are four critical factors in choosing the style, look, and feel of your branding headshot.
When you read the usual rhetoric found online, you’ll notice others say to dress professionally, smile, don’t wear items with a lot of noise and avoid white, which contradicts 90% of the professional recommendations for personal brands. Let me introduce you to Peter Marino, who runs an international architectural firm in New York and designed the Armani headquarters in New York, as well as the Chanel Ginza building in Tokyo amongst other notable accomplishments. Marino is sought after by anyone wanting a highly creative and internationally acclaimed architect, despite dressing like a band member of the village people; highly contradictory to common advice.
While Peter Marino dresses in a way that would have security at any five-star resort and follow him around, he carries what matters for a solid personal brand: Marino is authentic, quirky, professional, and excels in his field.
Let your headshot photographer capture the essence of your staff, and the audience will see a difference in your portraits. You will have images that express the branding essence of your team, while the competition will have the usual vacant smiley photos.
Nothing draws more attention to your site over a competitor’s site than humor or contrived imagery. One of my clients has all their employees photographed for their individuality and personality, while the CEO/founder is dressed like an air force captain with a jet behind him. This air force captain photo was shown on his website and social media profile, helping him stand out amongst the staff. Furthermore, he rewards new managers every year by giving away a Harley Davidson during their AGM, which is certainly unusual.
While Peter Marino’s headshots dressed head to toe in leather might not vibe with the average person, you can’t deny that he was meticulous and purposeful in choosing a great photographer, lighting and any other detail associated with the imagery. We know by the image quality that he is a professional which means that corporations like Gucci, Chanel, Luis Vuitton, and Bulgari feel comfortable entrusting Marino with millions of dollars to portray their professional brand, knowing Marino will deliver on time and as promised.
How do you project that your team excels in your area, that you are the A-team, and your competition is the B team? One of our clients allowed my group of photographers to capture portraits of all members in our illuminating style, like psychologists aiming at revealing the individual greatness of their highly sought-after lawyers.
We’ve written a highly detailed article outlining the best steps to picking the right professional photographer for you. The answer is easy: choose a photographer that is authentic, quirky, professional, and excels in the Art of Headshots style of photography.
At Art of Headshots, we offer free meetings and discussions about the type of brand you’re trying to convey in your headshots. Whether you choose one of our competitors or us, we strongly recommend inviting your photographer to participate in the debate.
We’ve had to remedy the branding choices made by advertising agencies on numerous occasions because the agencies were great at selling services but lacked a lot of knowledge regarding headshots. Here are a couple of examples of marketing agency mistakes that I have encountered:
We were commissioned to capture professional headshots for 200 insurance representatives using 3 sample images chosen from magazines of 15-year old models. I had to photograph everyone with arms crossed and standing against a wall. In one case, a representative couldn’t physically cross her arms. Another person cried in embarrassment of their headshots and refused to show the client the company’s website. Fortunately, the company’s CEO invited me to an emergency meeting to reconsider the restrictions made by an advertising agency that didn’t know anything about branding headshots.
A law firm fired us because another advertising firm convinced their lawyers to have a specific look: the marketing firm wanted the lawyers to look menacing and added imagery during post processing to enhance the threatening look. The professional lawyer embarrassedly refused to share the website, and the law firm lost revenue.
Dragon Den’s Jim Treliving has had hundreds of portraits of himself looking like a menacing wall street thug because the television production company wanted to force this theatrical style. When I photographed him a few years ago, his daughter and wife thanked me for capturing his genuine essence. He is a critical thinker with the highest standard of integrity and can sway from compassion to making tough decisions if necessary. Very different than what CBC was portraying of him.
The best way to avoid embarrassment or lost revenue due to employees refusing to share your company’s website is to invite your photographer to help you decide what, where, and how to photograph your greatest assets (the people building your enterprise).
I will be subjective and share my current opinion on this topic in this area. Headshot styles do change, so a few years ago, my opinion was different than now when I started my photography career, my opinion was different from a few years ago.
Normally we would inform our readers of all the choices (backdrop colours, indoors, outdoors etc.) but after photographing hundreds of corporations, I will share the most versatile style of backdrop.
My favourite backdrop is a professionally taken image of an authentic space in your building or area, or else a branding design / anything that is uniquely representative of your company and doesn’t compete with the subject.
We can achieve this backdrop on site with your employees however, we instead prefer to photograph your staff on a white backdrop using our distinct process to capture the raw personality of your staff. Next, we clip the image (remove the background) and add the previously photographed backdrop into the headshots during post processing. In the ideal scenario, I like to give clients’ employees four backdrop options to choose from. You may think this makes your company headshots purposefully disjointed, however it conveys the varied methods of thinking and skills your employees bring to the table making you more attractive to your prospective clients.