How to make a great impression with your business portrait photo.

June 15th, 2016

Richard Gill

When we talk about business portraits, you probably think of something like this…


But how much does this tell you about the person or the organisation they work for? After all, shouldn’t every picture tell a story?

These kind of shots are taken with a medium telephoto (something around 85-105mm) and usually some studio lights to ensure a sharp and well lit image. The longer lens helps put room between the subject and the photographer. It also helps eliminate unflattering facial distortion you would get if you use a wide angle lens, and the compression that a long telephoto would give. A search on Google will produce lots of articles on the technical set-up you need for this kind of photography. And you kind find a bunch of portrait and studio photographers who are very good at it.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are valid reasons for taking photos like this.  In the corporate world, they show consistency and are designed to present staff or team unity across the entire organisation.

However, many smaller companies copy this format as they think that is what a business portrait should be.  It’s a safe formula to follow but is there a better approach?

If you would like to show something more ‘individual’ in your portrait photos, ask some key questions before they are taken.  For example:

  • What do you want the photo to say about you?
  • What do you want it to say about your business / profession?
  • Where are you going to use this photo?
  • Is there a location or backdrop that reflects or has a strong connection to your business?

Next, take a look at some portraits shown in the popular press or magazines and in journals about your industry to find ones that you like.  Some of the best portraits shots are of celebrities or politicians.  They will have been taken by very experienced photographers who know their craft and how to get the best out of their subject, working with subjects that are comfortable in front of the camera too.

But you will also notice that the photo is more than just a picture of the person – it will ‘say’ something about what they do and what kind of person they are.  The environment the photo is taken in will be significant to the overall meaning of the shot. When you look at these photos, you can feel a connection to the subject, as if the photographer has captured a particular ‘moment’.  Here are some great examples

The main point that makes these photos successful is the connection between the photographer and the subject.  The photographer has taken the time to get to know the person.

A lot of people hate having their photo taken, especially for a business portrait.  They feel uncomfortable and have already decided that it is not going to look very good.  They try to rush through the process to get through the ordeal as quick as possible. And of course the results match their expectations.

If you want a an approach that you are going to be happier with and that says more about you and your business, then the first thing to do is think about and answer the questions above.  This will help you to be better prepared for the photo shoot.

Secondly, share copies of portraits you like and book a photographer you feel you would be comfortable with.  Perhaps you could use Pinterest to create a mood board and share it with your photographer so that they get a clearer understanding of how you want to be portrayed.

Don’t think about the shoot as getting your photo to taken – think about it as a meeting a new friend for a coffee or a chat.  Allocate yourself a bit of time, it doesn’t have to be too long 20-30 mins will be enough to put you more at ease.

When you work with me, before I even pick up may camera, I’d like to know more about you first and what you want to achieve.  This will help you to relax and we get a good set of photos that tell your audience exactly what you want to say.

If you need a new business portrait or have been too frightened to do anything about it until now, then give me a call on 07557 780336 or send me an email –  Read More