Online staff profiles are an increasingly important part of professional business marketing. Head and shoulder business portraits were an infrequent occurrence traditionally shot for brochures or annual reports, as the shoot was invariably tied up with a publishing date. However since the recognition of online marketing, and business websites it particular, things have changed dramatically. Websites are information hungry requiring constant updating, not only to maintain relevance and interest to the visitor but essential for effective SEO, this development has lead to an exponential increase in demand for professional business portraits.
There are two main approaches to the business portrait, a head shot which is essentially a studio photograph, and an environmental portrait which places the subject in a contextual situation.
The typical location for a business headshot is a boardroom or large office where a temporary studio is set up with the subject photographed against a studio roll. The key to success in this genre is to ensure that each portrait on the client’s website, which may have been shot over a period of years, appears as if taken during the same session. It’s vital that the colour balance, crop and pose of each portrait are as close as possible from the first to the last. Environmental portraits also require the same attention to detail to maintain consistency, but with this more informal style of shooting the background changes with virtually every frame. Unlike a studio head shot when great attention is given to replicate of each portrait as exactly as possible, the background of each environmental portrait should look slightly different. Because of the informality of this style even minor variations helps to balance the gallery giving the feel of a candid photo journal project. Environmental pictures however still need to obey the same rules of continuity as the studio shots with regard to cropping and shooting style.
The joy of this kind of work is that it’s constantly looking forward. Commercial and corporate websites need constant updating but also periodic revision, often as part of a rebranding exercise. A fresh and engaging approach to the photography it contains is an important part of that process.