If you’ve been tasked with organising staff headshots for your company, you might feel like you are facing a mammoth task! In addition to finding a reliable professional headshot photographer, you also need to think about where and when the headshots will be taken, what style they should be taken in and making sure they’re processed and ready to use for when you need them. In this article, we run over some of our top tips for organising staff headshots for your company.
Find your photographer
Choosing the right photographer for your company headshots is the most crucial part of the process. Make sure that the photographer you work with is comfortable with the style that you are looking for, but also is experienced in shooting large amounts of people consistently. One of the most challenging parts of shooting staff headshots for large companies is keeping everything consistent- both when shooting and when it comes to the post production phase. There will be a lot of images to handle, and a good workflow is essential to making sure your project goes smoothly. This is even more important if your shoot is going to be split over multiple days/locations as the photographer will need to be able to set everything up exactly the same each time. You will also want to make sure that the photographer is carefully backing everything up through the shoot.
Scheduling the dates
If you are planning staff headshots for a smaller team, this is quite straightforward. The challenge here comes with larger companies, with hundreds of staff. We always approach larger projects the same way- scheduling the headshot sessions across multiple dates gives you the best chance of making sure no one is missed out due to being on leave or off sick. Many offices tend to have busier days. Often, hybrid staff tend to work from home on Mondays and Fridays, so we will often avoid these days.
“Many offices tend to have busier days. Often, hybrid staff tend to work from home on Mondays and Fridays, so we will often avoid these days.“
Choosing a style
The first consideration here is if there is any existing guidelines for company headshots. Many international companies will have a style that is used across all of their locations. The style of your photography should reflect your brand. Many photographers will have ‘their own’ style. Very experienced photographers will be able to shoot any style (see our portfolio for an idea of what this looks like!). Something to also consider when deciding on your style is how easily replicated this will be for any future reshoots. We always recommend shooting indoors, against a studio backdrop as this is the most future-proof approach.
Set aside some space
How much space you need to allow for your company headshots will depend partially on the style you are going for. Generally speaking, a 3×4 meeting room is fine for most headshot styles. If you want more ‘portrait’ style shots, allow a bit more room. The most important thing when planning where to take your headshots is to make sure it is private. When our photographer, James, is shooting, he pretty much insists it’s just him and the person he is photographing in the room. The main reason for this is that many people will be quite nervous about having their photograph taken, and if their mates are in the room heckling them it can make matters a whole lot worse! No one likes an audience when they’re having their headshot taken. Most company headshot sessions that we shoot are done in boardrooms/meeting rooms that have been pre-booked out for he days the sessions are happening.
“Generally speaking, a 3×4 meeting room is fine for most headshot styles. If you want more ‘portrait’ style shots, allow a bit more room.“
Communicate to employees
Now that you’ve found your photographer, scheduled in the dates and booked out the meeting room where the shots are going to be taken, you need to spread the word. We recommend letting employees know about the headshot sessions at least two weeks in advance. Some of your staff will want to have their haircut before the session, so allow them time to book this in. It is worth including any guidance around what you’d like them to wear too- ‘business appropriate clothing’ is the general guidance, but of course this changes from business to business.
Post processing and turnaround time
Once you’ve had your images captured, they will of course need processing and organising. This phase of the project is by far the most difficult, and where inexperienced photographers may struggle to deliver on larger projects. It’s best to speak to your photographer prior to the project commencing what you are expecting, and how quickly. Generally speaking, we include one retouched image of each person for larger teams, plus all of the RAW (unedited) images in case anyone wants to choose another. RAWs are usually delivered to the client the day after the final day of shooting, and the retouches a few days after that.
“We include one retouched image of each person for larger teams, plus all of the RAW (unedited) images in case anyone wants to choose another.“
Mop up sessions
With the best will in the world, if you are shooting staff headshots for a large company, you are most likely going to miss a few people. For large businesses, we would expect a hit rate of over 95% but this can vary from business to business. Careful planning and good comms with employees in the run up to the shoots is key to making sure you capture most of your staff. It is worth considering planning in a mop up session a couple of weeks after your shoot to get headshots of anyone that has been missed. Some businesses also have regular recruitment runs, in which case mop up sessions can be scheduled around these. You may also miss a few people due to them being remote- in this instance we have a virtual headshot service which is ideal for capturing on brand headshots of those that can’t come in to one of the session days.
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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER: James Kenny
Photographer & Founder of Headshot company
James is a multi award-winning photographer who has been commissioned to work in more than fifty countries since he started freelancing in 2001.
His client list includes some major names, such as Mercedes Benz, Audi, BBC, NHS, Tesco, Shell, Kier, Bovis Homes, Barclays, Nationwide, Etihad, Emirates and Gulf Air.
In 2016 James set up Headshot Company with a view to providing high quality commercial level portraits and headshots to smaller companies and actors.
James lives in Thrapston, Northamptonshire, with his wife, two sons and cockapoo.