I recently did some headshots for the CFA Ireland society for a new book that they are launching. Their brief, ‘a simple headshot as well as a more profile style photo’, is a brief that we get all the time. I always recommend taking a more experiential approach to this type of session with a view to conveying the culture of the company and the people who work there.
To move a session towards a more experiential style takes a bit of time. Everyone who comes in for a sitting is usually a little nervous and their body language can be quite closed.
The first step to getting past this is to make a personal connection and get a conversation going before even thinking about bringing a camera into the equation. I really like to think of a headshot session as a conversation during which we take some photos
I keep the initial set of headshots very simple and focus on getting a warm, positive but professional expression from the subject. I really want to capture something of their personality and make them look like someone you’d enjoying doing business with. I also really like to use natural backgrounds compressed by a long lens and softened by a wide aperture.
After shooting some simple headshots, people are usually a lot happier to try something a little more experiential in style. I’ll usually setup a meeting or interaction and let it develop with small amounts of direction. After some initial awkwardness people relax into this part of the session and I can really start to capture something more about the culture and values of a company or organisation through the interactions of those who work or are associated with it. This part of the session really benefits from being expanded out into the work environment
I always recommend allowing some time for me to capture the work place in action.