Let’s face it, we all judge a book by its cover. There’s no aspect of our lives where we aren’t affected by aesthetics and they’re everything in the hospitality industry. I talk about how essential quality photos are of your facilities all the time, but today we need to talk about another aspect people are often more willing to neglect: business portraits. 

Headshots are your team’s professional photos that represent them anywhere online and off. You will likely use them on your about page, team pages, and in printed materials. If those headshots are awkward or even downright bad, people will be turned off from working with, staying at, or visiting your business. 

Okay – so you understand now that they’re important, but I can hear you thinking, “but do I really need a professional photographer to take them?” Yes, you do – here’s why and how you can ensure your team’s headshots are the best they can be. 

Business Portrait

Business Portrait

8 Reasons Why You Should Have a Professional Photographer Take Business Headshots 

  • Avoid Awkwardness 

Many businesses nominate one staff member with a good camera to take all the photos for the staff, but this often results in the photo looking awkward. The subject either looks uncomfortable (often because said nominated staff member has cornered them as they’re going about their workday), the angle isn’t right, the lighting is off, or some combination of all of the above. Don’t forget that we are turned off by things that don’t feel quite right, even if we can’t put our finger on it. This gut feeling can be the difference between a booking and them going with your competitor.  

 

  • It’s Not About the Camera 

Hand a professional photographer and a layperson an iPhone and you’ll get two completely different results. The professional photographer will have somehow created magic through the lens, while the other person just has a (probably) nice photo. The camera is the tool, but the photographer is the one with the experience and skill to ensure the results are as good as they can be. Don’t expect that just because one of your staff members has a DSLR that the results will be as good as if a professional photographer had taken them. 

 

  • Lighting isn’t Everything 

If you’ve ever tried to take a good selfie, you’ll know that you need to stand in front of a window to get it. There’s nothing better than natural light. That said, natural light alone will not always ensure headshots look their best – again, you’ll know this if you’ve tried to take a good picture of yourself and ended up still standing smiling in front of the window ten minutes later, with little to show for your efforts. Good lighting is essential, but it’s not the only element you need for success. 

 

  • Your Headshots Need to Accurately Represent You

Professional photographers understand all the elements necessary to get a good shot and accurately represent you in your professional capacity. They also need to represent the role someone plays in your business. For example, front-of-house staff photos should represent them at their best when they’re interacting with customers, smiling and looking relaxed and approachable. 

Business Portrait

Business Portrait

  • Professional Photographers Can Make Corrections 

People primarily look at smiles when they see a photo of someone, but a common amateur error is using the default colour balance settings in the camera. This often causes teeth to appear more yellow than they are in real life. A professional photographer will alter the colour balance to ensure colours are represented accurately while being most complimentary to the person being photographed. 

Another important element to consider here is that a professional photographer will have the skills to correct any other aspects of a photo that a subject may find damaging to their confidence. For example, if they have recently given up smoking and plan to get their teeth whitened, a photographer can whiten their teeth in their photo so it is more complimentary. Or, perhaps someone has had a breakout and would prefer skin blemishes to be removed – a professional can quickly and easily do this for them in post production. 

 

  • Avoid the Haunted-House Look 

The wrong lighting, the wrong colour balance, and the wrong angle can all contribute to a haunted-house effect and some very disgruntled staff members. It’s common to see eyes cast in shadow so the eyes themselves are almost hidden from the camera, or so that any shadows beneath the eyes are emphasised. The wrong angle, colour balance, or colour of lights used can also wash out any skin tone and give it a greyish hue, which often gives people an unhealthy look to their skin. 

A professional photographer will avoid all these mistakes and ensure all your staff members look happy, healthy, and energised. 

 

  • Ensure All Backgrounds are Correct 

The background you choose for your headshots matter. Not only can the wrong background change the way your subject’s colouring is perceived, but it also makes a difference to your overall branding. How often have you seen team headshots that have obviously been taken in all different places or at different times. 

When this is the case, it makes it obvious that someone went around with a camera pouncing on whichever team members they came across, or were taken on the subject’s first day. Regardless, the results rarely look professional. 

portrait variations

portrait variations

  • They’ll Make Sure Your Team Actually Like the Photos 

Some of us hate being in front of the camera, but there are some circumstances where it’s unavoidable. The last thing you want to do is ask them to do something they don’t want to do and present them with results they hate! Being shot at the wrong angle, feeling taken by surprise, feeling tense and anxious, being asked to pose in an unnatural way, and getting the lighting wrong are just some of the reasons why subjects so often hate pictures of them. It’s going to be difficult to use pictures of your team in marketing materials if your team is actively trying to hide them! A professional photographer won’t just make sure the photos are high quality, they’ll also make sure your subjects feel relaxed and are as happy as possible with the results. 

 

What To Do To Nail The Shot With The Photographer 

Now we know why you need to work with a professional photographer, here’s what you can do to ensure you get the best results possible: 

  • Consult and communicate with them before the shoot: Make sure you discuss your goals and aims with them before the shoot and discuss where you want to take the photos. It may be that you’ve already decided on a perfect backdrop, but if it’s a physical location rather than a colour, make sure you talk to your photographer to ensure it’s suitable (or what can be done to make it so). 
  • Find a suitable location: While we’re on the topic of location, you still need to consider the best location, even if you’re going to be using an artificial background. (Your photographer will provide one in almost all cases, so if you want a specific colour make sure you discuss this ahead of time.) Try to find a quiet, well-lit spot that won’t have constant foot traffic from other staff members or guests. There’s nothing worse for someone who hates being in front of the camera than also having an audience. 
  • Create a moodboard: A visual moodboard is a great way to share your vision with the photographer and also your staff members, particularly if you’re getting headshots of staff members who aren’t required to wear a uniform. 
  • Give your team plenty of notice: Make sure getting headshots taken isn’t a surprise for your staff. Give them an agenda ahead of time, make sure they have time for primping before their time slot (especially if they’re taking place late in the workday), and give them any guidelines necessary to keep everything on-brand (such as colours you want them to avoid wearing, etc).
environmental portrait

Environmental Portrait shot

Why are professional headshots useful to your team? 

Professional headshots aren’t just beneficial for your branding, so consider sharing the images with team members after the fact so they can make use of them, too. They can use them on LinkedIn and other professional networks to put their best-foot forward (particularly important if B2B is a big part of your business), they help make a fast positive impression, help develop a strong personal brand, and unite personal brand with their workplace branding. 

By now, you should see why your business headshots should not simply be taken by the staff member in your team with a fancy camera – a lot more goes into producing stand-out headshots that help you win business. If you know that new professional headshots need to be on your 2022 to-do list, I’m here to help. Together, we can ensure your headshots are loved by you, your team, and attract your ideal customers. Click here to contact me today.