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HOW TO ORGANISE A CORPORATE PHOTOSHOOT

Corporate Photoshoot Heashots

Is the new graduate intake coming on board, or the organisation having a fundamental re-brand? There’s no need to feel daunted if you haven’t organised a corporate photoshoot before: we’ll help to make things clear.

A Corporate Photoshoot can be as simple as internal headshots for staff or as complex as a public relations shoot for directors. Whatever the purpose, images from your corporate photoshoot are likely to be used for marketing purposes.

Before you start you’ll need to know what questions to ask internally and how to identify corporate photographers who can deliver to your exacting specifications.

We’ll take you through the process from “organise some new headshots” to “wow”, help you identify the stakeholders in your organisation and their priorities so that you understand what your corporate photoshoot must deliver. And then help you put a brief together, that will get competitive bids from qualified photographers. We’ll give you tricks to manage a successful shoot.

Corporate Photoshoot, Young Businesswoman, Headshot

Understand what your corporate photoshoot should deliver.

Before you start discussions with a business photographer, make sure you understand both the company’s purpose in commissioning the photoshoot, and the platforms on which the images will be used.

One of the most common reasons for a corporate photoshoot is that new staff coming on board need headshots and related website and ID images. The style and message of the new photos needs to be consistent with the existing imagery, presenting a unified look across all platforms for clients, customers and the media. Do you have a professional photography guidelines document that you can send to potential photographers? If you need to maintain consistency, you should be able to send example images.

Or perhaps your CEO has realised their portraits and PR shots look a bit out-of-date, or that the company’s branding and message are evolving and the business imagery, from website headshots to PR, needs to evolve too.

If this is the case you need to identify photographers who  work with you, your marketing team and agencies to create images that reflect your brand.

London Headshot for Property Entrepreneur - Corporate Photoshoot

Make sure all stakeholders understand their role.

Everyone involved in a corporate photoshoot has a specific role in the process, but also specific concerns and anxieties. If you address these, and make sure they know where they fit in and what to expect, you’re much more likely to have a happy as well as a successful shoot.

It’s time to start asking questions….

It’s their Corporate Photoshoot: so ask the Boss!

What does the business’ leadership want to get out of the organisation’s corporate photoshoot? Is the board looking to change or evolve  branding and message? Knowing what the organisation is looking for will help you identify photographers that can deliver to the brief.

Having a qualified photographer on site may enable strategic ambitions or PR objectives to be achieved. Finally, many staff either work from home or have a blended office/home work routine. Are there practical issues of staffing and timing which need to be taken into acconut?

If the original reason for the shoot is headshots of the new intake, would this be a good moment to renew team photos, to make them feel welcomed and included? Similarly, if the boss themselves needs new portraiture, what do they have in mind and how can that be efficiently combined with the rest of the shoot?

Directors with customer facing roles often need imagery for conferences, articles and Investor Communications. Simple headshots may not deliver the complex messages needed, so does your corporate photoshoot need to deliver a small library of directors’ PR images?

Asking these questions and building them into the brief, is the key to working effectively with your business photographer.

Corporate Photoshoot - Low Key and Dark Background

Corporate Photoshoots are often organised by the HR Department.

Get HR involved early, and not just to make sure the logistics of your corporate photoshoot itself work smoothly. Where are the photographs to be used? New staff may need ID cards, email signature blocks, headshots on the company intranet, and on “our people” sections of the website. All of these have different technical requirements, and the PR portfolio and recruitment pages have different needs again.

There is also the psychological side. Lively and up-to-date team photos and environmental shots can help to cement everyone’s commitment, while PR and website images are aimed externally, but they can also reflect positive, forward-looking images back to the staff themselves.

The Marketing Department will use these images: what do they need to get from a corporate photoshoot?

Photos for recruitment, PR and advertising and the company website all need subtly different approaches. You also need to make sure you are clear about the company culture and brand that the imagery should project.

Should the company headshots be reassuringly businesslike, with immaculate office wear and styling, and traditional studio backgrounds and lighting? Or would a more relaxed, individual style of dress and makeup embody the company culture better? An experienced photographer working in a studio will still be able to capture that London headshot look, with natural-light effects, a social media style and a capital-city vibe.

The staff will have their own ideas about the corporate photoshoot – so get them involved!

Experienced staff will have had good and bad experiences of the corporate photoshoot day. And they can add some useful insights. However, you are organising the day, so evaluate the input but take control.

You want the staff to know what’s expected of them, including dates, times and places, clothing and hair, but you also want them to feel comfortable. Some will have awful memories of school photo days, while others are self-conscious or convinced they’re not photogenic.

Reassure staff that this company photoshoot will be very different, and that makeup, styling and retouching are not about erasing their personalities but helping them to appear as their best selves. When staff approach a shoot feeling positive, not only do things go more smoothly, the resulting images will boost individual and company confidence.

Inevitably, some staff may working from home on the day of the shoot, others may be called away at short notice – and some have not even joined the company yet! Experienced, professional business photographers will be able to recreate the same style and lighting later in the studio, using green-screen techniques to make even the backgrounds consistent.

Build a shortlist of photographers

First, explore the websites. Are they a Corporate Photoshoot specialist or are they a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ offering family portraits, actors headshots, weddings and babies? Successful photographers tend to specialise. A photographer offering a wide range of services often indicates a photographer who’s desperate for business.

Corporate photography is a specialist genre. The final images will be used as marketing materials. So select photographers that understand advertising and have marketing experience and who regularly work with agencies. Does their gallery show styles which would be appropriate for your company? Are they based nearby, with a well-equipped studio, as well as the capacity and equipment to shoot effectively on location?

Do they get good feedback?

When you have a shortlist, you need to get on the phone, because setting up a successful business photoshoot is all about collaboration, and you need to be sure you and the photographer can communicate effectively.

What to ask your business photographer.

A friendly, experienced photographer will ask the right questions: they need to understand who is involved, what the purpose and uses of the images will be, and the brand, corporate culture and messaging the images must project.

Based on this discussion they will create mood boards and shot lists for your corporate photoshoot that are based on your needs.

This is vital documentation: it is part of the contract and makes sure you get what you asked for.

It also provides excellent reference documentation, so that future shoots provide consistent imagery.

“Our place or yours?”

For smaller or virtual teams, a corporate photoshoot based in a well-equipped studio will be better value and more flexible: check that the studio has dedicated changing and makeup areas, and a quiet space for anyone who needs to work.

A pop-up studio in your offices can be more efficient for larger teams, provided the photographer has good portable equipment, and has the skills to match lighting and styling with later, studio-based shoots.

Does your corporate photoshoot need hair and make up?

Your directors would not dream of going on Sky News without ensuring their grooming is perfect. Your corporate photoshoot will be producing images that arguably have a longer marketing life than a 10 minute interview. A make up artist will not only ensure your grooming is perfect, they give staff a confidence boost and that confidence shines through the eyes.

An experienced business photographer will have a roster of makeup artists, hair-stylists and even fashion stylists, to call upon. Not only will they ensure that all your staff are confident and perfectly groomed on the day, they will help to create that crucial consistency and branding across the company’s imagery, while reassuring staff that they will look their very best.

Corporate Photoshoot - Documentary Public Relations Images
Corporate Photoshoot - Public Relations

What about post-shoot retouching and archiving to protect your corporate photoshoot?

Your photographer should use skillful, professional retouchers, who will tidy up small blemishes and return beautifully groomed, natural, individual portraits which project your company’s vitality. Images that are retouched by AI programs invariably lose the portraits’ individuality, making them bland unreal-looking and inauthentic.

Finally, you need to be sure that your precious company imagery is securely stored and easily retrieved. A professional photography business will have robust storage and back-up systems and protocols; they will be able to drop in new backgrounds and looks so new images match the look and feel of previous shoots, and meet changing company goals.

10 minute interview. A make up artist will not only ensure your grooming is perfect, they give staff a confidence boost and that confidence shines through the eyes.

An experienced business photographer will have a roster of makeup artists, hair-stylists and even fashion stylists, to call upon. Not only will they ensure that all your staff are confident and perfectly groomed on the day, they will help to create that crucial consistency and branding across the company’s imagery, while reassuring staff that they will look their very best.

On the day of the Corporate Photoshoot

When you and the photographer agree the brief, they should have explained how they plan to work, and given you easy-to-follow guides for those involved. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s anything you don’t feel confident about. On Corporate Photoshoot day everything should then go smoothly, so that everyone enjoys the experience and is pleased with the results.