Corporate Headshots Are Definitely a Form of Branding

By Dahlia Lilleslatten, Communications Assistant

Hear me out: your company’s headshots matter. They play a major role in how future clients and prospective employees interact with your business. As human beings, we are naturally drawn towards contact and making meaningful connections. A website featuring photos of your team provides a window into your organization and the personalities of the people who ‘make the magic happen.’ It also shows that your team is more than just names on a page—you are a talented group of professionals who look nice to work with.

More than just that though, it’s a chance for you to take ownership of your company’s image. Professionally-taken headshots are a vital component to your online brand—here are some tips.

Standardization

It’s important to shoot for standardization. We live in a new digital reality where someone’s first impression of your business is likely happening as they poke around your website and LinkedIn page while you’re on a Zoom call with them. Something as seemingly insignificant as a headshot could be the deciding factor of whether or not you book your next client, secure a major partnership, or land the coveted deal you have been working hard to close. People want to work with teams who are trustworthy, convey reliability, and pay attention to the nitty-gritty details. A lack of standardization feels cheap—that’s what happens when each team member supplies their own photo complete with different crops, poses, color profiles, etc. We’ve all seen these sites: one photo looks like a drivers license, the next is a selfie, and another is an image from a wedding with a wedding date clearly cropped out.

It is also important to make sure your headshots are up to date. As much as you love those professional shots of the team from the early 2000s, you run the risk of ‘catfishing’ your future work connections.

Tone

Another important consideration is to match your photos to your brand—a headshot for a law firm is inevitably going to differ in tone than one for a Gen Z tech startup. We love it when images are candid and informal, yet professional. This helps convey that your leadership is approachable and friendly, but that you take a lot of pride in your work. For attire, a good rule of thumb is to dress how you would to meet a new client (your Zoom pajamas and button-down shirt combo won’t cut it). 😉

Composition

While subjective and contingent upon your website’s branding, many companies aim for images in full color. Black-and-white filters are always a good alternative if you need to homogenize photos taken by different photographers in different locations. It’s tough to coordinate, we get it.

Many organizations take advantage of natural lighting and local backdrops, choosing to shoot their team outdoors either with the same background or with backgrounds that all share a similar theme and color profile. Unfortunately, this isn’t always scalable as you add new members to the team. One helpful tip to overcome this challenge is to photograph subjects on an evenly lit, neutral background. That way, when someone new gets hired it’s a lot easier to replicate a neutral background that can be manipulated rather than trying to replicate the original photo shoot.

With regards to the crop, our preference is to frame subjects from the abdomen up with shoulders and arms visible within the frame, maintaining distance between the subject’s head and the top of the frame. We’ve definitely seen sites creatively execute full-body shots, but those oftentimes don’t translate well to other formats like LinkedIn profile photos which are restricted in size and dimensions.

Pose

We like to shoot subjects standing, facing the camera, and posed as they see fit. This can mean arms at sides, arms folded, hands clasped in some manner — whatever is comfortable and natural for the subject. (No one will judge you if you need to practice a few times in your bathroom mirror).

We also prefer subjects looking directly at, or up and past, the camera. This has a more personal and approachable feel than looking sideways or away from the camera.

We like our subjects smiling candidly/warmly—no forced or exaggerated smiling. If you’re not a “smile person” or would like to strike a more serious tone with your headshots, then definitely don’t pose in a way that feels unnatural. And if it fits your brand, get goofy!

Also feel free to include props if that aligns with your brand. It’s a fun way to lighten the atmosphere of the photoshoot itself and adds unexpected elements of personality and approachability to the resulting headshots.

I hope this helps! And if you’re interested, check out some additional pointers for the kind of imagery to use (and avoid) on your site.

About north street

We engineer the thoughtful transformation of great organizations. Our proven process helps us understand what your competitors are doing right — and wrong. Want to learn more? Let’s chat.

More Notes

We’re Hiring: Web Designer

We’re Hiring: Business Development Representative

Use your website to broadcast your culture