While several poses and lighting styles can be achieved in your professional business headshots (aka business portraits, corporate headshots, executive headshots, etc), your headshots (in my opinion) can be reduced to two basic types: in-studio and on location. The former is great for simple photos with a fairly consistent and traditional look. Sometimes, however, in-studio executive portraits don’t fully communicate your unique ambiance, personality and degree of professionalism.
Location shoots can be much more dynamic and engaging. They can incorporate one’s workplace environment, a specific skillset or a unique interest. While I have photographed business headshots in several locations around the upstate region and the US, one of my more memorable ones was for a credit merchant who was also an avid outdoorsman. When asked if I could shoot his business portrait in Jones Gap State Park, I eagerly replied, “Absolutely! What time?”.
When conducted properly, professional business headshots done on location can sometimes be more sophisticated than studio headshots. Bear in mind that your photographer may be working against an ever changing position, intensity and quality of light (the Sun). Additional conditions such as passersby, obstructions, varying weather and other casual elements may be present during the shoot (not to worry, an adroit professional photographer is well accustomed to these occurrences and always works around them in a seamless manner). Finally, out in the field, the photographer should be using reflectors, strobes, scrims, umbrellas and other implements to compensate for and / or enhance the ambient light. Whether shot in the studio or in the field, the rules of compelling business portraiture do not changed. Engaging professional business headshots will still incorporate precise lighting ratios, nice shadow transitions, properly placed catchlights, appropriate poses, etc. In the field, the photographer is essentially creating a makeshift studio, under heavy time constraints while simultaneously while delivering outstanding and professional customer service…these are the elements that draw me to the business portrait profession.
In addition to the dynamic nature of a unique background and amazing lighting conditions, another advantage of professional business headshots photographed on location is that they serves as an icebreaker and can more accurately reflect your personal branding. By virtue of using an authentic environment your executive portrait can subconsciously communicate your interests, hobbies, expertise and establish common ground between you and your client. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where one or both of you are scrambling for smalltalk? A current business headshot that expresses your unique personality opens a doorway to maintaining conversation flow at networking forums and other professional events. Who knows, your prospective client may have the same interests as you.