OK, so you need to get some head shots of your team for the Company website.
Is it important that the photos are all good quality; that they all look uniform and consistent in style; that they are pictures that the subject is happy to have on view to the whole world; that they convey the right message about the individual and that they fit in with the company’s image? Probably. What you definitely don’t want is a hotch potch of blurry pics with a selection of different backgrounds taken in a Benidorm bar or similar, where each subject has a pint of beer or a glass of wine in their hand or they are kissing the family pet while their significant other gurns over their shoulder.
What are you going to do? Employ a professional headshot photographer to make sure you get a selection of top quality, flattering images that the Company would be pleased to use to show what a great team they have? Or get Dave from accounts (who is a keen amateur and has a really nice camera) to do it? Maybe even have a bash at it yourself. I mean, you’ve got a camera on your phone, haven’t you?
Well, of course, the professional route is best; but maybe you don’t have the budget, so it’s down to you or Dave.
Well here’s some tips on how to get some shots that fit the bill.
Decide on the style of image you want and make sure all shots conform to that style. You may want head and shoulders only, or you may want a close cropped image of just the face, possibly even three quarter length. Do you want the subject looking at the camera or just past it? Will they all be colour or would you prefer black and white? Whatever you decide, just make sure they are all the same.
Choose a background and stick to it for all the shots. It could be a plain wall or it could be a specific background relevant to the Company. Either way, don’t switch between the two or throw in something different.
Make sure the lighting is consistent throughout your shoot. If you don’t have your own lights use a window as a main light from one side, sit your subject beside it and if possible get a big white card (or similar) to bounce a bit of light from the window back in to the subject from the other side. This will reduce the darkness of the shadows on that side and produce a more evenly lit result.
Never use on-camera flash!
It makes for really poor pictures. It flattens the face, causes deep shadows as well as shine on the cheeks and forehead, red-eye, flashback (if the subject is wearing glasses) and all sorts of other nasties that result in very unflattering pictures.
Make sure your subject doesn’t sit square on to the camera (unless you wish to achieve a style akin to a police mugshot). Have them sit with shoulders at about forty-five degrees to the camera facing either to the left or the right and then turn their face to the lens, but not necessarily full on. It depends on the individual.
Choose your weapon. Whether it’s a DSLR, a compact or a phone, whatever you do, make sure you use a longish lens. Do not use a wide angle! This means get a bit further away from your subject and zoom in. At default setting, the lens on a phone is wide angle, so beware! Shooting with a wide angle distorts the face and affects the proportions. Just look at your reflection in the back of a spoon and you will see what a wide angle shot does. It enlarges the nose, makes the cheeks bulge and pushes the other features back (picture left). This is, of course, an extreme example and a camera-phone lens is not that wide, but the effect is the same to varying degrees. Shooting from further away maintains the natural proportions of the face (Picture right). And it’s much less intrusive for the subject.
This final image was shot with a smartphone…
in an office with a white board for a background from ‘further away’…
with the subject’s shoulders at forty-five degrees to the camera…
using available light from a window on the left…
and a bounce fill from the right.
Follow these tips and you should get some good shots that your subjects will be happy with and which will work well for your company.
And if you’re not confident that you can achieve the desired results, don’t forget, you can always call a pro!