What Do You Want Your Visual Story to Say About You?

You’ve decided to invest in a new business headshot. Congratulations!

You’ve done your research, chosen the right photographer and read how to put your best foot forward. And assuming your photographer specializes in headshots and business branding photography, they’ll know what questions to ask you to ensure they create images that truly represent you and your brand. They may offer a pre-session preparation meeting–by phone or in-person the day of the session–to get to know you and your needs before the session starts. 

To make sure you get the most from your photo session, here’s a handy guide on the things you’ll want to cover with your photographer first to help it go as smoothly as possible and deliver the best results.

Share Your Story

Start by introducing yourself. Talk about what you do for a living and provide a brief overview of your role and business. Perhaps hobbies you enjoy. If you’ve had a business portrait or headshot made before, share your experience. What did you like about the photo? What did you like about the overall experience? What would you change if you could? These insights offer valuable context for your photographer.

Define Your Image

Discuss how you want to be portrayed in your photos. Do you aim to come across as approachable, confident, powerful, creative, supportive? What about your target audience–who will be viewing these photos? 

My client in the photograph above was making a mid-life career change. We got some fabulous shots where he looked powerful and dominate; suitable for a CEO of a large corporation. However, his new career was as a social worker. When I asked him how he would sit and look if he were counselling me, I was able to capture the appropriate images for his branding photos.

Decide on the Look

Consider the style of photos you want. Do you prefer a formal corporate look, a more casual vibe, or something lifestyle-oriented that showcases your personality and environment? Share any specific ideas you have in mind and discuss possible locations or backgrounds. If you have any props in mind, mention that as well. Standard headshot backdrop colours are  white, black, and grey. Decide if you have a preference or would like more than one backdrop colour in different photos. 

It helps to look at other headshots and branding photos to stimulate your imagination and get an idea of what you like; or don’t like. If you find some online, send them to your photographer. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Define Your Visual Identity

Your personal and company brand is essential to your reputation. What are three words that people would often use to describe you? How would you define yourself? How do you want to be seen by the viewer? What about your company’s brand personality–is it professional, casual, technical, friendly, innovative, creative? Provide specific colours, themes, or visual elements integral to your brand identity. You may want to use a colour other than those mentioned above for your backdrop. If your company has brand guidelines, share them with your photographer well before the session. 

Select the Location

Discuss where you want the photo session to take place. Most headshots are done in a studio but if you want branding photos, would you prefer an environmental portrait in your office, or an outdoor location that would help support your brand image? (Depending on the location you choose, permits or permission may be required.) If you have particular backgrounds or settings in mind, you should mention them well in advance of the photo session.

Deliverables and Usage

Clarify the deliverables you expect from the photographer. Do you need high-resolution digital images, prints, or both? Determine the number of final photos you’d like and discuss the selection process. Where do you plan to use these photos? Whether it’s your website, social media, or business cards, sharing this information helps your photographer tailor the images to suit their intended purpose.

Consider the orientation(s) you prefer–portrait, landscape, square, or a mix of all. If you plan to add text to any photos, say for a magazine advertisement, let your photographer know so they can leave suitable space. Discuss any specific requirements regarding image formats, sizes, or file naming conventions.

Set the Schedule

Establish a timeline for the photo session. When is the ideal date and time for you? Are there any specific deadlines or events for which you need the photos? Providing this information before hand can avoid undo pressure or disappointment.

Final Thoughts: Share Your Unique Vision

Is there anything else you’d like to share? Any quirky ideas, personal preferences, or unique concepts you have in mind? Your photographer is there to bring your vision to life, so don’t hesitate to share any additional information that can help them understand your needs and preferences better.

Open communication is the key to a successful business branding or headshot session. By discussing these aspects thoroughly with your photographer beforehand you’ll be establishing a collaborative and creative team and setting yourself up for the best outcome.

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