After dedicating time, resources and energy into message building, brand development, logo design and general visual branding, business owners, especially those who are not in traditionally forward facing professions, often neglect one last piece of the puzzle: the headshot. This is a missed opportunity to form a cohesive brand identity and to support the marketing and communications strategies you have already invested in developing.
Any piece of communication that comes from you, including your images, that jars your prospective and continuing clients, or disconnects them from your message, is damaging to your brand. And, ultimately, it is damaging to your business. This is worth remembering the next time you are tempted to snap a selfie in response to a press request or to tell your team members to pull photos of themselves off Facebook for use on your website, press materials or corporate social media profiles.
Hire a Professional Photographer
Hiring a professional photographer to shoot headshots of you and your team is a responsible – and reasonable – investment. A professional photographer has access to the best equipment and is a skilled photo editor. On the most basic level, this means that you are guaranteed to get a good shot. More than that, you are going to receive a file or files that should be high resolution, and are scalable and print ready.
That means that your photo will look exactly how you expect it to look, how you need it to look, no matter where it is posted or printed. The photo will fit with your visual identity and connect to your brand. And you are spared the embarrassment of sharing a news story in which your finely crafted message is accompanied by a pixelated approximation of your face.
Beyond providing the mechanics of a good photo, a professional photographer is able to understand and reveal who you are through your photos in a way that resonates with your brand identity. In the end, after having worked with a skilled photographer, your headshot is more than a file you can upload to LinkedIn without feeling sheepish. It is another, essential, part of your marketing and communications toolkit.
How to Hire a Photographer for Business Headshots
The same rules that guide the hiring of outside specialists like media and communications professionals, business consultants, graphic designers or other professional service providers apply to hiring a photographer.
Look through samples of work online, or request samples from their portfolios. Correspond with them over email, or reach out to them by phone after having looked at their websites to get a better idea of how they work, not just what they charge. If the photographer writes a blog, read it to develop a sense of his or her approach, including perspectives on how photography contributes to marketing and building brand identity.
When you speak with photographers you are considering hiring, bring to the conversation your understanding of branding and identity, and the role that a headshot and other corporate images should play in helping to define and communicate who you are and what you do. Bring also, any lessons you have learned from other lowest cost service providers and let your commitment to quality and reliability weigh more heavily on your decision than a desire to go for the lowest bid.