If you’re putting together a photo shoot for your staff, finding the right photographer to take your company’s headshots might start to feel like a challenge. With so many photographers to choose from, it can start to feel like comparing apples to oranges. So here’s a quick list of a few things to look for and questions to ask your photographer before booking:
SPECIALTY: Does the photographer specialize in headshots? And do they have experience with corporate headshots for large groups? Sometimes photographers are known for wearing many hats and accepting any gig that keeps them shooting. Some can shift from one photography category to the next pretty seamlessly, but others have trouble, so make sure your photographer has experience specifically in headshots for companies and that they can prove their experience in their portfolio. If all you see are photos of weddings on their website, be careful of trusting them with corporate headshots: they may not have done many.
SKILL: Check the photographer’s portfolio. Do the headshots in their portfolio reflect skill in posing and coaching so that everyone looks their best and most relaxed? Make sure their portfolio shows both consistency in skill and a range of looks, to prove that they have listened to each client’s needs and crafted an image for their needs and that flatters them best.
LICENSING: Sometimes staff headshots and corporate portraits can fall under a “commercial photography” category. Talk to your photographer before your session to make sure your shoot includes licen sing to use the photos however you need. Standard copyright law assigns the copyright to the photographer, so a license needs to be prepared in order for you to use, publish, or alter the photos after they’ve been taken. Ask your photographer what the license would include and make sure there are no hidden fees for you to use, publish, and place the images in marketing pieces; or if there is a fee, that it is reasonable and understood beforehand.
ORGANIZATION: When you’re putting together a group headshot day, the hardest parts can be scheduling time slots for each individual, finding and prepping a room for the photos, and figuring out how to get the people who can’t be there on that day also photographed. Ask your photographer if they will help you make a schedule for the day so each person is photographed quickly and easily and workday disruption is at a minimum. And does your photographer have a plan for getting matching photos for stragglers, people who call in sick on photo day, or when you add new staff in the months and years ahead?
PERSONALITY: Talk to your headshot photographer before booking them and introducing them to your staff. Make sure they’re friendly, professional, and can put people at ease, because it will show on everyone’s faces in their photos. We’ve actually heard a surprising number of stories from clients who switched to us from past photographers because they didn’t present themselves professionally or they made people uncomfortable in one way or another.
PRICE: Don’t be surprised or discouraged if you find a wide range in photography pricing while you’re researching photographers for your staff headshots. Photographers price their services on a lot of factors, including their own costs, skill level, time, and availability. There isn’t much of a set industry standard or rulebook for pricing, so just make sure all of the options in the package are spelled out ahead of time, and ask how the pricing will change if you add or remove people from the shoot.
If you’re looking for company headshots in Chicago and would like to learn more, or see our schedule and book a shoot online, you can do that here. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about staff headshots!