One of my favorite categories of photography is the “Corporate” or “Executive Portrait.” I’ve never been satisfied with the standard business headshot that looks like it was shot at Olan Mills or JC Penney. You know the look… pastelly, sponge-painted, backdrop with a guy in a suit looking terrified or even worse… expressionless. When I ventured into this genre of photography, I learned that the best executive portraits are shot in interesting locations, with interesting lighting, and context.
Portraits that demonstrate some contextual message are very powerful. Some examples are obvious and some are not. For example, an accomplished airline executive might have their portrait taken on, in or around an airplane. A solar company executive might have their portrait taken near a series of solar panels. Not all of them have to be that obvious. Sometimes, just getting a professional outside or away from their desk can help them to relax; away from the computer and the phones. I love to find interesting locations around their office building or their homes to create an image worthy of print.
Executives, you work hard to attain your titles and your positions of accountability. Your head shots or portraits should reflect that achievement and support your current ventures. Everyone is looking for you online. The photos you choose to represent you can say a lot about you and your company. Not only your friends and family, but your current clients, your future clients, your co-workers, and your competition are all sizing you up on line. Your image will determine, for some, if they can make an initial connection.
Think about this: If the image you present doesn’t reflect what you offer as an executive, don’t expect to create as many new relationships. If you don’t create many new relationships, don’t expect to get many new assignments or accounts. If you don’t get many new assignments or accounts, you should not expect to make more money. Simple. It all begins with your image.
In today’s social media-driven economy, it’s imperative that an executive have a library of amazing, dignifying images at the ready for use on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. They also come in handy for press releases and various magazine or web articles so start collecting great and meaningful portraits of yourself and put them to use properly. Never, ever let a bad portrait grace the social media scene or a magazine article again. Your professional image deserves your investment. A mediocre head shot or portrait on your social media networks or your website could be the one thing keeping you from advancing to the next level of your business.