How to take your headshot work beyond the studio.

Headshots are becoming more and more popular as professionals of all size businesses realize the importance of a great first impression. So we’ve asked one of our star users, Emily McClure, to share some insights into how to improve your headshot photography. This is a guest blog written by photographer, Emily McClure of EM CORPORATE. All photos in this post are by Emily. 

From the moment I receive a headshot inquiry, my mind begins to race! How can I best photograph them? Could a different environment show more strength over a studio? Should the chef be photographed in the restaurant entry or the kitchen? How will I help them decide wardrobe to achieve their desired look best?

An environmental headshot, as I’ve come to define them, is a headshot that is captured in the individual’s specific environment or a space other than a standard studio setup. It can encompass a vast range of options, depending on the subject (and with today’s blogger community, anything can be on the table). I’ve taken headshots on sidewalks, lobbies, boardrooms, chef’s kitchens, model homes and more. Each subject deserves your time and attention to craft a unique and strong look, so it’s important to consider the best location for each situation.

It’s important to ensure that your client gets approval for any off-site location, as it will make for a much smoother session. One time, I had the head of a venue come up to us during a session and ask about permission. I turned to my client, who had secured the location, and he was able to state the name of the person that granted us access. My client thanked me for preparing him for that, and we moved along with the session. Ask permission, not forgiveness, which usually isn’t offered in this scenario.

For a true headshot, which features an above-the-chest orientation, you will want to consider light, texture and anything that might distract from the person’s face. Clients typically want photos that are attractive, easy to understand and useful on a daily basis.

You’ll want to be efficient when working with the corporate client—navigating wardrobe, location, and any additional lights must be in place before the person arrives. Usually in the corporate arena, their goals are clear and decided prior to session.  

Coaching your client throughout the process is key. Offering clear and quality direction—with everything from wardrobe to the final deliverable—will establish you as an expert. Showing that you are able to provide what they need is valuable and can lead to future business.

Once your plan is in place, have a fabulous time meeting and working with your client. Take a deep breath, focus on your client and take an outstanding headshot they are proud to share!

You can follow Emily’s work online at www.emcorporate.com and on Instagram at @emcorporate

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