Botched! How to avoid Headshot fails and bad Corporate Photos when building your team's new website

Would you be surprised to learn that more than half of the corporate headshot clients that we photograph come to us because the they had a poor experience with their last photographer?  It's true. The premise is a lot like that show "Botched" on E!... those doctors fix your bad plastic surgery... we're the photography equivalent but we're repairing your botched branding (heehee.)

Corporate Headshots and website branding for your team of employees is really important -- everyone knows they need to do it but the "how to get it done" trips up a lot of very competent professionals. Why is that? There are several reasons, but the two biggies look something like the following.  Either you are busy building and running your own business (obviously) or someone told you that they have a guy that can do it for cheap and engaging him/her is proving to be a rabbit hole of mediocrity on way too many levels.  In either case, you are effectively ending up in the same circumstance - underwhelming images that don't properly represent you and your great company. 

Since photography remains a niche expertise (meaning their is no premium name player a la Amazon, Nordstrom and Starbucks) most companies are forced to locally source photography talent and that is where the fun begins (just kidding... we know it's painful.) Our studio is based here in the Seattle market but honestly the steps for finding an experienced photographer are the same almost everywhere so we thought it might be helpful to share what it takes beyond just a standard Google search to really be successful.

Invest in Experience. Seems obvious but you should know that the strong photography talent in any market are experienced. They will educate you about things that you may never have considered and in doing so save you both time and money in the long run.  For example, most modern web designs require long banner-style images that are responsive on all screens and mobile devices... shooting too tight can render images unusable without expensive graphic manipulation. Professional photographers that regularly shoot corporate branding images know all of the in's and outs for delivering the proper look, feel, and format for your brand. 

Key Takeaway: You'll know you have the right corporate branding photographer when they ask you detailed questions about your messaging and final use of the images and then take it a step further by guiding you with helpful information beyond what you didn't even know to ask. (The classic, under promise over deliver!)

Plan For the Future. This is key for growing firms and is easily overlooked. Be sure that there is a plan in place for maintaining image continuity as your company adds employees.  We were recently commissioned by Benjamin Healy Palmer to create corporate headshots and location images for the Tacoma based law firm and an essential piece of the project was planning for the future.  When the firm adds to their team, we will be able to photograph the new hires with a comparable look and feel that matches what we shot months ago.  Seems easy in theory but when we photographed the firm originally it was sunny and bright, the ability to make that happen in Seattle even when it's raining is a pretty impressive trick actually.  We use our modern studio and digital expertise to deliver consistent quality. so that their new website images integrate seamlessly with the originals.

Key Takeaway: When you are interviewing your photographer, be sure to ask them how they will create images that compliment your current website and marketing materials on an ongoing basis.  To that end, you'll also want to double check how long they have been doing business. The answer will be very telling for checking their reviews and reputation online as well as giving you piece of mind that they will be invested in your long term success together.