Three Ways to Avoid the “Class Picture” Look in Executive Portraits

Does anyone really like having their portrait taken? With the exception of movie stars and rich heiresses, most people don’t relish the idea of getting dressed up and posing for the camera. Sitting under the lights and turning this way and that can be downright intimidating.

Nevertheless, the world demands to see our corporate leaders on our Web sites, press kits and annual reports. How can you capture relaxed, personal yet professional shots of your management team that exude confidence, warmth and leadership? Here are a few ways our photographers do it:

1. Get your subjects out of the office. This serves several purposes. First, it removes distractions and interruptions. Second, it takes your leadership team out of the environment that typically evokes stress, and this is good for their photos. Third, it gives you the opportunity to add interest to your leadership photos and turn them from ordinary into extraordinary. Locations can include a city street or a local park, a rooftop, even a football stadium. It all depends on the personality of your executives, the mood you wish to evoke and, of course, on your schedule.

2. Know your photographer and talk to him/her before the shoot. This can’t be emphasized enough. Let them know what your photographs will be used for, and your expectations for them. What kind of message do you want to send in your photographs? Real-world experience, cutting-edge innovation, technological savvy? This is information your photographer needs in order to help you realize your objectives for the shoot.

Experienced corporate photographers know how to work with executives, and put them at ease while getting lots of great shots. Prep your photographer by letting him or her know about the personalities of their subjects beforehand. This will help the photographer to bring out the best in each subject.

3. Be creative. Ingenuity is important if you want to avoid the “class picture” feel in your executive shots. Even if you are using a photo studio, your photos need not look ordinary. Talk to your photographer about using different backgrounds and lighting techniques, consider shooting black and white.

If your company is in a traditionally conservative business but you want to emphasize vitality, think about business casual dress in lieu of suits and ties. How about a group shot or candid photos taken during a break-out session? One CEO we worked with brought his German Shepherd to the shoot, and the results were marvelous.

The options for capturing exceptional executive photographs are endless. All you have to do is step outside of the traditional notions of executive mug shots. Get inspired!

3 Responses to “Three Ways to Avoid the “Class Picture” Look in Executive Portraits”

  1. great post, but I would really like to see a gallery of stand-out work.

  2. Excellent article with good tips. Especially getting the client out of their office and their distractions.

    I must agree, that I too, was hoping to see some photo samples.

    May be we can look forward to that soon ???

  3. Definitely getting them out of the office helps, totally get's them out of work mode!

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