4 Things to Know Before Taking Corporate Photography Headshots

corporate headshot example

There are two different types of corporate photography, headshots, also known as portrait photography, and event photography. We will be covering corporate headshots and give you tips for your next corporate headshot shoot.

Corporate headshots can be both formal and casual depending on the business. Many companies will opt to take headshots that represent their overall brand image and show authenticity. As a photographer, it is important that you can help corporate figureheads take headshots that identify them with their brand and help them tell their story. 

Location: Office VS Studio VS Outdoors

The background of the shoot will depend on the vibe that the company wants their headshots to have. Generally, you will want to keep the background for headshots simple so it doesn’t distract from the person in the photo. 

More serious, formal companies like law firms, or real estate companies will likely want to take their headshots in an office or studio with a plain backdrop. Having a photoshoot inside an office can be challenging because of lighting. It is not uncommon for offices to have poor lighting, a lack of windows for natural light, or lightbulbs too low on the kelvin scale. They might try to book the photoshoot in their meeting or board room. In this case, you may be limited on space for equipment. 

Shooting corporate headshots inside an office may be challenging but it isn’t impossible. Before agreeing to shoot in their office, request to scout the office and find areas with sufficient space and lighting for a photo shoot.

If given the luxury of shooting corporate headshots in your own studio, you’re in luck. Shooting in your own studio will give you full control over space, lighting, props, backdrop, and eliminates the fear of not bringing the right equipment. If you are working with a brand that can implement props into their headshots to match their brand, having extra props ready from your studio will make their photos more unique and creative. Just make sure that the props don’t distract from the person. Occasionally you will be asked to take outdoor headshots for a company. This can be the most challenging location for taking good corporate headshots because there are so many factors you cannot control. The biggest factor to take into consideration when taking outdoor headshots is lighting. Getting employees to wake up early or come in late for a golden hour photoshoot might take a lot of convincing. Likely a company will try to schedule a photo shoot during work hours, typically 9-5. To overcome the harsh light during mid-day, we recommend finding a location with a good amount of shade and few distractions. Be sure to have your model facing the sun during outdoor photoshoots so the camera will see their face. As much as possible try to avoid shooting around noon so your subject doesn’t need to squint their eyes to see the camera.

Things to Know Before The Shoot

Before starting the photoshoot it’ll be beneficial for you to know if the client what purpose the headshots will be for. 

  • Will they be for branding?
  • Where will they be posted online or printed in a book?
  • Do they have specifics in mind?
  • What kind of personality do they want to reflect in their photos?

Knowing what the purpose of the photoshoot is will help move your creativity and make posing easier. The tone and personality they want to reflect in their photos will help your own creativity flow when it comes to posing and outfits.

Directing Their Outfit

If you have an idea of what kind of backdrop you will have before shooting, you can recommend certain outfits and colors that will better contrast to the backdrop of the shoot. Neutral colors are always a good place to start when helping plan their outfit. Black, brown, grey, dark blue.


When it comes to posing for corporate headshots, you will mostly be capturing their chest and up. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the rest of their body. Posture and body position can reflect on a person’s face and show their discomfort or awkwardness. It’ll help both you and the subject of the photo to be relaxed and comfortable. You likely won’t have an experienced model ready to pose on-set in a corporate setting, most people aren’t used to having professional photos taken of themselves and will feel some nervousness. You can help them relax by giving them positive encouragement and direction. You will need to speak up and tell them where to look, to lift or lower their head. 

If you are doing the shoot in a studio or office, having your client sit down may make them more comfortable than if they were standing up. Some people just won’t be able to look natural or friendly while striking a pose. As a photographer, you can try an alternative method of getting a natural smile. Set your camera to burst mode and be a comedian. Getting a client to laugh, smile, or chuckle from a joke will look more natural and inviting than a forced smile. It’s often good to start your photoshoot off by having each client make a silly face just to get the nerves out. 

With these corporate headshot photography tips, you can grow your own photography portfolio and start taking your own corporate headshots.