We have written many posts on the benefits of commissioning a corporate headshot photographer in London to capture professional LinkedIn photos for your profile page. Here we would like to jot down some further thoughts on this subject.
Recently we were in touch with a freelance email marketing expert who was advising us on wether this would be a plus for our business. It turned out that it was not the process we wanted to pursue but I had noticed that the chap in question was using his headshot as part of his email signature. This interested us as it seemed an obvious way to connect with potential clients by making the email communication much more approachable. The headshot he was using must have been taken at a wedding as we noticed another person in the background in wedding attire and so we offered to photoshop that for him and improve his email signature headshot.
Following on from this we now use headshot in our email signature but keep the headshot as a thumbnail as if you are in regular email conversation with people anything too large would become overpowering in time.
The majority of people who get in touch require professional LinkedIn photos but we are starting to see these profile photos used in many different media now. When companies produce pitch documents they are including headshots of the team that have produced the pitch. Individuals hosting presentations will include their headshot in promotional literature. Corporate CVs can benefit from including a professional headshot to bring a more personal touch to the document. We have already mentioned email signature photos and LinkedIn but also use the image across all business social media such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.
If you do decide to have a professional LinkedIn headshot taken then taking into account the above make sure you get the corporate photographer to give you some options. Ideally you can have a 30 minute session where you can have a change of wardrobe and different options for the background and of course a variety of expressions and with formal and casual poses so you can use the most suitable headshot for each application.
Further samples of our corporate portraits © Corporate Photography London
With all our corporate headshot commissions in London we offer free post production work which includes retouching or as it used to be known airbrushing. Most post production work is adjusting levels and making sure backgrounds are consistent and reformating files which is simply a process. However when you come to retouching a headshot you are faced with more options and potential outcomes.
Clients are keen to have their headshots retouched but it is the degree and amount of retouching that is a grey area. We ask individuals to pick a favourite from approx 30-40 headshots and ask if they want a specific retouching done. It works well when they tell you exactly what to remove or tidy up. The tricky bit comes when they request that we retouch what we consider to be suitable.
Our stance with retouching is that you should never be able to see that a headshot has been photoshopped. Subtle understated photoshop work and keeping the person recognisable to the original headshot. Some clients want the full works which can include removing double chins, making faces appear thinner, increasing lip sizes and filling in receding hair. It depends on the individual and how they wish to appear and the one thing we are careful is to ask the person to compare each stage of the retouched headshot back to the original and not just to the last version we retouched. As if they come back with further requests to retouch an all ready retouched headshot then each time we do work it is moving further away from the original.
We enjoy retouching corporate headshots and with experience comes better understanding of how to achieve the very subtle tricks just to freshen up a face without making it look unnatural and overworked. When commissioning a corporate photographer in London always ask to see their headshot portfolio and ask what degree of retouching has been done on the headshots. Clients will be committing time and money to the commission and it is important that the retouching is carried out to their liking as it is an intergal part of the corporate headshot process and not just a free add on to be overlooked.
Having worked as a corporate photographer in London for many years and having plenty of experience at working in a corporate photo agency I thought it would be interesting to look at the pros and cons for clients commissioning both.
Availability. As a freelance corporate photographer there is nothing as frustrating as when one of your clients want to commission you on a certain date and you already have that date booked in for another client. I would scratch my head when I had empty days during the week and often had to turn work down on days I was already booked. When this happened it meant the client could not get their first choice photographer and they would have to go in search of a replacement photographer who would be new to the client and therefore not up to speed with the clients requirements. A photo agency has benefits here as they have more than one corporate photographer to assign to commissions and will have specialist photographers available. For instance if a client has a large London event and they require more than one corporate event photographer along with video coverage etc then a coordinated agency can provide this which makes the process easier for the client.
Pricing. Independent corporate photographers can build a reputation and charge the market rate or a premium rate if they have a popular creative style that is difficult to replicate. A photo agency can have a good reputation with a loyal client base but will have to price their services so they are compatible with what the market will pay.
Quality. From both photographic services you will expect high quality as the client will soon go elsewhere if it is not delivered. Interesting point as if the client changes photographers for whatever reason then the responsibility for checking quality and consistency with the new photographer rests with the client. If an agency sends a different photographer on a commission then the responsibility for quality and consistency rests with the agency rather than the end client.
Post production and delivery. Clients would benefit here from using a corporate photo agency as usually they would have in house post production and therefore whilst a freelance photographer would need to fit post production in between their daily commissions the agency can concentrate on post production whilst their photographers are freed up to undertake commissions. The agency’s editor can undertake the quotations, travel arrangements, post production, invoicing and delivery which allows their photographers to focus fully on their photography.
© Corporate Photography London 2019
On a weekly basis we receive emails from graduate or young amateur photographers asking us for advice on how to become a corporate photographer. We reply asking for samples of their photography and if they have had any experience in corporate work. The majority of the email replies have no corporate portfolio or experience.
If you want to get into corporate headshot and event photography then it is essential that you gain experience by offering to assist or shadow a professional corporate photographer over a series of varied commissions listening to their advice and guidance. It can be a struggle to get to this position as it means the photographer will have to factor the extra person into their day to day business. Once you have gained this experience you will need to put a corporate photography portfolio together to show potential clients that you can assist them with their photographic marketing. This is the catch 22 though as how do you create a corporate portfolio if you need to have one in place already so you can undertake commissions. We suggest that you use family and friends to capture headshots and business portraits. Also offer to undertake work with no fees so you can get access to corporate offices and London business events and conferences. This can a long process but it will greatly benefit your chances of becoming a corporate photographer.
A good bit of advice for the budding corporate photographer is to ask why they want to pursue a career in this field of photography. Do not assume that as your client base will be in the financial sector that you will be earning more than you would in another business sector. That is not the correct reason for choosing this career. You need to be very inspired and interested in generic corporate photography and how your photographic style can benefit businesses and what your photography will bring to their corporate marketing.
Be careful not to confuse corporate photography with commercial and business photography. There is a difference as commercial work can be any photographic service such as product, retail, property, interiors, location, people and many more. Corporate work tends to be headshots, portraits and event work.
Once you have a decent corporate photography portfolio then the next tip and advice is to start marketing as you will not get any business if people do not see you what you can offer. There are several ways to do this and it can become a full time job in itself but you have to find what best works for you. Networking, SEO, advertising and recommendation all have a part in you becoming a successful corporate photographer.
Corporate Photography Prices. This has always been a tricky one for any corporate photographer or any type photographer, how much should you charge?
I certainly do not have the correct answer but I can review my experiences with clients and other corporate photographer prices over many years. When we used to still shot on film and deliver prints you had a product to mark up and you could add a reasonable day rate onto your invoice after you had taken into account studio costs or location travel. With the advent of digital things became a little less structured and the need for large studios reduced and digital images to not have any physical day to day costs. So where do you base your corporate photography prices on? You have your basic overheads, kit, car, studio hire etc and after those it is what kind of profit you need to further build your business and create the lifestyle you require. But the one thing controlling your profits is what clients will pay for your services. Most companies and individuals when needing corporate photography will get quotes in from at least a few photographers who like the look of their work. Prices will not be the only factor but it will be a major factor. Style of photography, communicating the service, availability and timescales all factor into their decision on who they will hire as their corporate photographer.
You can look at the market place and what other corporate photographers are charging. Some put fees and rates on their website but the majority do not. We have been asked by young photographers what they should charge. We have been contacted by other photographers under the pretence that they were a client and need to know costs for a commission. We have even had an email from another corporate photographer in London telling us that we were under charging on a commission and that we should increase our fees and to stop under cutting the market.
We think that when you sit down to set your corporate photography prices you have to decide what you need to earn survive and then you have your basic prices. After this it really comes down to wether you want to drive a new Rolls Royce or a ten year old second hand car. As with most things in business its a learning curve and offering discounts in poor economic times and making hay while the sun shines is all common sense and as your business hopefully grows you get to know what your photography clients will feel happy with.
You can follow these suggested corporate photography freelance rates but I am not sure how high or low budget corporate photography would differ and I can be sure all our clients would choose low budget please but high standard.
© Corporate Photography London.