We are sometimes asked what the difference is between executive headshots and executive portrait photography. Put simply the executive headshot is a photograph capturing the features of the person for ease of recognition in the business world. Putting a name to a face. Executive portrait photography is a longer process where we see the person but in a more flattering and interesting way. Bringing elements of their personality, their clothes, their business environment and showing how they have succeeded in their profession.
When I first started my career as a corporate portrait photographer I mainly worked for business magazines and for design agencies who both commissioned me to shoot business portraits. These were shot on 120 and 35mm film and involved lots of professional kit and plenty of time spent on recce, setting up and with the sitter. Follow this I could also add creative contrast and lighting in the darkroom.
Sadly with the digital age and the increase of internet use printed publications started to dwindle and so did the requirement for executive portrait photography. In the early days of companies using online as a their main marketing tool we saw very little spent on corporate photography as internet speeds were low and image took time to load and slowed down websites. Over the last 10 years we have seen the rise in companies investing in their corporate photography and commissions for executive headshots are very popular with City professionals.
I must take a moment to mention a photographer who influenced me heavily when I used to shoot on film. Brian Griffin was a portrait photography and his work would feature in business magazines and I was fascinated by how he managed to get the executives to go along with his creative ideas. He must have had excellent communication skills to get his vision across. I remember reading an article on him in British Journal of Photography and he explained how he used battery power flash guns independently placed at different positions to create his images.
Moving on to what we capture these days and we find that clients require a blend of both headshot and portrait. The importance of looking professional online is paramount and although most social media business platforms only allow for a relatively small profile photo clients understand that a headshot is preferable in these circumstances but understand the need to look contemporary and to stand out from the normal passport style headshot.
Copyright © Brian Griffin where shown.
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