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Executive Headshots and Portrait Photography

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.

Corporate portraiture photography image 1 CEO London Corporate portraiture photography image 2 director at Orange communications Corporate portraiture photography image 3 Director in factory Corporate portraiture photography image 4 Entrepreneur offices Corporate portraiture photography image 5 Company founder in her boardroom





















































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.

Brian Griffin Executive Photography sample 1

Copyright Brian Griffin

Brian Griffin Executive Photography sample 2

Copyright Brian Griffin

Brian Griffin Executive Photography sample 3

Copyright Brian Griffin

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.

Contemporary executive headshot and portrait photography sample 1 Contemporary executive headshot and portrait photography sample 2 Contemporary executive headshot and portrait photography sample 3 Contemporary executive headshot and portrait photography sample 4















































Copyright © Brian Griffin where shown.

All other content and copyright © Corporate Photography London

Studio Headshots on Location in London

Samples of recent corporate headshots captured on location in London offices using our professional mobile studio system.

Mobile studio headshots in London

Mobile studio headshots in London

Mobile studio headshots in London

Mobile studio headshots in London

Mobile studio headshots in London

Over the last year we have been building up our mobile studio set up so we can produce ‘studio’ style headshots at any location in London. Although this means lugging a little more kit around it enables us to capture contemporary headshots at client’s offices or individual’s homes. We have found that many businesses prefer the formal headshot but need to have a photographer visit them as taking employees away from their office interferes with the running of their business. We come on site and it takes approx 10-15 minutes to set up the background and the professional lighting. We can then capture a good range of portraits for each member of staff which gives a much more polished look to the company website ‘About Us’ page.

With many companies having remote workers and employees in different offices around the UK and across the globe, sometimes a conference or AGM is the only time everyone gets together in one place. We are often asked to take headshots on these occasions and they are normally at a function centre or hotel in London. With our mobile studio kit we can set up in a spare room and capture uniformed and consistent styles of headshots to either match existing current headshots or create a new look for the client.

Getting professional business portraits for your company has become a major factor in marketing as potential customers want to see who they are dealing with on your website or LinkedIn profile. Our studio system allows you to capture up to 60 staff in one day and we provide a pop back service to photograph any staff who were not in the office that day.

© Corporate Photography Ltd

Corporate Headshot with London Backdrop

For several months we have been supplying a headshot service which allows clients to have their portrait taken and then we add a London backdrop in post production. We feel that we need to explain the process and benefits of this service as we feel its key advantages are being missed.

The best way to do this is to go over each step of the commission and show how this gives the clients a much wider choice of results than the conventional way of shooting a corporate headshot with a London City view behind them.

Many individuals especially if they work for international companies often require a headshot that features certain business districts of The City or West End being in the background of their profile photos. Traditionally we would arrange a date and meet with the client at the agreed location. This can work extremely well but is dependant on the weather. Wind, rain and even sunshine coming from the wrong direction would often be detrimental to the end results. We had been working on gathering a wide range of pre shot London backgrounds for use on another project and had the idea that we could produce much more consistent results for clients if we could drop the London background in post production. The major benefit with this method is that shooting at a clients office or our studio we have full control over lighting etc and the style has to look like the headshot was captured in an office with a large window with the view behind. This means the backgrounds we drop into the London headshot need to be shot with this style in mind. So for example you would not be able to use a pin sharp view of the City behind a pin sharp headshot as this would look false and not take into account the depth of field factor from the long portrait lens you would be using. Also very important would be the angle of the background you use as it will have to fit with the angle that the headshot has been taken at. You would not be able to use a view of London looking upwards to the tall buildings as again the portrait lens would not allow this view so all the backgrounds we have pre photographed are captured with these angles in mind.

Another great benefit is once the headshot is captured you can search over our photo library for a variety of backgrounds that suit the headshot or which can be used for different media or profile photographs.

If we go through the process from start to finish.

Client commissions Corporate Photography Ltd to capture his headshot with a view to adding London scenes in post production. This is the process recently shot with a City client.

We attend the clients offices and set up lighting to capture initial headshot. We understand the background in this photo looks a mess but we are only interested at this point in capturing a well lit and professional headshot.

Photoshopped London corporate headshots.

Then in post production we remove the original background and replace with a solid colour. This can be any colour and with white we can add a perfect web friendly white so that when the profile headshot is added onto a website it does not carry any hint of grey that is always captured when shot against a conventional white background. Sometimes the client is very happy with this result as the headshot looks professional and is ideal for use on LinkedIn or we can match a current corporate website background colour and drop that in for the individual.

Photoshopped London corporate headshots.

We then email the client a range of backgrounds for them to choose from and then we add these to the headshot. We are not saying that all of them will work. You still have to take into consideration lighting and what is visually happening behind the headshot. We feel these samples work very well and you can reposition the client within the background to get the perfect composition and make the photograph look realistic.

Photoshopped London corporate headshots.

Photoshopped London corporate headshots.

This composition also works with a broad City backdrop

Photoshopped London corporate headshots.

These last couple do not work as well. The first one has a problem I mentioned earlier, the background of the City is too sharp and clean and does not look in keeping with a headshot on a long lens. This combination makes the client look slightly 3D against the backdrop of London as both elements have different depth of fields which is not possible to do in camera.

City of London corporate headshot.

This background is the opposite as it is too out of focus and does not look realistic as again the depth of field is incorrect and therefore the image looks false.

City of London corporate headshot.

To finish on a positive note the headshot below is our favourite of the batch and shows with careful positioning and balancing the right background with the correct headshot you can create a professional and striking corporate portrait for all media.

City of London corporate headshot.

Grantly Lynch © Corporate Photography Ltd

West End Business Portrait Photography

Commission for Lone Star Europe Acquisitions LLP at their offices in Queen Anne Street. They asked us to capture some formal headshots and some informal more relaxed meeting style portraits. The traditional headshots were for use in marketing material and the more candid style photos were to be used for business social media such as LinkedIn.

formal headshots in Queen Anne Street West End London.

Traditional headshots in Queen Anne Street West End London.

formal portrait photography in Queen Anne Street West End London.

Non posed headshots in Queen Anne Street West End London.

relaxed office headshots in Queen Anne Street West End London.

meeting style headshots in Queen Anne Street West End London.

off camera headshots in Queen Anne Street West End London.

The standard headshot used to be taken against a white or black background and was mainly used for internal corporate material. With online business profiles becoming increasingly important the need for clients to appear professional and approachable has become prominent. We are finding that businesses are focusing on a more real aspect to their headshots showing their people within a business environment and looking more relaxed and natural.

West End Business Headshots © Corporate Photography Ltd.