The Quick Start Guide to Corporate Headshot Photography: Tips and Tricks for Better Headshots


Corporate headshots are a powerful marketing tool. They showcase a company’s values and put faces to the business.

But here’s the thing: Not all corporate headshots are created equal.

Bad lighting, outdated style or an unflattering pose can ruin a headshot. And low-quality headshots reflect poorly on companies and a personal brand. People won’t take a business seriously if the headshot looks cheesy, or amateur, or like it was shot in the 1980s.

For maximum impact, corporate headshots must be high-quality.

The problem: Getting perfect corporate headshots isn’t easy. It requires the right mix of lighting, posing, and equipment to get the job done right.

Need some help? Whether you’re searching for a photographer, or you’re nervous about an upcoming shoot, these corporate headshot tips will help you achieve the look you want.

Lighting Tips for Corporate Headshots

What's a key ingredient for a great corporate headshot? Lighting.

Quality lighting enhances every aspect of a headshot. It helps define the subject’s face and eyes, highlights the jawline, and it creates a mood or style for the headshot.

So how does proper lighting make your headshots look great? The best photographers use light in headshot photography to:

  • Flatter Subjects - Balanced, even lighting accentuates your face and eyes, and it highlights facial features like the jawline. Bad lighting creates shadows on the face that are distracting, and it can draw attention to wrinkles.

  • Create a Specific Mood - Do you want headshots that are bright and full of energy? Or maybe you want a darker, moodier headshot? These styles can be achieved with the right lighting.

  • Showcase You - Bright lighting ensures that your face, smile and eyes are the focal point of an image. Improper lighting can make your headshots appear washed out.

Background Styles for Corporate Headshots

You might be wondering: What background styles are available? Which backgrounds photograph best?

There are a wide range of possibilities for backgrounds, from an outdoor environmental look, to a clean white background. So which is best? Ultimately, it’s up to the brand and their marketing objectives. The most common backgrounds for headshots include:

  • White – A clean, bright white is one of the most common choices. It looks professional, it’s bright and modern, and designers love it, because it’s easy to incorporate into websites or marketing materials.

  • Dark Grey – Grey is another classic look and it’s often used by lifestyle brands. Dark Grey backgrounds tend to create a moodier, more artistic look.

  • Environmental (Office) – Many corporate brands love to use an office interior as a background. Office backgrounds look great in marketing materials, whitepapers, and on websites.

  • Custom Options – You might choose to use the brand’s color for the background. This is often achieved using a green screen, with the custom background color added in post-production.

Corporate Headshot Posing Guide: Quick Tips for Looking Your Best

The right pose adds dimension and helps a subject look their best. Without the right pose, subjects look slouchy or the headshot might look flat.

Fortunately, there are a few corporate headshot posing tips that will make your shots instantly better. They include:

  1. Focus on Posture – The subject’s back should be straight, with the shoulders back and chest out. Great posture will make any headshot look better.

  2. Lead with the Forehead – Subjects should lean their faces forward, towards the camera or key light. This helps define the jawline and create depth.

  3. Relax – Your subject should be relaxed. If a subject is tense, they’ll appear tense in your photos.

What to Wear for Corporate Headshots?

Not sure what to wear or to have clients wear for a shoot? We’ve written a long guide to what to wear for business headshots. (Read that for a complete list of tips and ideas.)

But there are a few golden rules that you should follow that will give you the best results. They include:

  1. Avoid Busy Patterns – A loud top draws attention away from the eyes. Stick with bold colors without patterns.

  2. Love What You Wear – Make sure you feel great in what you’re wearing. If you love it, you’ll be more relaxed and comfortable.

  3. Complement Your Skin Tone – Choose a color that accentuates your face. For warmer skin tones, earthy shades look great, while bold reds and blues are best for cooler skin tones.

  4. Accentuate Your Eyes – A shade that complements or matches your eyes will look great and help your eyes really pop.

What About Hair and Makeup?

A professional hair and makeup stylist isn’t necessary, but is recommended. A stylist helps subjects look their best and get camera-ready. Ultimately, for headshots, the best rule is to go natural. If you have curly hair, wear it curly. And with makeup, it’s best to go neutral and toned down.

Need help finding a makeup artist / hair stylist for your headshot session? An on-location groomer is an option in our individual and group headshot packages.

Corporate Headshot Pricing: What’s Included

What will it cost? That’s one of the first questions businesses have. And the truth is: It depends.

If you’ll need headshots for 50+ employees, a photographer may charge a per person fee, which typically includes one retouched image per person. Other photographers bill hourly or charge a day rate.

As you interview photographers, be sure you ask about pricing and understand what’s included in a quoted price. Some fees to consider include:

  • Set-Up Fees – For locational shooting, a set-up fee may be required to cover the cost of setting up a mobile studio.

  • Travel Costs – If the photographer is required to travel outside his or her region, travel costs may be incorporated into billing.

  • Licensing Fees – Depending on how the images will be used, a licensing fee may be required. This is especially true if the headshots will be used in advertising.

  • Group Discounts – Many photographers charge based on the number of employees that will be photographed. Larger groups may qualify for discounted pricing.

Hire the Best Headshot Photographer for the Job

Now that you understand some of the basics of corporate headshot photography, you can start interviewing photographers.

Be sure you’re on the lookout for experience. Choose a photographer with a headshot portfolio that you like. Learn about his or her process, delivery timelines for completed work, and plans for the shoot.

Ultimately, this should be a collaboration.

That’s why it’s important to choose a headshot photographer who’s responsive to your needs, shows an interest in your company’s marketing goals, and who puts you at ease. If a photographer does all of that, you’ll be on your way to a successful shoot.

On Point Headshots is a corporate headshot photography studio based in Fort Lauderdale. We provide top-quality headshots to businesses of all sizes in South Florida. Book Your Shoot with On Point Headshots today. Our online booking process for individual headshot sessions makes it super easy! For corporate headshot sessions, call us for a quote: (305) 906-2986.