Headshot Location: Studio or Not?

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If you spend any time on the Internet at all, then you know that you NEED a headshot for your website and social media profiles. Not just any photo – a photo that reflects you, your brand, and your personality. (More on that here.)

But the question is always “where should I make my new headshot?” Should we do it in the studio, with a plain gray/white background? Or should we go somewhere on location, like at your office, at a park, or in a library?

Here are five questions to ask yourself when deciding if you should have your next headshot session in the studio or on location.

1. How do you intend to use the photo?

If we’re just talking about a portrait on LinkedIn, I don’t think it’s necessary to spend the extra time and money on a location portrait (studio portraits start at $250, location portraits start at $500.) LinkedIn crops your photo to a tiny circle around your head and the background just doesn’t get noticed. In fact, a busy background can be distracting on LinkedIn.

However, if we’re talking about a portrait that will be showcased on your website, on social media posts, and in a wide array of marketing materials, then yeah, having a background that gives us some more information about you and your work can be helpful. The background can help communicate your brand and your style, it can incorporate specific colors in your logo, and it can tell us something personal about you.

2. How many different photos do you need?

If you only need one decent headshot that is going to serve on LinkedIn and on the company “about” page, then let’s skip the hassle of finding a location and just shoot in the studio. If, on the other hand, you’d like a photo for LinkedIn AND a photo that shows you in the office AND a photo where you’re standing in the neighborhood that you serve AND a photo where you look more casual and fun, then we should shoot on location. Let’s pick a place where can do all of those things. I’ll bring the gray/white background with me and you can bring the changes of clothing. In an hour long session, we can move around and find backgrounds that serve every purpose.

3. How fast do you need these pictures?

One of the downsides of shooting outdoors on location is that you are weather dependent. This means that you have to be flexible and able to reschedule as needed. If you have to have your photos produced and available on a specific date, consider a studio. If the weather takes a turn and ruins the planned day, you may lose the chance to get your new photos in before a deadline.

4. What do your colleagues’ photos look like?

If your headshot will be displayed in close quarters with those of your colleagues, then you want them to match – or at least be complimentary. Some companies even have requirements for portraits to have a certain background and a certain pose. Before you schedule a headshot session, know what the parameters are and take a look at your co-workers photos to get some ideas.

5. What is your company’s brand?

You want your photo to not only show what you look like, but to say something about your branding and marketing. Location portraiture tends to be more environmental, more personal, more colorful, and a little less buttoned-up. And some companies’ brands just don’t really lend themselves to location portraits that have this kind of look and feel. If the brand is better suited to a gray/white background and a slightly more formal feel, then that is what we should do.

If you are ready to schedule your portrait session, click here to find a date and time!

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