Corporate Photography Tips & Techniques in Today’s World

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For a long time, corporate photography meant images of handshakes and smiling professionals in business attire. While many companies have smartly moved away from this look, this style of corporate imagery is still found in abundance.

"MEC - MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP" captured by Ron Sombilon.

“MEC – MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP” captured by Ron Sombilon.

Times are changing though. Customers expect personality and uniqueness as much as they expect professionalism. Companies aware of this expectation use custom photography (as opposed to stock photos) to help capture the personality of the company and of their employees. They’re doing this by working with a creative corporate photographer. Here are a few things you should consider when working with a company:

Headshots

Headshots are important, but look around the web and in brochures, and you’ll see the same boring pose: a three-quarter view of the person from about chest-level with a solid backdrop (usually gray or blue). Nothing says stiff, boring, and uncreative more than this kind of shot. While some will argue that the culture of certain kinds of companies, such as law firms, requires this more traditional style, it’s still possible to incorporate the traditional with the more modern.

Consider using more natural poses. And if the company isn’t traditional, a more modern and creative look may be perfect. That look might include relaxed, in-office settings, unique angles, or shots of employees at work. The thing to remember for headshots is to keep them appropriate for the type of company and to make sure that the images create a good first impression.

Team Photos

Team photos are common in corporate photography and are a great way to show off who the company is as a whole. Unless the company has a specific dress code, having employees dress alike perpetuates the idea of conformity rather than the uniqueness that many companies are going for. Another way to show off a company’s personality and culture is to use non-traditional locations for the photo. Instead of standing underneath the office signage, how about a shot of the team at a sporting event or in that awesome break area with the ping-pong table?

Be Natural

When having a photo taken, most people tighten up and pose awkwardly. To avoid this, try to make the session fun and light-hearted. Consider roaming around and taking photos of folks in their element (without getting in the way of course). Another idea is to ask that the coordinator not tell the team about the corporate photo shoot that is planned. Those candid shots will no doubt be good!

"Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing" captured by Richard Foster

“Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing” captured by Richard Foster

Avoid Cliches

As alluded to earlier, a lot of cliches exist in corporate stock photography. The usual images are easy to find and purchase, which is why so many companies use them. The problem is, well, they’re cliches. And they’re corny. If you want to truly represent a company through photography, here are some shots to avoid:

  • two hands shaking to insinuate a deal being made
  • overly forced diversity shots (Diversity is great, but don’t misrepresent the company.)
  • a woman smiling with a headset on “ready and waiting” to take calls
  • two people in business attire shaking hands while smiling at the camera
  • a group of employees around a conference table smiling at pie charts
  • the “boy band” photo with one main person in front crossing their arms with his colleagues ready to back him up
  • group shots where all the employees stand in a line next to each other
  • the super-cheesy shot of a team high-fiving each other

When all is said and done, getting creative corporate photos that will best represent a company depends on the company’s culture and your willingness to step away from the obvious and boring.

About the Author:
Edis Jurcys is a Portland, Oregon based freelance corporate photographer with experience in industrial, editorial, architecture, and business photography.

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One Comment

  1. Barry Kidd says:

    Angie:

    I do a decent amount of corporate photography for local businesses. I agree with you that a new approach would be great. Sadly I’ve found time and time again that when producing unique photos with a more modern feel to them in the end most business stick with the same old boring stuff.

    They will consider modern photos and will even take the time to get the shots but seldom are brave enough to go out on a limb and use them. It is what it is I Guess.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing,

    Barry

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