How To Get The Best Corporate Headshots - Everything You Need To Know

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When people first think of a “headshot”, their first thought may be of models and actors looking for jobs. This type of headshot is used so that casting agents can assess how a potential model or actor would fit in a show or certain role and keep their face fresh in their mind. Corporate headshots have a similar idea. While you may not be looking to be a fresh face in a new sitcom, corporate headshots help potential bosses and clients understand who you are.

What is a Corporate Headshot?

Corporate headshots are portraits of business professionals. Generally, the photos are close-up, depicting the shoulders and face, but can also be full-body shots. Corporate headshots are just as important for jobseekers as they are for those who have had their job for years. These portraits give working professionals a way to showcase who they are to potential clients and employers, helping them “put a face to the name”. This establishes both trust and credibility between the subject of the photo and the viewer. A high-quality corporate headshot is one of the most essential tools a professional can have when cultivating their personal brand.

Corporate headshots have a wide variety of uses and can be found in many different places. These are some of the most popular ways that working professionals use corporate photography:

1. LinkedIn

In this day and age, it is next to impossible to land a new job without help from the internet. Professional networking sites, the most popular being LinkedIn, have become an invaluable tool for those who are on the hunt for a new job, new clients, or even professional connections. Your LinkedIn profile is an extension of who you are, so it is important to have a profile photo that represents your personality. Corporate headshots are a useful tool to do just that!

2. Personal website

A personal website is a lot like a LinkedIn profile, but they are usually far more in-depth. When a potential client or employer visits your personal website, you need to ensure that they are seeing the full picture of who you are, what you do, and what you can offer them. By placing a corporate headshot on your personal website, potential clients and employers can get a better understanding of these things.

3. Company website

Many businesses like to feature corporate headshots, along with a short biography, of their employees on their company website. These can usually be seen on the “About Us” or “Meet the Team” pages. When potential clients visit these pages, they are able to get a better understanding of the company and who they may be working with on future projects.

4. Business cards

In the business world, first impressions are everything! Making new professional connections is important, but it can be useless unless you can ensure that the person you met will remember you. This is why many people feature a corporate headshot on their business cards, as it will prevent your new professional connections from forgetting your name and face. If they remember you and the first impressions you made, potential clients and employers will be more likely to contact you again in the future.

5. Marketing materials and news outlets

For professionals that hold higher-up positions in a company, such as a founder or CEO, corporate headshots can be used in marketing materials, such as billboards, flyers, or commercials. Company spokespeople may participate in interviews with news outlets, who will then use a corporate headshot to attribute a specific quote back to the person who was interviewed.

6. Resumes

Perhaps the most obvious use of a corporate headshot is to use them on a resume. Attaching a professional corporate headshot along with a job application shows potential employers that you are serious about the job. Some job openings may have hundreds of people applying, and a corporate headshot will help you stand out from the crowd.

Who Needs Professional Corporate Headshots?

There is no denying that corporate headshots of you or your employees can give you an edge over your competitors, but there are some specific professions or job titles that can benefit the most from using them. These are the types of people who need to have corporate headshots:

1. Business owners

No matter what kind of business you may own, from an accounting firm to a pizza parlor, you need to have a professional corporate headshot—especially for small business owners. Your business is an extension of yourself and your personal brand. If you are not willing to put your stamp of approval—in this case, a corporate headshot—on your business, clients will not have faith in you, either. A corporate headshot is a way to introduce yourself to potential clients before they ever meet you, establishing trust and who you are well in advance.

2. Job seekers

No matter what level of employment you are seeking, a professional corporate headshot is a must. Since the majority of job searches now happen online, you may not be able to meet the interviewer until you get an interview. Your corporate headshot should reflect who you are: your maturity level; experience; and personality.

A corporate headshot is an effective way to grab a potential employer’s attention and make a solid first impression—before you even meet. Potential employers can see a glimpse of your professionalism and personality when you use a high-quality corporate headshot on your LinkedIn profile and resume. They are far more likely to remember an applicant that has attached a corporate headshot than one that did not.

3. CEOs and Founders

CEOs, company founders, and other people who deal with the media serve as the face of a business. Everything these people do have an effect on the company and are a reflection of the business. Because of this, a professional corporate headshot is necessary for these people and should display the values of both the person and the company. A corporate headshot for higher-ups in the company also ensures that they have control of their own image. Providing a corporate headshot to the media is preferable to news outlets snapping their own, unflattering photos of the subject.

4. Employees

Depending on the size of the company, it can be prudent to have a professional corporate headshot for every employee. This helps the general public understand the company as a whole: diversity; professionalism; and brand values. It shows a cohesive image of the people that make up a company. If employees are working with the public, whether in person, over the phone, or via the internet, customers can put a face to the name of the person who has been helping them.

5. Entrepreneurs and Startups

The first few months after introducing a new company can make or break the business. Once again, your business is an extension of yourself, and should be treated as such. New businesses have not yet built up a solid base of clients and contacts, so corporate headshots help potential connections understand who they are working with. Startups are often featured in the media, so using a high-quality, professional corporate headshot from the get-go asserts to the public that you—and your new company—mean business.

No matter the industry or position, there are no downsides to having a corporate headshot on file.

Why You Should Have a Professional Corporate Headshot

Your face tells someone a lot about you. In 2012, a study done by the Cognition and Emotion Journal revealed that people decide whether or not to trust someone within 100 milliseconds of seeing their face for the first time. In 2018, LinkedIn found that profiles with profile photos receive 21 times more views and 9 times more requests to connect than a profile without a high-quality photo. First impressions are of the utmost importance, and they can happen before you ever open your mouth.

With the growing popularity of social media websites, more people are making professional connections online than ever before. This means that first impressions are not occurring the first time you meet a potential client or employer, but when you connect on LinkedIn or send in a resume. The best way to make a great first impression before meeting a client or employer is to have a corporate headshot. The benefits are numerous:

1. Professional corporate headshots reflect who you are and your values.

○ A high-quality corporate headshot shows potential clients and employers that you are serious about what you do.

○ You made the time to get ready and paid a photographer to take headshots for you, showing that you have invested time and money into your image and business.

2. Corporate headshots are the best way to make a first impression.

○ People will make a first impression of you in less than a second.

○ Without a corporate headshot, this first impression could be wrong.

○ Choosing to recycle an old, outdated photo or not including a photo at all can seem lazy.

3. Corporate headshots help build trust between you and potential clients or employers.

○ It is unsettling to talk to someone that you have no idea what they look like. By including a corporate headshot, potential clients and employers will know who you are and trust you more.

○ Do you have a “trustworthy face”? If so, this will be useful to you. People will see your corporate headshot and trust you faster than they would if you did not include a photo.

4. You can use your corporate headshots for many things.

○ Many photographers will allow you to have multiple backdrops or outfit changes, so you can have different styles of corporate headshots to choose from.

○ Corporate headshots can be used on your company website, LinkedIn, press releases, and more.

○ As long as you do not change your appearance drastically, your professional corporate headshots can be used for years to come.
Do not leave first impressions up to chance. By using a corporate headshot, you can ensure that potential clients and employers will better understand the values behind you and your company.

How To Get The Best Corporate Headshots

A corporate headshot should be a straightforward photo taken with a high-quality camera so that no resolution is lost. It should be well lit, clearly displaying your face. Before taking your first professional corporate headshot, there are a few things that you will need to ask yourself in order to take the best corporate headshot possible.

1. What should I wear?

This depends on the industry you work in (or want to work in) and your personality. Look at leading professionals in your industry: what are they wearing? It is best to model your outfit around the industry standard. Some industries, like finance or law, are a bit more conservative when it comes to dress, sticking to suits and ties. Others, like creative or technology industries, are more relaxed, opting for business casual attire.

2. How should I prepare?

There are three important steps to take when preparing to have professional corporate headshots done.

  • Get some sleep! The night before a photography session, do not stay out late partying! While you can use makeup to cover dark circles, you will look much better in your corporate headshots if you are well-rested.
  • Do your research. Find photos of you that you think are flattering, and examples of corporate headshots that you like in order to show your photographer. They will find ways to incorporate your best angles with the styles you like.
  • Test out your outfit or makeup look before the shoot. Make sure that your look is comfortable, clean, and reflects who you are. You will not want to arrive at the photographer’s studio only to find out that your makeup looks terrible in a certain lighting or that your suit needs to be ironed.

3. How should I pose?

The photographer taking your corporate headshot will be able to help you find your best angles. Sometimes the simplest option is the best one, which is why many corporate headshots are a straightforward photo of someone smiling. If you have a specific pose you would like to try, go ahead! An unorthodox approach may help you stand out better.

4. What kind of background should I use?

Most backgrounds for corporate headshots are a solid colored background. Though simple, there are many different colors to choose from based on color theory and your industry. Some colors can make people feel a certain way, and since corporate headshots are all about first impressions, a little bit of subliminal messaging couldn’t hurt. Background colors like black, white, or gray are good for conservative industries or people who want to come off as no nonsense. Bright colors are best for those in creative industries.

Corporate Headshot Background Colors and Their Meanings

Black, white, or grey

No nonsense or serious. Neutral colors that are good for those who work in conservative industries like finance or law.


The color of passion and power. Using a red background for your corporate headshots is a great attention grabber, but can come off as aggressive.


The color of happiness. This bright color makes potential clients and employers see you as an upbeat, positive person.


The color of harmony and health. Green backgrounds for corporate headshots insinuate that you are a relaxed team player.


The color of trust and loyalty. Blue is a calming color that can make you seem trustworthy in a corporate headshot.


The color of love and compassion. Pink is a popular choice for corporate headshots, especially in industries centered around women.

The color of love and compassion. Pink is a popular choice for corporate headshots, especially in industries centered around women.

When picking the color of your corporate headshot background, it is important to note how you look against these colors.

For example, you may want to use a yellow background so potential clients and employers see you as an optimistic person, but the color yellow makes your skin look dull. Consider asking your corporate headshot photographer if they have backgrounds in another shade of yellow that might flatter your skin tone better. If not, choose another color. You want to look your best in your corporate headshot!

Things To Look For In A Corporate Headshot Photographer

The photographer has the ability to make or break a corporate headshot, which is why it is so important to choose a photographer carefully. Here are some things to consider when searching for a corporate headshot photographer:

1. Experience

How long has the photographer been taking professional corporate headshots? The photographer should be knowledgeable about the subject and have a proven track record. You do not want to waste your time and money with a photographer that does not have the know-how to make your corporate headshot look amazing.

2. Portfolio

Most photographers have a portfolio of their work online that you can view to ensure their corporate headshot photography is high-quality. Do you like their style of photography? If not, move on.

3. Reviews

Reviews and testimonials offer a glimpse into the way photographers work. Focus on reviews that mention the photographer’s communication, patience, and professionalism. It should go without saying, but if a photographer has a large amount of negative reviews, they are probably not the best fit for your corporate headshots.

4. Editing ability

Editing photos goes hand-in-hand with taking them. Some photographers are efficient at editing photos, tastefully brightening and removing imperfections. Other corporate headshot photographers go overboard, airbrushing their clients so much that they no longer resemble themselves. Some photographers do not edit their photos at all. Gauge what you want your corporate headshot to look like and compare this with a photographer’s portfolio.

5. Price

Cost is the most important thing to consider when looking for a corporate headshot photographer, and prices can range from $50 to $1000. Compare corporate headshot packages to see what they include.

○ How many fully edited photos are included in the price?

○ How much time is included in the session?

○ Are you allowed to change outfits?

○ What are the usage rights—do you or the photographer “own” your corporate headshots?

○ Does the package include extras, such as professional hair and makeup artists?

When it comes to professional corporate headshots, doing extra research to find the perfect photographer makes a big difference.

Examples of Corporate Headshots: the Do’s and the Dont’s

There are many different elements that can help or hurt a corporate headshot. When coordinating with a photographer, you need to ensure that you take a high-quality corporate headshot that has all of the aspects required. Check out this table to see some of the aspects that make a professional corporate headshot wonderful or terrible.

Do have the subject facing forward, the clear focus of the corporate headshot.

Don’t have the subject facing away from the camera or out of focus.

Do use lighting that does not cast shadows on the subject.

Don’t make the corporate headshot too dark.

Do dress appropriately for a corporate headshot.

Don’t dress like you are going clubbing.

Do use a solid colored background or one that is not too distracting.

Don’t use a background that pulls focus from the subject.

When you become familiar with the important aspects of corporate headshots, the do’s and don’ts become evident.

Image source: Unsplash

This is an example of a high-quality, professional headshot. The subject is clearly in frame, well lit, wearing professional attire, and the background is blurred so that it does not pull focus.  

Image source: Unsplash

This photo is a fantastic example of an effective corporate headshot. The background is solid, ensuring that the focus is on the subject. The subject looks professional and their tie adds an interesting pop of color. The subject’s expression gives potential clients and employers an understanding of who they are, building trust.

Image source: Unsplash

This photo is an example of a corporate headshot that would not get this woman hired. While the subject is in a professional setting wearing appropriate attire, potential clients and employers cannot see the subject’s face clearly. Do not bother putting a photo like this on your LinkedIn profile or website because it does not reveal anything about you.

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