How to survive having your portrait taken for work

Oh no. You have to have your portrait taken for a new website. Or the annual report. Or the staff handbook. More and more, we're finding that businesses are using their staff as the face of the company online or in print. Many of us don't like having our photograph taken, but we can still make the most of it when it happens. As a corporate photography business we take a lot of staff portraits, so here's our hints and tips for coming out of the session looking your best.

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Getting ready

For many of our female photographic subjects, the first instinct is to rush off and get hair and make-up done professionally. Great idea, just keep your stylist on a tight rein. A mass of bridal ringlets for a corporate shoot ends up looking somehow not quite right. We'd also recommend keeping your make-up to a similar intensity to your everyday look.

An issue for spectacles wearers is that a photographer's lights can bounce off your glasses and obscure your eyes. If you're one of those people who switches between glasses and contact lenses, try to wear your lenses for the photoshoot. But if you always wear your glasses, don't take them off as you'll end up not looking like you. We'll airbrush out the worst of the reflections instead.

If you're having your portrait taken with a group, consider asking everyone to wear clothes from a similar colour palette. The results can look great. And try to get everyone to wear simple, non-fussy styles and patterns too, as this will make you all look more co-ordinated.

Posture perfect

Some photographers take corporate shots by asking everyone to fold their arms. Don't hire a photographer who habitually does this, as it often looks awkward and defensive. When you're talking to a person in real life, how do you feel if they cross their arms in front of you? Exactly. (Caveat: we've done one crossed-arms photoshoot, because the client required it for a very specific reason. But we don't do it as standard.)

So what do you do with those pesky arms? Here are some ideas for how to pose more naturally...

And relax...

Posing in a realistic manner always creates a better, more relaxed portrait. These are some of the ideas our photographer brings with him to a photoshoot:

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Get back to work

Photographing people actually doing their job helps them relax and makes them less self-conscious. We get bartenders to make cocktails, bakers to knead loaves and office staff to answer the phone.

Take a pew

Sit people on a chair and their arms automatically fall into place, making posing easier. Our photographer asks most of his subjects to sit down; he has to crouch but the experience for the subject is far better.

Hold on

Giving people something to hold gives them something to do with their hands. If the prop is something they use for their job, it reinforces their professional credentials too.

Eyes down

Looking at an iPad, folder or brochure helps people enormously when they feel too awkward to look at the camera. We often use props for people who just can't face having their picture taken.

To see examples of portraits by our photographer, Geoff Steen, take a look at our gallery.

Thanks for reading!

Posted by: Jane

About us: We offer creative and cost-effective commercial photography in North Wales.  Geoff Steen, our photographer, specialises in interiors, exteriors and corporate photography.  He has clients across North and Mid Wales, Cheshire, Merseyside and Manchester.  Find out more by visiting our commercial photography pages.