Since the recession I have noticed a slow change in the styles of corporate photography. My hope is that all my current and potential clients move away from the traditional style of very studio and posed portrait photography and start to move with the trend towards more natural office based corporate headshots. This is sometimes called reportage or environmental photography. Corporate companies have began to swing with the general mood of the coun- try that we are all having to cut back or at least be seen to be reducing costs. Natural corporate photography taken in offices looks less expensive than studio based photography. It is often around the same on a cost basis but the general impression is that the client has not gone to any great expense ie they have not even left the office. My slant on this is that this style of natural 'real loca- tion' photography gives an authenticity to the portrait and will actually look better than a studio portrait.
Most of the corporate portrait photography on my blog is this environmental style and clients will commission me to do their corporate shoots on the fact that they like this style. But when it comes to discussing how we are going to shoot their corporate headshots quite often they revert back to the more traditional style.
Start up businesses and individuals all tend toward the informal and more re- laxed style of corporate portraits. One emerging market is profile photos for LinkedIn. This is a really interesting medium as clients see their profile as a very unique way of marketing themselves outside of the company they work for and therefore have freedom to utilise the corporate portrait to show them- selves in a positive and interesting way.
A recent example of this is two of the portrait commissions I undertook today for clients in London. The first was for a barrister that wanted to take control of her marketing and the image that potential clients were getting of her prior to meeting her. She had a old rather poor studio portrait that was being sent out to potential marketing clients. She wanted a portrait that would suggest she was contemporary in her outlook and approachable but still had a very strong knowledge of the legal areas she worked in.This can be because it is a big cor- porate company and they only need to replenish their library of staff photos with similar style shots. Or they have seen what their competitors are doing and if they are still doing the traditional then that is often what I have to shoot.
The second commission was for a fund manager in The City who needed some informal portraits for global pitches and for social media. I did a variety of shots with him but kept the portraits very relaxed and used mainly natural light inside his office environment.
New businesses see themselves fresh to the corporate sector and actually feel they need to project themselves as new and cutting edge. Some of these commissions are the most enjoyable to work on as the company has no set ideas of corporate photography and generating new and exciting images with them is the most rewarding part of corporate photography for me. If you are able to capture a feel for the what the company is about in their photography it is a very beneficial way for them to market themselves. It gives potential cli- ents a very quick impression of the company and makes the bridge from po- tential to new clients.
Corporate portrait photography is going to change even more in the near fu- ture. I see the birth of new websites like About.Me a really interesting way in which corporate clients will start to push these sites as complete CVs. About.Me is a site that allows you to profile all your interests, social media links and your own company sites etc, but it does encourage you to use large portraits of yourself on the opening page. These are full screen portraits so you cant use poor portraits here- you must have something decent that shows you in a good light and relates to your profession and your unique selling points.
If you would like to see or learn more about my work please visit my corporate photography blog.