So you're thinking about getting a new professional portrait?

For a photograph that most would consider to be one of the most critical to get right, it's surprising just how many people do not consider beforehand what they actually want from a shoot – other than having a professional-looking image at the end of it.

But if you invest a little time into thinking about the how, what, and when, I guarantee you'll have a clearer vision of exactly what it is you want to achieve and the type of portrait you want to come away with.

So here's a short guide I use with my own clients of things to consider before stepping out in front of the camera.

How will it be used?

Company website? Personal website? LinkedIn profile picture? Social media? Brochure? Knowing how your headshot will be used is key and is the starting point for giving yourself a clearer idea of how you want the end product to look.

What is your portrait trying to say?

If you only follow only one of these tips make it this one. Professional portraits should be personal and reveal something about you, whether that's confidence, accessibility, warmth, determination, or anything else. Think about what you want your portrait to say about you and how it speaks to your particular audience.

Which style suits your brand?

You might not know it but your portrait is an intrinsic part of your unique brand and the style you choose will influence this. It could be something as simple as shooting in portrait or landscape orientation or opting for black and white rather than colour. Always consider how your portrait style reflects and supports your wider brand.

Where do you want it taken?

My corporate portraits typically fall into two categories: studio-based (with a clean, plain background) or environmental (within a room, office or other natural surrounding). Studio-based is ideal for that classic, timeless headshot while environmental portraits are perfect for giving an added sense of your workspace – whether that is an office, laboratory, or art studio.

When is the best time?

This one might be out of your control but if not give some consideration to when you have your portrait taken. Going for a new hairstyle soon? Planning on shaving the beard off? Considering an outdoor shoot? With a bit of planning you can make sure your new portrait is current, fresh, and not going to be scuppered by the British weather!

Now you've given some thought ahead of the shoot, have a read of my survival guide for employees which gives tips on preparing for the day itself and also my advice to employers about the value of investing in the corporate headshot.

And if you have any questions about your next shoot or would like to discuss options for a new professional portrait with me then get in touch!