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Black and white or colour portraits? It’s an age-old dilemma and an important consideration when it comes to your corporate photography.

Straight away I will say there is no right or wrong answer here. It’s a subjective choice. But to ensure you get the most out of your corporate photography it is a choice that should be influenced by the wider brand of your business.

You probably have an instinctive preference for one over the other but if you’re looking to be convinced otherwise, here are some initial things to consider.

1. Which style fits your brand best?

This is arguably the most important consideration of all. Which style complements your brand best?

Look closely at your website and social media platforms. Visually, which is most likely going to resonate with your ideal client? Which fits best with your content? Does either style communicate your message in a clearer manner?

View your corporate portrait as you would a client and be honest with yourself, even if that means going against your initial preference. The aim is to pick the style that slots in alongside everything else about your business in the most natural and seamless way.

2. Environmental or studio-style portraits?

I discussed the pros and cons of studio-style and environmental portraits in a previous post and in my opinion environmental portraits are not quite as effective in black-and-white.

Environmental portraits are all about adding to the story – revealing a little more about your brand and values and who you are. The use of colour helps this process.

Removing colour can risk cancelling out the benefit of shooting environmental portraits in the first place. So if you have your heart set on an environmental corporate portrait then I would recommend choosing colour.

3. Do you want to add a little drama?

If so then black-and-white can give you the edge. Ever since birth of film photography it has had a reputation for being more artistic, edgy and, in the right circumstances, more dramatic.

If that is in keeping with your brand then black-and-white is going to be an option you’ll definitely want to look into.

4. If you’re unsure, play safe.

There will always be exceptions but for corporate portraits the industry standard generally leans towards colour photography these days. This is especially true online, where visual impact is key and the benefit of having a splash of colour to stop a scrolling finger should not be underestimated.

Take a look at the websites of your competitors. Unless you have a very specific goal to go against the grain then my suggestion would be to play safe and choose colour portraits, at least in the first instance.

This doesn’t mean you should rule out black-and-white corporate portraits altogether, it just means you may need to think a little more carefully about how you can make this style stand out for you and your business.

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