Business portraits

March 11, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

From time to time I am asked to take business portraits of individuals, board members, even entire companies.  For many, even the thought of having a business portrait taken is daunting and unlikely to be top of your ‘things to do’ list.  Indeed it may be something you persistently relegate to the bottom of your list!

Here’s the thing, I believe business portraits are an essential tool for connecting with your potential and existing customers.  With several years (I don’t wish to count!) experience in marketing and the past seven years running my own successful photography business, I’ve been able to observe how business individuals present themselves to the outside world – with varying degrees of success!  Ask yourself this, when browsing the web for a product or service, how does your gut feeling behave when you come across ‘the face’ behind a business.  For me, there is automatically a personal connection, could be positive, could be negative!  Thoughts like ‘do they look professional?’, ‘do they look trustworthy?’, ‘do they look like they could do the job I want them to do?’ all run through your mind.  Assuming the product or service integrity is there, I will nearly always go with the company that seems to have REAL people working there, people that I feel I can trust.  With the current economic situation trust has never been a more significant factor in choosing how to spend our money.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re working in a large multi-national, a medium sized company, a small business or starting out as a sole trader, having a decent business portrait of yourself can make a big difference when it comes to giving your business a personality and point of difference.  Your business portrait might appear on the website, in company literature, in the press, on a business card or other promotional material, it might even find its way on to a 6ft event banner! (yes really – not for the faint hearted).

The tradition for senior level individuals has been to have fairly formal head and shoulder shots.  This is not necessarily the case these days.  From board level through to business start ups, customers increasingly expect to see a more personable image.  Relaxing a little doesn’t mean you’re going to look unprofessional, it may actually give your customers the confidence they’re looking for to put business your way.  Don’t feel you need to look directly at the camera all the time, looking at another colleague, newspaper or piece of work can still looks professional.  Generally speaking, for those with a specific skill such as private tutor, handbag designer, carpenter, caterer etc. a fairly close crop of you doing your job can be particularly effective.

So let’s assume you’ve decided to move ‘have my business portrait done’ to the top of the list – great decision!


  • Agree a shoot location with your photographer, one that you know you’ll feel comfortable with.  If it’s in a public place eg. a hotel, cafe or similar, then choose one where you can feel anonymous.  If it’s in your workshop, design studio, office etc. then make sure it looks tidy.  Having things in the background of a portrait shot is fine if you’ve chosen them to be there to add context to the shot.  General clutter in the background doesn’t look good and is distracting to the eye.
  • Give careful thought to what you will wear – what image do you want to present to your customers?  Remember it’s important to feel comfortable on the day so avoid anything that will have you itching, stretching, constantly pulling down/up or generally annoying you!
  • Check the calendar – ideally you want to arrive feeling as relaxed as possible, so try to avoid squeezing a million things in before or after the shoot on the same day.  If you mind is whirring, thinking about things you haven’t done, need to do urgently or wish you hadn’t done, it’s possible you’ll look distracted in your pictures.


  • Experiment with different poses, some looking at the camera, some not – this will give you a good selection of shots to choose from
  • ENJOY YOURSELF!  The shoot doesn’t need to be serious all the time, plus laughter is great for relaxing those facial muscles!

Here are just a few of the business portraits I have taken over the years.  If you have a story about a business portrait you’ve had taken, I’d love to hear from you!  As always, thanks for visiting the blog, come back anytime!


business portrait

board director

business portrait

housing society board members

business portrait

designer and business start-ups

business portrait

private tutor

business portrait

farm management company

business portrait

country inn and restaurant owner


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