Monthly Archives: November 2011

5 Reasons for a Great Business Portrait


  1. Social Media: Are you a member of LinkedIn or Facebook, Google+, Twitter or any number of online groups? You’ll want to present yourself as a confident and capable professional. This is the impression a professional portrait can deliver.
  2. Business Cards: Many corporate business cards feature headshots. Your driver’s license photo would do, but is that how you want to present yourself to clients and colleagues?
  3. Press Releases: Executive portraits are often included with press releases. You’ve won an account or a promotion. You need to look your best, and only a portrait by a professional photographer will do.
  4. Newsletters, Company Publications and Advertising: Does your company or organization have newsletters or other publications. Frequently these incorporate photography and business portraits. Think about the image you want to convey with your portrait.
  5. Finally, Company Websites: Often, but not always, portraits are included on company websites. Sometimes there is a group photo, to say “we are a large organization we can handle your account.” Other times it is individual portraits of the partners, principles, salespeople or everyone.

Portraits on location

What ever your reason for needing an executive portrait or business Portrait, finding a professional photographer is not difficult. If you search Google or Bing using the phrase “executive portrait” and include a city or state name, the search should bring up plenty of photographers to choose from. Next look at their work to see if it is similar to what you want. Talk with the ones you like. Find out what they charge. Ask if they have a studio, how long have they been in business. Find out who are their other clients. You’ll want to select a studio that has a solid history and will be around for a while.

Establishing an ongoing relationship with a photography studio has benefits. You don’t have to search for and price several photographers every time you have a need another executive portrait, You will have confidence that the photographers you have already chosen can produce a quality product.  By choosing one studio for your ongoing executive portrait needs, you’ll also get a consistent “look” for all the portraits.

Executive Photographed in the studio

Executive portraits come in many flavors, from a simple head and shoulders shot on a plain or mottled background to high production value environmental portraits. Portraits can be shot at your facility or at a photo studio. Expect to spend more for more complicated shots or backgrounds. At our studio, we charge a little more to shoot on location, because it’s more work.

Carefully choosing when to schedule a shoot can save you money. A sales or board meeting is a good time to schedule a shoot because many portraits can be done with one set up. We offer discounts when shooting more portraits per session. Environmental portraits (portraits taken on location) can range from modest to high budget affairs. Executives are often pressed for time, and we can set up lighting and composition in advance so they need only step into the set and spend a few minutes. Make-up stylists can also be an important aspect of a portrait session, offsetting the extra expense. Environmental portraits shot with available light or with minimal supplementary lighting offer a budget conscious alternative. Work closely with your chosen photographer to identify cost conscious ways to get the executive portraits that your company needs.

Studio Rental Math

There are many fewer studios in metro Detroit than there were a few years ago, because there is less work. We still have a studio, but I’ve wrestled with the idea of not having a studio. In other areas, notably the East and West coasts, some photographers have studios, but it’s not uncommon for a photographer to rent a studio just for shoot days, and include it in their bill. I don’t know the reason, but in the midwest, or at least in Metro Detroit, the business model has always been, except for car photography, studio rental is included in the fee. This makes it a little more difficult, but not impossible.

The overhead for our studio is about $32,000 a year. We rent our studio for $650.00 / day. Unless you shoot in studio a lot, you may be better off renting, even if you can’t bill the entire rental fee. You only have that overhead when your shooting. In addition if you develop a relationship with a studio and you rent there often you could likely bargain them down a little.

Automotive studio photographyWorking in the studio is about 90% of what I do. That’s why I’ve chosen to have my own. We rent it out to help with the overhead. The day may come when it no longer makes sense, but it hasn’t come yet. How does it work for you?