Article Highlights:

  • Give clear goals for the shoot (tell him/her why you're doing this)

  • Communicate the types of photos of yourself that you like, and don't, and why

  • Send a punchlist of required 'shots'

How to help your photographer, and get the most from your photo shoot

We get asked this on a weekly basis by financial advisor firms (and other legal and expert firms), so it's time we published this.

"We're designing a new site [or have an existing site] and we want to refresh our photography. What photos will we need for the site?"

Depending on the client, these instructions will slightly vary, and we may stress individual versions of particular shots below, but this is a good fairly high-level list of photos we would recommend for most clients / photo shoots.

Besides just the firm's website and bio photos, we always recommend good photography. You can also use these photos for a myriad of marketing applications:

  • From print: Firm one sheets, service sheets, brochures, etc.

  • To digital: Email signatures, content you'll be publishing in the newsletter, content in the blog, podcast photos needed, guest article (author) photos, etc, etc.

Here are the 3 things to convey to the photographer:

  1. Give clear goals for the shoot (tell him/her why you're doing this)

  2. Communicate the types of photos of yourself that you like, and don't, and why

  3. Send a punchlist of required 'shots'

1. Goals for the shoot

Tell them why you're taking these shots and how you intend to use them. For example:

  • We are taking new bio photos of the staff and want to use them in email signatures, the website, and company one sheets

  • These photos are really important - will determine how good they look as a firm.

  • Please make sure the photos are well lit, clear, high res.

2. The Types of Photos I like, and don't and why

For example, for your reference, here is (ashamedly), exactly what I sent out:

This is important - I know it's difficult but I'm hoping to find a way to not highlight my hair-challengedness lol. I've found that specific lighting is way kinder to me than washed out bright light (eg outside tends to be washed out).

Man here are some shots that I actually like of myself lol [link removed] - So check these out and see if we can replicate the lighting where possible. I think the trick is not to wash out the light from the top, instead have light coming from the front towards me like this photo [link removed]

3. Punchlist of Required Shots

I would recommend you give a numbered list of the exact shots you want (don't get complicated, but do be as detailed as you think is helpful).

Things to possibly include in your list:

  • Varying the zoom (zoomed in on face, zoomed out showing whole body)

  • Varying the background (single color, green screen, or textured / nature / office bg)

  • Formal, semi-formal, and play

  • Lighting instructions

  • Location instructions

Example Punchlist:

So my hope is to get the following out of the shoot:

(Let's try for both zoomed in (face only) and zoomed out (showing my full body) of some of these):

1) Formal headshot on a single color background

We will bring 2 suits and formal clothes (dress shirt / pants), I'd like to get some formal shots - basically very traditional, us looking into the camera - preferably on a one-color background (white or light) - so that we can cut it out and overlay it in on the website.

Maybe standing or sitting on a bench facing the camera like david here [link removed]

2) Semi-Formal headshot w/ a pattern / natural / scene background

Maybe something like these shots

3) Semi-formal action shots and/or working w/ someone perhaps..

Me/Us doing things (working w/ client, taking notes, presenting on whiteboard, etc)

4) It would be cool to get videos maybe of #3 as well (short, artsy is fine)

5) Stylish / great looking (not as dressy) shots

The high level goal is to make us look as good as possible for [insert your industry] type clients, specifically: [insert types of people eg - business owners, non-profit directors]

Maybe something like Christopher's here

6) If time, fun shots

Eg - us working out, playing tennis, hiking, yoga, running, cooking...

Obviously if this is too much, let me know I'm just shooting everything out there...

Other photos you may want to include:

  • Team - The entire firm’s team together formal & fun shots

  • Office, Equipment - The office / facilities inside & out.

  • (Only if tools/equipment offer unique value to the client): If you have tools / equipment feel free to photograph those.

Additional (Not Required, yet Value-Added) Photos:

Not required, but we find these provide a deeper connection to the visitor, and can prove as valuable as the ‘formal’ shots above. 

These include: 

  • Personal / Family Photos

  • Interests / Hobbies - Shots of principal doing the things you love (wearing biking gear, with golf clothes, rowing, hiking, etc)

  • "Video Bio Photos" - 5-20 second moving video of each staff member looking into camera (think Harry Potter moving photograph. Make sure your web/digital team is on board first.)

  • Shots of you volunteering / in the community

  • Photos of Awards / Certifications / Partnerships

Finding a Photographer

This is sometimes tougher if you don't have a relationship already. Depending on where you're located, we can make recommendations. If you are looking on your own, we are also putting together some recommendations on how to find a great one, more on that in the coming months.

Hoping this helps you get the best ROI out of your time and investment in these photos.

Kind regards,
Ti