Let’s face it. With more teams being completely remote because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have had to adapt how they maintain their websites and online presence. A good headshot of staff members can be an opportunity to establish credibility with potential partners and the communities you serve.
Sadly, the important task of keeping staff bios up–to–date is often the most time-consuming. It’s relatively easy to update a staff’s text bios and their social media accounts in your Content Management System (CMS). But the harder task is to get good photos of all your teammates.
Part 1: How to capture consistent team headshots
Though having a single good headshot is important, having consistent headshots amongst your team creates a sense of team cohesion and company culture. The photos’ tone should communicate what your organization does and its values.
Is your organization a social justice law firm? A visual branding strategy could be to take all the attorney headshots outside, on the streets of NYC. The photos communicate that they’re locals that have a supportive role in shaping their community.
A photo is truly worth a thousand words. It’s critical to understand how you’re signaling your values through a photo. Should your staff be serious or show their personalities? Brands should define Team Headshot Standards within their brand guidelines that outline what to do and what not to do when it comes to taking team headshots. Think of these Team Headshot Standards as .pdf instructions you can give to a new employee so their headshots can match the already defined team style. These standards are also helpful when you’re launching a new website that requires all new team headshots.
Example Headshot Standards:
- Do take a photo of a straight-on view of your face
- Do get a friend to take your photo (selfies can be too closely cropped or angled)
- Do face a sunny window or take the photo outside during the hour after sunrise or before sunset
- Don’t stand under something that might cast unwanted shadows on your face
- Don’t close crop / have your head cut off (include your whole head in the photo)
- Don’t face direct sunlight which can create too much contrast between the light and the shadow
Team Headshot Standards can be basic photography tips on how to take a good headshot or they can be more tailored to your organization’s specific photo style. For example, our team headshots are full body shots above the knee.
Giving new employees very specific photo parameters will help avoid common pitfalls when they (or someone close to them) are tasked with taking a professional-looking headshot. Knowing all the expectations beforehand can yield better, more consistent results.
Part 2: Post-production templates will save your life
How familiar is this story? You’re launching your new organization website. The proposed website design has headshots of everyone on the team. It looks great in the design comps, but it’s a headache when you actually have to get people’s headshots during the production process.
It might not be a serious recurring problem. If your website’s staff section is truly a nightmare to maintain, it might be a larger question of reevaluating the content strategy on your staff page. If your team is large or has a high turnover rate, it might not make sense to include headshots because of the logical production time-suck.
But there is a solution for those who want their website to include team headshots. It’s to standardize and templatize your production process.
Well-defined Photoshop templates will make it easier to create consistency across your photos. Here are some things you might want to include in your photoshop files.
- Width and Height of the image to match how it appears on the website. This can be a crucial step for achieving a good performance speed
- DPI (dots per inch): A common standard is 144DPI for retina screens.
- Adjustment layers: these layers give consistent brightness and color balance to all the photos. This is a great way to turn all the photos a consistent b&w or have a branded color overlay on them. These should be locked on the layers panel so no one can adjust them easily.
- Rulers to measure key head placement on canvas like:
- Horizontal lines at the top of the head and the chin
- Vertical lines through the middle of the photo to line the portrait up and potential negative space around the photo.
- Export Settings: the format and quality of the image when it exports. These can be set in Photoshop under File > Export > Export as and then quick batch export with all the defined presets under File > Export > Quick Export as JPG
Setting up a good production template with these presets can save you hours because you don’t have to make any design decisions on the fly when you’re exporting several headshots.
That’s a Wrap
Taking a headshot can be awkward initially, but there are some easy strategies that teammates can implement to improve the quality of the photo. No one’s claiming to be a professional photographer. It’s up to you as a team to define standards around headshots so that new staff can replicate them to the best of their ability.
Getting up-to-date staff portraits can be hard for any fully remote organization, but it’s still important to represent your current team online in a consistent manner. It can often be a client’s first introduction to your team. So why not make it a good one?