Corporate portraits, better known as "headshots" because of their close-up style, are the most conservative of the various headshot categories. It is key for all types of headshots to reflect the industry and the personality of the subject. While theater and music industry headshots can be the most creative and dramatic, corporate portraits generally are the most conservative. However, this doesn't mean that they should ever be stodgy or cookie-cutter in format. Corporate headshots can be created using a variety of backdrops and angles to create professional and flattering portraits.
Corporate Headshots: Natural Light and Natural Backdrop
These examples photographed in the lobby of a large office building with a ceiling of glass utilize only natural sunlight with reflectors and diffusers to manipulate the light. They feature a more contemporary feel, while maintaining the professional look that is required. The horizontal and square formats further modernize the image and are more flattering because the negative space frames the subject. Note that for professional shots, I ensure that lighting on the face is always uniform; this isn't the venue for dramatic shadows.
Gear: Canon 1DXmarkii, Canon 200 f/2.0L shot at f/2 (I LOVE the compression it offers and the way that it makes any background melt away), Gitzo Series 3 Monopod, RRS MH-01 LR ball head, Profoto 47" diffuser, Profoto 47" silver/white reflector.
Corporate Headshots: Studio Lighting and Backdrop
Some companies require a uniform look for all their employees, particularly if the images will appear together. In this case Profoto studio lighting with soft boxes provide consistent and flattering illumination. Backdrops can be black, solid white for a high key effect, or textured. My preference for the most flattering corporate photos is a handpainted medium grey canvas roll. The camera angle and position of the subject can be tweaked to be most flattering to each person and to offer a slight amount of variation to a set of images.
Gear: Canon 1DXmarkii, Canon 135 f/2.0L shot at f/2.8, Gitzo Series 3 Tripod, RRS BH-55 Ball head, Profoto B2 pair of lights with soft boxes, Profoto Air Remote TTL-C, Monfrotto Light Stands.