By: Michelle Kaffko
We’ve all heard the saying, “put your best foot forward,” but I think that saying should be changed to, “put your best FACE forward.” In reality, many of our business contacts we meet virtually first or never meet in-person. Usually all we have to go by to see their face is their LinkedIn photo or a tiny Facebook profile pic. That’s why I’m going to give you a peek behind my camera lens and discuss why as marketing professionals we need to take a fresh look at your staff bio pages to determine what they are really conveying, to ensure they are working strategically for your brand. In addition, and maybe more importantly for every marketer’s mental health, I hope to help you combat the issue of receiving a fuzzy headshot from 10 years ago, because… just no.
It’s necessary to think about the importance of staff bio pages. If you check out your Google Analytics reporting, some of the most visited pages are normally “meet the team,” “about us,” “our staff,” etc. Potential customers, leads, and talent are interested in learning about the people who work at your organization, reading their stories and gathering information about what they do at the company. Because after all, people are the heartbeat of any organization. If your staff bio page is not putting its best face forward, you could be losing out on potential opportunities simply because your bio photos are not as professional as they could be.
My goal as you read this is to give you the tools and tips to strategically step up your organization’s headshot game.
First, let’s talk about your organization’s brand identity. We’ve all seen those websites that have a hodgepodge of headshots in the “meet our team” section. One dude has on a Hawaiian shirt while another is someone’s head that has clearly been cropped out of their wedding photos. This, undoubtedly is not what you expected to get when you asked everyone for their most recent headshot, and I’m sure it does not properly reflect your brand. However, don’t fret if this scenario describes your organization. This is 100% fixable!
On the subject of brand identity and cohesive headshots, the first thing as a marketing professional you need to do is decide what you want the look and feel of the headshots to be. Here are some starter words to get you thinking: stiff vs. relaxed, informal vs. formal, outdoorsy vs. office, biz casual vs. biz professional. Write out a three sentence statement that explains the feelings and emotions you would like the headshots to communicate when someone sees them.
Once you have decided on the look and feel for your organization’s headshots, let’s move onto clothing and posing, which should also match your brand! For example, if you have an auto repair shop, shoot your team in their natural environment and in their work clothes. This conveys industry authority and gives your target audience a look inside your team’s day-to-day. If you are planning headshots for a pharmaceutical company, a dermatologist, or financial sales rep, your clothing and poses will all be different. However, it’s important to come up with a plan. This will help the photoshoot day go smoothly and your co-workers will know what to expect, which puts everyone’s minds at ease. (For inspiration, check out some different poses, clothing and background options here.)
By this time you should have picked out a photographer you want to work with, communicated details on your brand identity and chosen dates to offer to your staff. Now that your prep work is complete, it’s time to schedule (cue the trumpets), staff picture day!
- If staff picture day is going to send shivers down the spines of your employees, here are some ways you can put together a day that will put everyone’s minds at ease.
- Send out all staff communications with all details for picture day, so nothing catches them off guard. Nothing freaks people out more than being told they’re going to have their photo taken and not knowing what to wear. Include details like the look and feel your organization has decided on, options for approved clothing, and makeup tips (e.g. don’t overdo it!).
- Create an online sign-up form that enables your co-workers to pick a timeslot for their photo. There are lots of tools and apps you can use for this, like Doodle and Sign Up Genius.
- Consider hiring a makeup artist and/or hair stylist to provide touch-ups before the shutter clicks. I promise ladies and gents will love this! It takes the pressure off everyone trying to look perfect, and they’ll be much more relaxed for their photo.
- Let them know that the photographer will slightly retouch photos as needed. We don’t want anyone calling in sick that day because they woke up with a pimple.
- Send reminders and updates as they become available, such as how early to arrive, where to meet and who to check in with. Remember, getting a photo taken is not most people’s favorite thing to do and they will need reminders to get it done.
Next up, it’s the big day! You’ve done your prep work, communicated details, and now it’s time to run the show. You’ll need to arrive early with your designated helpers to show the photographer where to set up. Make sure you get your headshot taken first to test the lighting and background, and to ensure the decided look and feel is achieved before proceeding. From there, it’s all about staying organized and staying on time! The last thing you want is someone waiting for 30-minutes past their scheduled time.
Ta-da, picture day is complete! Celebrate with a glass of champs, but the work is not over yet. Talk with your photographer about when you can expect photos and update your staff on the expected date. Once you receive all the files, organize them in a way that staff can easily find theirs on your company server, and send out directions on where to use their new photo, and most importantly, how to update their photo across all platforms. I know we’ve all run into that person who is not very tech-savvy and doesn’t know how to update their LinkedIn profile.
As a marketing professional, your job will then be to update all marketing mediums with the new headshots: think website, flyers/collateral, email, in office photos and more. Create a checklist of where all the headshots live, and start updating them.
Ok, before we wrap this up, let’s touch on the person who had the flu on picture day or how to get a photo of the newbie you hired three months later. Work with your photographer in advance to decide upon a solution for these scenarios. Options include writing into the contract that the photographer will return once a month or once a quarter to snap additional headshots as needed, or maybe the photographer can create the same look/feel in their studio and you can send your new hires there as needed. Whatever works best, just make sure it is worked out in advance so no one is scrambling later!
I hope you are now ready to strategically tackled your company bio and capture the best employee headshots! I promise it’s not as hard as it sounds, and it will be totally worth it for your company brand.
About Organic Headshots
Michelle Kaffko has been running Organic Headshots since 2005, taking corporate headshots and executive portraits for thousands of Chicago area professionals. Organic Headshots gets down to the root of why someone needs a headshot and for what purpose, enabling them to deliver the best product possible for all of their clients.