“Colby is professional (always prepared and on-time) and is a delight to work with. He is kind and gentle, helping those he photographs to feel relaxed and happy, which makes for fantastic photos. His years of experience create a seamless experience with beautiful and original results!” – Siri K.
A business portrait is possibly one of the best returns you can make for your marketing investment. There are many styles of headshots, each with its own advantages and challenges. Studio portraits (individually or in groups, at my studio or using a mobile studio) create the most flattering and polished looks and have the least number of issues, but if you want your business portrait to convey more about you, having it taken in an outside environment might be the best choice.
Outdoor business portraits can definitely make a difference in the tone of your headshot. While the studio portrait is focused on you and only you, the outdoor portrait uses the exterior background to say more about who you are and what you do. For example, you could use a portrait taken in the woods to convey a sense of being in tune with nature or earthiness. Some real estate agents prefer having a house or other property in the background. If you’re in the sports business, you could have a stadium as your background. A downtown developer might want an urban envirnoment. It all depends on what exactly you’d like your portrait to convey.
Outdoor portraits generally look more natural as the background is something that would be more familiar to you than your typical studio background. They can also help set you apart from your competition, especially if the background is unique to your business.
At the same time, this style of portrait is more difficult to schedule, as weather, time of year, as well as the time of day will strongly factor into when and how the shoot can be done. Unlike studio portraits, outdoor portraits run the risk of being rained out and having to be rescheduled, or having struggles with other environmental factors such as wind, humidity, and cold or heat. Also, some times are better than others for taking exceptional portraits: just after dusk, just before dawn, and/or cloudy days. Of course, outdoor portraits can be taken at just about any time of day, but doing so at inopportune timing generally requires additional equipment (for example, in a downpour, we would bring out shelters to keep you covered). Outdoor projects also require finding just the right place to create pleasing portraits. We might also need to do some extra post-processing, as wind-blown hair or a sheen from high humidity might need to be corrected.
Another challenge with outdoor portraits is that creating future portraits with the same look and feel is more challenging. Remember, everything changes with the season: the light, the clothing you’ll be wearing, whether flowers are in bloom, whether leaves are on the trees or in color etc. It’s still possible to create the same effect, but it may take some additional investment (for example, we may need to create a digital background from the original portraits).
So in general, if you want a creative, natural-looking photo with the background revealing more about who you are and what you do, an outdoor business portrait may very well be your best choice. (This would be especially true if your vocation is largely outside.) If, however, you have a lot of people who need to be photographed, a high turnover rate (with a need for future portraits in the same vein), or strict scheduling constraints, an indoor portrait will still be your best bet. If the majority of your business is conducted inside, you can also opt to have an indoor lifestyle portrait created, one where you’re the main subject, but the environment around you tells the larger story of what you do at a glance and without the challenges of an outside portrait.
Many people investing in images for social media will choose to do both styles of photographs. They will get a studio portrait for the avatar or profile image to connect their viewers to a flattering view of what they look like and an outside portrait for when people go to their profile page or business page to get a larger view of them in action.
My recent involvement in the Pellissippi State Community College (PSTCC) has led to an exciting opportunity. PSTCC was founded in 1974 and has since expanded as a technical institute. The school offers various courses that cover much-needed knowledge about applying technology to our society. Specifically I got to help this wonderful institution in their photography department. It is a well-equipped department that aids its students in gaining actual careers in photography. Serving as an expert Knoxville photographer, this past fall I did a critique and grading of student portfolios. This would contributed to their final grades and graduation eligibility. More recently, I discussed with the students the value of professional photography trade organizations for their careers. The students and faculty were great to work with and as a result, Media Technology head Ron Goodwin and associate professior Kurt Esclick asked me to join the advisory board, known as the Business and Computer Technology Advisory Committee. Our first meeting will be this upcoming week.
This committee assists the Media Technologies department helping assess occupational needs. The Media Technologies department includes a degree program that prepares its students for four different media disciplines including communication graphics technology, photography, video production technology, and web technology. As an established photographer, I will be giving feedback on how the program can better prepare the students for the present marketplace. The committee also asks of its members that they review curriculum to offer input where changes are needed. Sometimes new or updated equipment is required. I will also serve as a bridge between the college students and the photography industry. Also, I will provide connections to real job opportunities. As a board member at both the Tennessee Professional Photographers Association and Tennessee’s American Society of Media Photographer, I know the industry very well. This is crucial because it helps the school’s program to stay a useful and tangible route toward employment.
Charlie Garvey, who is currently on the Advisory Board for Pellissippi College, recommended me and said he did so “because of Colby’s photographic expertise, and the fact that he is a full-time professional Knoxville photographer who values giving back to his chosen profession through teaching and service to professional photographic associations that further the craft of photography.” Kurt Eslick thanked me personally and added, “The advisory board serves several different functions. Its members give us feedback about how our program is perceived in the local community. Also we use the members as stakeholders when considering changes to the curriculum. Photography has changed so much and so fast over the last decade that it is hard to keep track of what our students will be up against once they graduate. We depend on advice from working pros like yourself to help us keep the program relevant.”
“Very pleased with my studio business portrait–5 stars. Easy, painless and fast!”–Brian Carmichael
In today’s world of social media and web commerce, your headshot is often the first contact people will have with you and your business team. And as we all know that first impressions are very important, getting the best business portraits for you and your company can make a huge difference.
Typically, there are three types of environments where headshots are taken: in the studio, outside, or as a “lifestyle” portrait. Depending on your business and your portrait needs, it’s important to know the difference and which type of portrait environment will work best for you or your company. The first environment we’ll look at is the studio.
Studio portraits can take place either at our downtown Knoxville studio or in my mobile studio that can be set up at your location. Everything is totally under the photographer’s control—the lights, the posing, the background, etc.—and this allows the photographer to create a very polished look. Studio portraits often create the most flattering portraits possible—more so than any other environment.
Another advantage of the studio environment is that it tends to be the most affordable and the quickest, especially if you are doing groups. Consistency and control allows the photographer to get excellent results quickly that need little editing. If you have high employee turnover, studio portraits are the easiest to reproduce at a future date and have the images seamlessly meld in with the other company portraits you’ve invested in.
Another benefit to studio portraits is that they’re the easiest to schedule and have the least chance of needing to reschedule—you can’t be rained out, the wind can’t play havoc with the lighting gear (or your hair), and there are no random passers-by or other unexpected circumstances. (This is a plus at any time but it’s especially important when scheduling large numbers of people). You can schedule any time we’re available, regardless of what the sun is or is not doing.
Studio portraits have the entire focus on what you or your team members look like. Portraits convey stories through skillful choice of posing, attire, background, and lighting styles. At the same time, you or your brand may need to tell a more complicated story. If this is the case then, lifestyle or outside portraits may be a better choice. The addition of an environment in your portrait can tell an even larger story.
So if you’re looking for a polished studio portrait, where flexible scheduling and timing are important, at the most affordable price, and/or you have multiple portraits that need a consistent look, a studio will be your best choice. If these factors are less important to you and you want to tell an even more complicated story, you might want to consider having your portraits taken outside or having a lifestyle portrait.
Working with Ana Richter to get perfect business headshots.
“Whenever anyone asks me for photographer suggestions, the first name that comes to mind is Colby McLemore. Colby can do it all: events, business headshots, advertising – you name it, he can do it…He has blown me away with he always goes the extra mile…He’s not satisfied until you’re satisfied…When he’s photographing an event, he puts the crowd at ease, and feels more like a close friend capturing a memorable moment than a paid photographer, which results in some of the most candid and gorgeous photos I have seen. I highly recommend…always goes the extra mile for clients to ensure you’re satisfied.” – Anna Richter
Anna was great fun to work with. She has a great eye for detail, a playful sense of humor, and knew exactly what she wanted out of her portrait. I sincerely loved how involved she was in the creative process. I can do great portraits every time, but it really helps when we can work as a team to really get that exceptional one. Anna is just the person to do that. Awesome collaboration! During the day she works as an information specialist at The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. She also happens to be a rock star of a volunteer, currently performing the duties of Vice President of Communications for the Knoxville American Marketing Association (KAMA). I am blessed to be a member on this board and she is always such a joy to be around. The room brightens when she enters a room and smiles.
Ready to schedule your own business headshots or staff photos? Interested in our commercial photography? Contact us at Colby’s Photography. Feel free to peruse our website for more examples of what we do, learn more about us, or read comments from many other satisfied clients. We offer the finest photography for all types of businesses, from small owner-owned and operated to national, multi-location franchises. Whether you’re looking for headshots like the one above or any advertising photography involving people, you need the top Knoxville commercial photographer to take care of your marketing needs. We’re here for you. Let us know if you have any questions!
Professional Photographers of America’s annual convention this year was a blast! It was a non-stop Disney World for professional photographers. ImagingUSA is their annual convention and has been in integral part of the organization from its inception. PPA is the largest and longest-running professional photography trade organization in America, dating back to 1869. More than 29,000 members enjoy the resources, education, and protections provided to them by PPA. I’ve gone to a bunch of the conventions but I can assure you not since 1869!
This year as usual, there was a wide variety of classes, presentations and demos on every subject under the sun. Of these, what interested me the most were the inspirational classes and those that touched on industry trends. I’ve been going to enough of these conventions that the lighting, posing, and business demos and classes just can’t get deep enough quickly enough for my skill set. Not to say that I’m not enjoying and learning from them, because I am. It is now a matter of hoping to pick up a nugget or two and also observing how the speaker conveys their message. I teach workshops to other professional and enthusiast photographers so this is really interesting to me. There are always a few presentations packed with entertaining information like Julieanne Kost, a Photoshop guru, of course!
This year I was hoping to be a speaker at the convention but didn’t get hear about the deadline to apply until it was too late. This year, I’m planning to have everything together so when the time comes I’ll be ready. I’m very hopeful that they’ll accept me, but keep your fingers crossed!
I had been told that the value of the conventions shifts through time and this year it was very noticeable for me. The presentations that had been incredibly valuable for me for so long and helped me become the photographer I am today are having less impact. What is of more benefit for me personally and for my business now is networking with the industry leaders. It was great to reconnect with those who I know, talk shop, get inspired, and get specific feedback from them about how to push my business to the next level. This convention was more valuable because I was able to deepen important relationships with professionals whoI really admire and respect.
PPA’s National Council
One of the highlights of the convention was the first National Council meeting that I have attended. I was voted by my professional peers to be one of the four Tennessee representatives on the National Council. PPA’s National Council directs the vision of the organization, upholds and shapes its by-laws, and elects the board of directors. I’ve always believed in being a volunteer. Volunteering offers the opportunity to give back, to get to know an organization, and understand what it has to offer. I’ve served for the local affiliate and am pleased to now serve for the state affiliate of PPA.
By the time the meeting started, I was about to jump out of my seat with excitement. I felt like a kid in a room with every super hero he knew and a bunch of others he didn’t know. I felt like I must have snuck in. I started talking to those who I already knew and was introduced to loads of others who I would have died to have met in the past. Everyone was incredibly nice and wanted to help in any way possible. The excitement of that room fills me as I type this. I was amazed and still am. Now after the convention, I have a lot more Facebook friends/heroes who I’m still in contact with. I keep feeling as though I get to talk to supermen and superwomen. I’m sure that I’ll eventually find that they have body odor just like me, but for now, I’m ecstatic.
I can’t imagine where I would be in my business without a trade organization like this. I wouldn’t be where I am without active participation at the local, state, and national levels. There are so many wonderful heroes out there who have paved the road, professional photographers who know to create exceptional imagery, are experienced teachers, and know how to show appreciation for their clients. I’m here to tell you, heroes are real!