Take Great Employee Photos That Won't Break the Bank
By Tim Walker
We recently set out to give our employee photos a face lift. After updating our website we needed some new photos to showcase our employees. In the past we’d taken some pretty generic company photos for use internally. This was an opportunity to not only take some fresh photos, but streamline our website and social media branding.
Hiring a professional photographer and can get expensive. Have no fear! You can take some really great, inexpensive, professional looking photos in the comfort of our own office.
Having a good camera is important. But you don’t need to spend a lot to take quality pictures. You can use a cheap point and shoot or even a cell phone camera. Some phones are better than others. The iPhone or an Android like the LG G4, Samsung Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9 all have great camera and can take good pictures in the right conditions.
Next you’ll want to invest in some inexpensive lighting. You can build some pretty good lights using parts you’ll find on Amazon or any hardware store.
- Light Stand or Utility Light: A stand or clip like this or this can be had for $15 on Amazon. You may even have one laying around at home!
- Work Lights: For lighting you’ll want to pick up a couple of portable work lights like these for less than $10 each
- Bulbs: When you buy light bulbs make sure indoor bulbs that put out a warmer (color) light. These are usually classified either as Tungsten bulbs or by their color temperature. A daylight bulb will put out a bluish light that isn’t ideal for what we’re trying to do.
- Filters: Filtering your lights will help give them a softer, more even glow. You can buy colored gels and a softbox for pretty cheap. You know what works just as well? Wax paper. Simply clamp a large piece over your work light and you're good to go!
Assemble a simple light stand by clipping the work lights to the stand. In a pinch, you can also clip the lights to the ceiling or chair.
Next, you’ll need to find a room. An empty office or conference room will work. Avoid rooms with mixed lighting or windows. Find a place with one kind of light (fluorescent or incandescent…not both) and stick with it for all of your photos.
Make sure the wall is one color and free from any pictures, holes, or other things they will show up in the background. Place your subject several feet from the wall to avoid shadows. Place your lights around the subject so they evenly light his/her face. You can use traditional 3-point lighting
if you’d like, but something simpler will usually do just fine.
Take your photos
First, make sure you set a dress code for everyone who will be taking a new photo. Avoid tight patterns or colors that are too similar to the color of the background or wall.
Take plenty of pictures too! Remember, in the digital age we no longer have to worry about "wasting" film. Get shots from different distances and angles, but make sure you are consistent from employee to employee. This will ensure that each photo looks the same. Also remember to leave plenty of "head room" in your shots. You can always crop photos when you edit them, but you can't add the top of someone's head if you cut it off in the shot!
It is also important to encourage your employees to relax and have fun. This will ensure better smiles and better pictures!
Edit Your Photos
Editing your photos will help you achieve a uniform look. Simple adjustments to saturation and color can really make a difference. I prefer a slightly desaturated look, but the style is up to you! Whatever the style, aim to create natural looking skin tone (not too blue, not to red).
If you're looking for a powerful application Adobe Photoshop CC
is a great cloud based option that comes with tons of tutorials and help for beginners. At $20/mo, it's really a bargain! There are other free photo editors out there such as Gimp
(you can even edit photos on your phone using an app like Snapseed (Android
Old Photo New Photo
Old Photo New Photo
Old Photo New Photo
With a little time and the right equipment it can be pretty easy to create great looking employee photos that will help update your company's image!
What other tips or suggestions do you have for company photos? Let me know what you think! Happy shooting!