As your firm grows, having portraits taken of team members gets more complicated. It also gets expensive and takes a lot of coordination. If you have offices in different cities, keeping the portraits consistent is a real challenge. Here are some common “How To” questions and answers:
How to Get Started
Many law firm marketers know Gittings. They position themselves as the turn-key solution for multi-office portrait shoots. They have procedures in place so portraits stay uniform, and schedule multiple shoots in specific cities to help economize. They do great work but are not always the perfect fit for every firm. Optionally, agencies like Clockwork can help, or you can do more of the coordination yourself. You can hire local photographers in each city, although this takes more time and oversight to make sure the images stay consistent. If you go this route, check that the photographer is experienced with corporate portraits (not still life, landscape, product, etc). If you hire a wedding photographer, review their portfolio and look for more formal portrait examples. Their portfolio should show their ability to light subjects successfully and correctly, proving they can match your existing lighting style. Even if they have examples of corporate-style portraiture, it’s still best to confirm they have the equipment and lighting that are needed. (See below for two sites you can use to find photographers in different cities.)
How to Keep Backgrounds Consistent
An easy way to keep backgrounds consistent is to first have photographers shoot subjects against a bright white background. Then, have the portraits stripped into a consistent background in Photoshop. If you don’t know how to use Photoshop, no worries. We can help, or there are lots of online retouching providers who can do the silhouetting and compositing for you. Always try to use the same retoucher for this step, again for consistency. For websites we design, we often shoot each team member against white and strip them into a universal background, or a set of background images that work together, visually. The background can be a color, a photo (such as a soft-focus window or abstract image), or a series of photos for variety (like different office interiors or exteriors.) See below for a few examples:
How To Find Photographers
How to Estimate Costs
Portrait photography prices range widely. I’ve seen prices from as low as $150 to as high as $1,000 for a single portrait. As is the case with most services, costs are typically higher in large cities like New York and Boston than in smaller towns. If you need a lot of portraits taken in one office location and can group them back-to-back on the same day, it is most economical. The time it takes a photographer (and crew) to travel to your office, set up lights, and take test shots, is significant and makes taking a single portrait extremely expensive. Most photographers will give a reduced rate for a full-day shoot, and can often take 20 portraits or more in a day. Note: Although some photographers still have studios that your team members can go to, the majority will come to your office and set up in a large conference room or other space. High ceilings and open floor space are crucial.
How to Make Sure the Shots are Great
If people are not happy with their portraits, it can be a real problem. It always helps to have a professional art director coordinate and manage your portrait shoots. I regularly oversee shoots, find local photographers, obtain bids and negotiate fees, review design requirements, discuss locations and backgrounds, hire makeup artists, as well as handle the scheduling for each portrait. Clockwork is always available to help make your portrait shoot a success — just give us a call!