Shooting Faces: How To Create Standout Business Portraits

Business portraits are becoming more popular as a marketing tool for professionals. Some people add them to their business cards or work websites to increase the chances of getting hired for a job. Because of its importance, knowing how to create business portraits that stand out is a useful skill for photographers.

Here, a professional photographer in Dubai shares a few tips that will help you create these winning images.


Know your client

The initial meeting with the client will help you get to know your client, their industry and the purpose of the shoot. Know what your client wants to achieve with the business portrait. Will they need it for the company’s website or add the pictures on a business card?

If your clients are clueless or unsure of what they want, show them some samples of your photography work or suggest a few ideas. What they say or reveal during the initial consultation meetings will give you an idea of what you need to do to get the job done.


It is also important to find out what the client is comfortable with when it comes to shoots. Is the person comfortable with cameras, flashes and posing? How they answer this question will let you know where you can hold the shoot, what tools you may need to bring, and possible poses for the client.


People are not typically comfortable posing in front of a camera. You may need to direct them on how to stand, what to do with their arms, or even what type of smile would look good on camera.



Choosing the right clothing can help make your subject stand out from the background and the rest of the image. However, you will need to be careful that your subjects do not wear clothes that are too distracting.

With conventional corporate shots taken inside an office, a suit and tie in a dark solid color would be more appropriate. For a landscaper, you may have more leeway when it comes to colors and patterns. When photographing an entire group, choose clothes and colors that work together but still allow each individual to stand out.


Adequate source of lighting

The amount and quality of lighting will affect the quality of the image. Shooting inside a studio makes it easier to produce corporate portraits as you have better control over the lighting conditions. The problem with shooting outdoors is that you have a finite amount of time to shoot and the quality of the light changes with time. This will challenge you to work quickly.

An alternative is to use the client’s office or look for another office where you can set up the shoot. Either way, photographers need to stake out a good location for the shoot and see what tools are needed to get the job done. Have an alternative venue ready just in case there are issues with the first site.


Use ambient light as much as possible and avoid the flash. Camera flashes can produce extreme levels of contrast between the light and dark areas. In addition, camera flashes can make some subjects feel uncomfortable or frightened.

When shooting indoors, a few basic tools are needed: at least two softboxes or umbrella lights stands plus a reflector. Playing with these tools can help give you the desired lighting effects without producing harsh glares or shadowy areas in your image.


A good background

When doing business portraits, photographers have the option of using a clean background, an office, going outdoors or using the client’s work environment. Shooting outside a studio may pose additional challenges but this will allow you to become more creative when it comes to choosing a suitable background for your subject. Using the client’s work environment as the background for the image helps tell the story and gives people a better idea of what the subject does for a living. For instance, if your client is a florist, you can use the flower shop’s façade as the backdrop for the portrait.


When shooting on location, photographers need to make sure that the area does not look dirty or cluttered. Dressing up the venue may be necessary to achieve the look that you want. Remove any distracting elements such as wires, plugs and sockets. Prepping up the venue also reduces the need to do some heavy post-processing of the images.

These are only a few tips to help you create memorable business portraits. As a photographer, you will need to experiment with different techniques and see what works for a particular client or scenario. Always remember that the objective is to produce professional portraits that speak of the person’s personality while still remaining appropriate to their chosen profession, career or industry.



Barry Morgan

Barry is the creative force behind Barry Morgan Photography, which is a corporate photography company based out of Dubai. He firmly believes you should love what you do and do your best. Originally hailing from a background in advertising agencies, he now brings his business experience to create exceptional and effective marketing photography to help businesses achieve their goals.

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