headshot tips business | Sellwood Cycle Repair | Cary Miller

professional portraits and headshots for local business and entrepreneurs in Portland, Oregon, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Beaverton and Vancouver, Washington. Guy from Sellwood Cycle Repair bike shop.

Headshot Tips Business | Portland Oregon Photographer

It’s not only important to have professional headshots to represent you and your business, it’s also important to match your branding. Working with a photographer that is versatile and experienced with professional business portraits and who understands how to create a look to match your branding needs is something you should take into deep consideration when you decide to update your imagery.

I used Cary Miller, the inventory and sales manager at Sellwood Cycle Repair in SE Portland as an example to give a few tips on how I match a headshot style to my client’s business branding.

Typically, I lean towards high key backdrops for headshots. I love to have a light look and brightness attracts the eye. For Cary’s headshots, however, I took the bike shop’s look into consideration, which uses a lot of black. Although orange and blue are the primary branding colors, the shop uses black in a lot of it’s marketing and designs. I chose to go with a black backdrop to suit the branding, and also because the shop is heavily male based. Black comes across as being more masculine and dramatic and works great with guys and for a bike shop which is geared heavily towards mechanics.

The choice of high key versus low key, background color and studio versus outdoors on location is all based on personal preference, and those are all aspects I take into consideration when designing a professional portrait for a business. In this case, I chose an indoor studio setting for a clean look. My studio setup is a completely mobile pop-up shop which can be setup anywhere on location, by the way.

I paired the low key backdrop with some slightly dramatic lighting… but kept things relatively light in order to maintain an approachable look, with a slight light separation from the backdrop.

In his headshot, you’ll see some light shadowing under Cary’s chin and nose, adding a bit of definition. This is a photographic style and choice made consciously for this headshot in order to create the look and feel I wanted.

One thing I hope all my clients understand going into a headshot session – there is no standard anything. Lighting, setting, background color… all is up to personal discretion. If you have reviewed your photographer’s portfolio, and you like his/her work, you should be able to feel comfortable leaving these choices up to their discretion. If you have a preference on any of it, however, or an idea in your head of the resulting imagery you’d like to end up with, it’s important you discuss these things with your photographer ahead of time. This includes any preference on lighting and shadows. Most all of my clients leave this up to my professional discretion, however, I have had a client in the past tell me they wanted completely flat lighting after I had completed headshots for their entire office (Flat lighting is not my style at all and I rarely ever choose to create on my own. Flat lighting is used in Drivers License photos, passports and mug shots and I find it to be extremely unappealing and boring… however, again lighting choice and background colors are completely up to personal discretion.)

Finally, I asked Cary to wear a solid colored t-shirt. I didn’t want too much color to distract from the image and I didn’t want to dress things up too much.

I love the sleek, clean, masculine and modern look we pulled off. It suits the Portland bike repair shop perfectly.

To check out the shop to get a better idea for their branding and how I matched it, visit their site: www.sellwoodcycle.com

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