How to Shoot Corporate Headshot Photography

Do you ever find yourself struggling to capture the perfect headshot for your corporate clients? Look no further! In this blog post, we will guide you through the essential techniques and tips to master the art of shooting corporate headshot photography. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer looking to enhance your skills or a beginner venturing into this field, we’ve got you covered. Corporate headshots are crucial in portraying professionalism and authenticity, making them an essential aspect of any individual’s professional portfolio. By following the strategies discussed in this blog, you’ll be able to create captivating and impactful headshots that will leave a lasting impression on your clients. Let’s delve into the world of corporate headshot photography and take your skills to the next level!

Semi professional headshot

When taking a semi-professional headshot, consider the following steps for a DIY approach:

  1. Preparation: Wear solid, muted colors and ensure your clothing is wrinkle-free. Avoid bold patterns and logos, and opt for a neutral background.
  2. Pose and Expression: Maintain good posture, keep your back straight, and shoulders back. For the expression, aim for good eye contact, a subtle smile, and a “squinch” (a slight squint with your eyes).
  3. Lighting: Position yourself in front of a natural light source to achieve well-lit and flattering results.
  4. Camera Setup: If using a smartphone, ensure the camera is horizontal and slightly tilted downwards. Take multiple shots with different outfits and use a self-timer or ask a friend to help with the photography.
  5. Editing: After taking the photos, use a photo editing program to make minor adjustments and properly crop the images.

By following these steps, you can capture a semi-professional headshot with a DIY approach, suitable for various professional and personal uses.

How to Shoot Corporate Headshot Photography

Corporate headshot lighting setup

Let me talk you through the setup. We’ll start with the background light, which is facing onto the white paper. The most common background for corporate headshots is white, but it’s always a good idea to ask the company beforehand for their preference. You can use a white paper roll, a pure white wall, or a backdrop. For this setup, I am using a white paper roll. The background light sits behind the subjects, facing up onto the paper to provide a pop of white in the background.

The Key Light

The key light is positioned off 45 degrees above to the left. I am using a Bowens 400 with a 1 meter soft lighter as a modifier. This setup gives a nice softbox-style light to the subject’s face.

The Reflector

To fill in shadows on the subject’s face, I have a reflector positioned off to the right. By adjusting the distance of the reflector, I can control the amount of fill light on the shadowed side of the face.

The Rim Light

I have another Bowens 400 with a Pixapro strip box positioned in the corner. This light provides an even distribution of light along the back of the subject’s head, shoulders, and back. To prevent flaring into the lens, I have added a grid and a diffusion sheet to soften the light.

Camera Settings

I am using a Canon 5D Mark II, a full-frame DSLR, with an 85mm f/1.4 prime lens. The 85mm focal length is ideal for portraits on a full-frame camera as it compresses the background and reduces distortion in the face. My ISO is set to 100 for clean images, and my aperture is set to f/4 to ensure the whole face is in focus while the back of the head softens slightly. I am using a trigger attached to my camera to communicate with the background light, ensuring it fires when I press the shutter. The other lights are set to fire when they detect a flash in the room.

Tips for Shooting Efficiently

1. Have a System

With corporate headshot photography, efficiency is key. Develop a system that works for you, where you can bring people in, shoot with them, and get consistent shots in a short amount of time. This will help you get through a large number of subjects within limited hours.

2. Communicate with the Company

Before the shoot, communicate with the company to understand their needs and preferences. Ask about the desired background color, and if they have any specific requirements. This ensures that you can deliver exactly what they are looking for.

3. Keep Consistency in Shots

While efficiency is important, it is equally crucial to maintain consistency in your shots. Ensure that each headshot has the same lighting setup, background, and overall look. This will provide a cohesive collection of images for the company.

4. Use Reflectors for Fill Light

When shooting with a single key light, using a reflector on the opposite side can help fill in shadows on the subject’s face. Experiment with the reflector’s distance to achieve the desired level of fill light.

5. Embrace a Shallow Depth of Field

Incorporating a slightly shallow depth of field can add visual interest to your headshots. While some clients may prefer everything to be sharp, if left to your artistic discretion, a slightly softer background can create a pleasing aesthetic.


Corporate headshot photography requires a balance between efficiency and consistency. By having a well-planned setup, communicating with the company, and using reflectors for fill light, you can shoot high-quality headshots in a short amount of time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lighting setups and depth of field to create unique and visually appealing images.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What equipment do I need for shooting corporate headshot photography?

To shoot corporate headshot photography, you will need the following equipment:

  • A DSLR or mirrorless camera with a good sensor
  • A portrait lens (typically a 50mm or 85mm lens works well)
  • A sturdy tripod
  • Studio lighting equipment (softboxes, umbrellas, or strobes)
  • A backdrop or plain wall

2. What settings should I use for corporate headshot photography?

The ideal camera settings for corporate headshot photography may vary depending on the lighting conditions and desired outcome. However, as a starting point, you can try the following:

  • Set your camera to Aperture Priority mode with a wide aperture (around f/2.8) for a shallow depth of field and to separate the subject from the background
  • Keep your ISO low to minimize noise
  • Use spot metering to ensure proper exposure on the subject’s face

3. How do I pose corporate headshot subjects?

When posing corporate headshot subjects, it is important to convey professionalism and approachability. Some tips for posing include:

  • Ask your subjects to sit or stand up straight with good posture
  • Encourage a relaxed expression and natural smile
  • Have the subject tilt their head slightly and avoid direct head-on angles
  • Experiment with different angles and compositions to find the most flattering poses

4. How should I prepare the subject and the shooting environment?

To ensure the best results, prepare both your subject and the shooting environment before starting the shoot:

  • Advise the subject to dress professionally and in line with their company’s image
  • Ensure proper grooming, including neat hair and minimal distractions (such as jewelry or accessories)
  • Set up your lighting equipment to achieve desired lighting conditions
  • Test the lighting and adjust as necessary
  • Position your subject in front of the backdrop or against a clean, uncluttered wall

5. How can I enhance corporate headshots during post-processing?

During post-processing, you can enhance corporate headshots using image editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. Some common adjustments include:


I hope you find useful my article How to Shoot Corporate Headshot Photography, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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