Exceptional Business Portraits Part 4 – Session

It’s time for the shoot.  This is where things can get hairy; we all tend to get a bit uncomfortable in front of the lens, so let’s talk about how to make you look and feel your best when it matters most.

Turns out, photographers have a few techniques to help you relax when the lights go up and the lens points your way.  In this post we’re looking at the things we do during a shoot to make sure your portrait ends up being exceptional.


As with just about everything, it’s all about preparation.  Both you and your photographer should have put forth some effort here.

Your photographer should have a plan / concept for the shoot well before you arrive.  Hopefully the concept was discussed and agreed upon at the time of booking!  If you’re working with a quality photographer, the studio will be set up and nearly ready to go when you arrive for your session.  Your photographer may have to tweak light positions and levels here and there, but over-all, their end of things should be pretty dialed in.

You have a little bit of work to do ahead of time as well; unless you’ve elected to have a makeup and hair stylist on-site, you’ll need to make sure you’re groomed perfectly.  “You can take care of my hair in post… right?” is one of the most sure-fired ways to get under your photographer’s skin.  What would take someone 10 seconds to correct during the session could take 30 minutes to fix in Photoshop.  Portraits are a team effort, and one of your biggest responsibilities is to show up well groomed and dressed as planned.  Also, be sure you’re well hydrated, fed, and rested.  You’ll look healthier and feel more relaxed!

Also, it should go without saying; but be sure to wear clothes that fit!

During the Shoot

There are a few things that generally make a session a success; preparation, relaxation, and teamwork.  We’ve already talked about preparation, so let’s focus on relaxation and teamwork.

As the person being photographed, it’s really easy to get caught up in a prison of awkwardness.  That’s totally normal, and the truth is that I feel the same way whenever I’m in front of a camera.  But it’s also my job to help you get out of that cell.  If you find yourself getting caught up, re-direct your thinking somewhere else.  I try to give my clients a person to imitate or a character to inhabit.  Turns out we all relax when we have a task to do instead of a pose to hold.  Trying to be someone else is a perfect “task” while being photographed.  Maybe imagine you’re the invincible, super-cool CEO of a massive company.  Or perhaps just pretend you’re someone who’s comfortable in front of the camera.  “Fake it ’til you make it” holds true with so many things!

Your photographer should – obviously – click the shutter on the camera, but should also be lighting, posing, and directing you throughout the shoot.  Their job is to create an exceptional corporate portrait; exceptional portraits only happen when the technical and emotional elements work harmoniously.  Your photographer will likely pose you in ways that feel un-natural and awkward; rather than fighting it, roll with it. Fake it ’til you make it.  Though it feels awkward, the photographer will be helping you into the most flattering position possible for your proportions and the shape of your face.  Sometimes this takes a few minutes, so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen immediately.  You guys are a team; stay engaged and work with the photographer.  You probably see the photographer as a bumbling technician, but they see you as clay to be molded and lit.  If you can think of yourself that way too, your photographer will thank you.

Bonus – Our Secret Sauce

Some photographers will send a gallery of proofs or deliver a final image THEY select after the session.  We (Grant Mott Photography) do things a little differently.  We know that business professionals are very time and image conscious, so we show our business portrait clients the images as we work through the shoot.  If there’s something you don’t like about your hair, makeup, outfit, or posing, this gives us the opportunity to correct it  before the session’s over.  It also saves us both time; instead of having to have a follow-up conversation about image selection or (heaven-forbid) a re-shoot, we know that you love your image when we end the session.  If you don’t, we just keep shooting until you do!


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