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ALEX ORROW PHOTOGRAPHY // Photography » Portrait » Is the face of corporate photography changing?

Is the face of corporate photography changing?

The constant online presence that companies are now adopting means that the need for staff to appear friendly and approachable is more desirable than the old style stuffy boardroom corporate image. Making a first and lasting impression is vital in keeping your clients up to date. The ever present website and staff profile page means that the corporate image is now more important than ever before; we see company employees enjoying themselves on Facebook often at charity events, or making new connection on LinkedIn and Twitter. Companies are no longer seen as a single entity but as a group of individuals taking their place online. The representation and use of avatars is very important in that role, no one wants to see the profile image with an anonymous silhouette.

For the past 2 years I have been asked increasingly to provide images suitable for social media websites when undertaking corporate headshot photography. This has meant fulfilling briefs which ask for approachable, friendly and eye catching images of staff. Understanding how Avatars are used is part of this process. An Avatar is an image used to represent yourself on the internet, typically it is used on social media websites such as facebook, twitter etc. Gamers also use them to represent themselves inside a game environment. It is an image which uses simple compositions, bold colours, and good lighting to represent the subjects personality. It also an image which is adaptable to the different sizes allowed by social media sites, and it helps to break the ice to begin online conversations.

Portrait Avatar for Twitter example

The avatar image is usually cropped to a square and some sites will allow you to position the crop where you want and others will do this automatically. So its best to choose an image which works well as a square initially. If you are going to crop the image yourself, its usually also best to crop to an image size no less than at about 180px x180px, most sites will reduce this size. So at least you can start with a better quality size and then let the site reduce the dimesions without loosing any quality. You will also have a file which uploads very quickly. For reference I have provided a some typical avatar sizes used by the common social media websites. Read More >


A professional photographer will be able to create a well lit and composed image which will jump out of the screen. Images need to have a lot of punch. This can be achieved with careful lighting and a good choice of background. If you intend to take the image yourself the best approach is find a location with colour and no confusing clutter. Make sure you face any available light source and then think about how you want your personality to be reflected.

The changing nature of corporate photography is still bound by restraints such as time and budget, but there is a greater amount of flexibility and creativity due to the need for a strong, corporate online presence. Boundaries are being broken through due to the informality of social networking sites, creating a more individualised and friendly corporate face.

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  1. Pingback: Alex Orrow Photographer » Advice on taking portrait for social media avatar

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