The best medical professionals are passionate about the science and practice of their areas of specialty. Patients want to know you have expertise and want to feel reassured they will receive the best care.
But patients are almost never as passionate about your field as you are. And they might even be freaked out about it. For instance, I’m sure my optometrist finds this wreath of eyeballs a charming nod to the Christmas season. But I’m surely not the only patient who thinks it more appropriate to Halloween! Yikes!
From billboards showing anatomical sketches of dental implants to LASIK practices wrapped in a giant photograph of an eyeball, medical professionals often take love of their practice too far. Remember that patients are often nervous about procedures and seek comfort more than medical facts.
Most small businesses feature pictures of their team on their websites, social media platforms or even in their physical location. When customers see pictures of the business owner or your team, they will associate the quality of the picture with the quality of your business. Everything is marketing!
With the popularity of selfies and casual smartphone photography, it can be difficult to get professional headshot photos of your team. Here are some simple tips for taking great headshots:
- Don’t take a selfie. Even if you can’t hire a professional photographer, ask someone else to take the photo for you.
- Plan the background. The background of a headshot photograph shouldn’t be distracting. Avoid backgrounds that contain other people or traffic. Easy background choices include brick walls, an interior wall painted a simple color, trees, or other non-distracting natural elements.
- Think about lighting. For most headshots, it’s fine to use a smartphone or consumer-grade camera, as long as you have good lighting. Ambient daylight will make for the best results, so have fun taking your photo shoot outside.
- Take the photo straight on. Unless you have an artistic vision that uses unique angles, take the simple approach of having your photograph taken at eye-level, while looking at the camera.
- Stay focused. Make sure the camera is focused on you and that the picture is clear and sharp.
- Look the part. Plan your wardrobe, do your hair and smile!
- It’s great to be quirky, but have a purpose for the composition. Think of settings that are relevant to your brand personality. If you don’t have a lot of time, classic portrait approaches are always great for professional headshot photography.
- Ideally, the photos of your entire team will complement each other. Using similar angles and backgrounds will reinforce customers’ impressions that you all collaborate.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look at some examples.
Examples of Good Headshot Photos
Incidentally, this is my professional headshot, taken by the amazingly talented Laura Poland of Reflected Spectrum Photography
Examples of Bad Headshot Photos
By following these tips and putting in a little extra effort, your small business will have team headshots that represent your brand.
A photograph is only worth a thousand words if you pick the right one for your marketing message. Here are examples from three photo shoots I have done for clients that we now use in their marketing campaigns.
Show your product in action.
Use a photo to tell the story of your brand and how it benefits your customers. TriState Water Works provides Prompt and Proven Sprinkler Service so that customers can enjoy lush lawns and beautiful gardens throughout the summer.
Rivet your audience.
Unique, dramatic or beautiful imagery will draw customers’ attention and interest them in your brand. Paramount Lawn + Landscape offers customers the beauty and drama of architectural landscape lighting, with the added benefit of security. For this product in particular, the photograph does more to encourage the sale than any marketing copy ever could.
Featuring people or animals is especially effective for small businesses that primarily provide services. This photograph for Grady Veterinary Hospital conveys happy, healthy pets and compassionate, understanding care.
Here’s something to avoid: clichés. Stock photography clichés like a woman wearing a telephone headset or a family holding hands and smiling cloyingly at the camera are completely useless for communicating marketing messages. Customers are so accustomed to seeing these images that they have become meaningless. I won’t even include an example stock photo image, because it might cause you to skip reading this paragraph entirely.
Finally, high-quality, professional photos are much more effective than ones taken by an amateur with a smartphone. Professional photographers know how to tell a story with their camera and capture your brand’s benefits to best effect. Choose a photographer who understands your business goals and brand personality.