Business Headshots, Portraits & Lifestyle Photos – San Francisco

Business Photoshoot: Professional Business Headshots, Modern Business Headshots, Business Lifestyle Photos, Business Casual Portraits Bay Area

How To Take Business Headshots, Lifestyle Photos, Business Photoshoot Ideas Women, Men, Business Professional Photos

Business headshots come in all shapes and sizes depending on outlet, industry and what you want to convey. Business lifestyle photography can range so it’s best to know your audience. Below are some tips to consider when getting your business headshot taken including things like backgrounds, attire, poses, crops, orientation, lighting, aesthetics, facial expressions and more. 

Landscape vs Portrait Headshots, Portraits, Professional Business Pictures

If you look up any headshots on the internet, you will get a range of examples. Photos from 10+ years ago can feel outdated, like the infomercials you see on television advertisements.

If you look at more recent photos on photographer sites, they can feel like modeling photos which can feel a bit misleading but also call into question professionalism, reputation and experience. 

It’s important to look approachable yet, professional in your photos. Displaying a sense of a keen business sense yet polished is key. While portrait mode is more classic, landscape headshots have a more modern look and feel to them.

Related: Women’s Headshot Examples

Ashley Ocampo - Founder, CEO Haley's Beauty, Executive Headshot, Woman's Business Portrait Example Pose
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Should You Smile In Your Business Headshots? Business Photoshoot Tips, Business Profile Portraits

There are conflicting opinions on whether one should smile in their headshots. Some would say it’s important to look professional at all times and to look the part of someone who is determined and put together, while others would say it’s important to be approachable.

In my opinion, it matters slightly on the type of law you are practicing as well as where you are in your career. Some people can afford to throw out any rules or expectations once they achieve a certain amount of experience and/or success. Others need to maintain a ruthless demeanor.  

Related: How To Pose For Headshots 

Clothing, Jewelry, Makeup & Hairstyle – What To Wear For Business Headshots?

Classic wardrobes are recommended but a pinch of color can help you stand out from others. Pick outfits that fit well but also complement the background which you will ultimately choose for your headshot. Some law firms require consistent backgrounds, while others are more flexible with your headshots on their firm’s site.

Light makeup is recommended so that photos don’t look too saturated. Make sure to iron clothes ahead of time and make sure to get your haircut 3-7 days in advance as most people take a few days to let their new haircut sync in and be comfortable with their new look or obtain another appointment to improve the cut or go another route.

Related read: Women’s Business Headshot Wardrobe, Makeup, Clothing Tips

Monica Leinke - San-Francisco Attorney Headshot Example, Woman's Lawyer Portrait, Stanford, Berkeley
Environmental Attorney Portrait, Headshot - Law Office Interior, Seated, Sitting Example, Lawyer, San Francisco

Should You Sit Or Stand For Business Professional Headshots? Business Lifestyle Photo Poses

That will depend on the environment as well as desired output of your photos. Some places might not be big enough for one type of photo or the other. Your photographer should be able to make recommendations based on space, lighting and aesthetics.

It will also depend on your subject, their body type and frame, as well as height of chairs and desks and what not. Some people will have a preference for one or the other but regardless of direction or preference, keep in mind the orientation and website requirements as some layouts will favor either a portrait or landscape photo.

Related read: Men’s Business Headshot Outfit Ideas, Tips, Grooming

Backgrounds For Headshots, What’s A Good Headshot Background? Lifestyle Business Headshots

While some firms want the exact same background for all clients, some firms are more relaxed than that. Take a look at Edelson PC. Their headshots are all different but have a business, office background feel across their various office locations.

If having a specific background for your firm is important, it can get in the way for remote employees or those in new offices who might have a harder time replicating similar backgrounds.

One way to make photos consistent is to capture photos in black and white, for example.

Business Headshot, Professional Headshot, Linkedin Profile Headshot Male, Men Pose
Business Professional Headshot, Female Executive Portrait Example, Pose, Hanna Wu Amplify Life Insurance

How To Crop Your Business Headshots – Business Portraits Photography, Business Portraits Woman

There are various ways to crop your headshot, but the biggest factors will be the photo outlet. When I shoot photos, I take both portrait and landscape oriented headshots for options down the road (both are easy for cropping on LinkedIn, which uses a circular crop.

The other factor to consider is how to format photos for various outlets. For personal or business websites, excess space is ideal for landscape photos so that designers can crop the photos and have the photo extend the entire width of the page. 

It’s important to sync with designers, marketing teams for parameters, requirements and the like, but ideally a great photographer can take enough versatile headshots for any outlet. 


Best Colors To Wear For Professional Business Headshots? Venture Capital & Investor Headshots

The best colors to wear will depend on your background, skin tone, hair color and what you want to convey (and possibly what your web designer suggests).

For me, I am a bit more relaxed with rules and constraints and am more focused on making clients feel relaxed, confident and professional. I will factor all these items and review outfits free of charge as I have a vested interest in how the photos come out as well.

If you browse my various headshot and portrait examples, most clients defer to my recommendations when trying to get the most out of their photos.

Related read: Women’s Headshot Wardrobe Tips


NKH Headshot | San Francisco Photographer, Outdoors, Nature Portrait
Male Office Headshot, Professional Linkedin Profile Photo

How To Pose For A Business Headshot, Business Portrait Poses, Examples, Business Profile Headshots

When it comes to poses, there is no universal best pose. The best pose will be determined by industry, seniority, function, outfit, background and what you want to convey. 

As you can see from the above examples and elsewhere on this site, some people look better standing straight ahead perpendicular to the camera (i.e. DMV/Passport photo style) while others look better with an asymmetrical look with others defaulting to slight turns i.e. 5-20 degrees away from the camera.

Anything more than that can feel like a modeling portrait or trying too hard to make themselves appear slimmer.


Should You Edit Headshots? Is It Ok To Use Filters On Professional Headshots? 

I understand the need to look young in photos to avoid discrimination in the workplace, but I strongly advocate against editing photos. 

Photoshopped images are easy to spot and can feel artificial, signaling insecurity or self-doubt. Not everyone loves taking photos but with the help of a good photographer who can guide you through the process, help you prepare ahead of time and help you feel comfortable and relaxed, you should come out with a different perspective around photos and your own appearance.

Outdoor Business Headshot, Female, Linkedin Photo Example, Woman's Executive Portrait Pose
Men's Professional Headshot - Business Lifestyle Photoshoot, Male Corporate Headshots San Francsico, Business Portraits

Business Photoshoot Ideas, Examples, Backgrounds – Business Portrait Background

Even with the same outfit, different poses and backgrounds can change the look and feel of your business photos.

Seated vs standing, headshots vs half-body portraits, office building backgrounds vs city backgrounds, backgrounds and lighting can make a big difference.

If you are not sure about what you need, contact me for a consultation. I specialize in location scouting and can optimize on efficiency and density of backgrounds and locations to pack in a variety of options for your needs.


Men's Attorney Headshot, Male Lawyer Headshot San Francisco, Bay Area, Anuar Ramirez, Golden Gate Law University

Business Lifestyle Photos, Professional Profile Pictures, Modern Business Portraits

The key to obtaining great business photos is to balance approachability, professionalism and confidence.

This is done by having good body posture, dressing up for the occasion, possessing warm facial expressions and taking photos in appealing environments.

When you hire me, I will assess everything from backgrounds, locations, wardrobe, posture, facial expressions, hair, industry, seniority and what you want to convey and who you want to attract in terms of future employees, investors, clients and partners.

Young Female Executive Business Portrait, Example, Pose, Outdoors, San Francisco Photographer
Environmental Not So Corporate Headshot, Young Professional Female Example, Personal Branding

Business Headshots San Francisco, Professional Business Headshots Bay Area, Business Casual Headshots, Portraits

For additional tips on how to take headshots, tips on professional pictures for business, how to pose, what to wear, and background ideas, take a look at this headshot guide for help for both men and women with their professional work photos.

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About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie is a professional photographer in SF w/ clients internationally. He balances approachability & professionalism, focusing on wardrobes, appearance, location scouting.