When was the last time you had a professional photograph taken of you and all of the members of your law firm? Like an estate plan, photographs need to be updated every few years. You don’t want your clients coming to your office expecting to meet a 25 year old when the photo was taken fifteen years ago. Is that an exaggeration? No, it is not.
A quick look online makes the case for this. Poor lighting, odd items in the background and lamps and plants sticking out of people’s heads are clues that they did not consider their own photograph important enough to have it done professionally.
If you think no one notices how old your headshot is, think again. For men, the pattern and width of a tie is a dead give-away. For women, hairstyles and clothing provide the needed clues.
Here’s one we often hear: “Can’t you just Photoshop that out?” Yes, we can remove the background and replace it with something more appropriate, but it takes a lot more time than you would think. And even if the background is cleaned up, there is still the matter of how the photo is lit and where shadows fall. Yes, we can fix the texture of your hair, but after a certain point, you start looking less like you and more like a computer-generated avatar.
Lawyers are often surprised at the amount of equipment in a photo shoot or at a video studio. It really does take that many lights and reflectors and more to capture you in a way that is both honest and flattering. We do it every day in our lawyer videos. We want you to look like the best possible you, and that takes skill, experience and a fair amount of equipment.
If it has been four years or more since you and your team have had professional headshots, it’s time. A few suggestions:
Have a professional photographer come to your office so everyone’s photo can be taken at the same time. You will get a better price when there are a number of people being photographed at once.
Go to other estate planning law firm websites and look at the photos to get a sense of what you like. Create a guideline for clothing, including colors and necklines. For instance, solid colors will be better than big patterns on ties or blouses. If you are in a formal office, everyone should be in a suit or a conservative dress, but if your office is a little more casual, shirts with ties for the men and blouses for women may be more appropriate.
In-office photo shoots require set up time, sometimes as much as an hour before all the lights and reflectors are in place. Ask the photographer how much time she or he will need for set up and for each individual’s photo. That last part takes time too. Don’t book the conference room immediately after the last photo is taken; it takes time for set up and to pack up everything.
If the entire group is going to the photo studio, don’t go all at once. Schedule individual time slots–the photographer or their office will be able to help you with this. It sounds nice for everyone to be there, but it’s a waste of time for people to sit around waiting for their turn.