For the best results when you work with a professional photographer on a publicity portrait be sure to discuss the layout before not after the session! Cropping and layout shouldn’t be an after-thought.
When we talk with clients planning a publicity, commercial or executive portrait session their questions often do not include layout. Many clients focus on the more obvious, and of course necessary, considerations such as clothing, backdrop and expression. While your publicity portrait can be cropped after the fact, a more artistic portrait can be created if we plan the layout ahead of time. The two most common reasons for a special layout are to make room for typeface in an ad or to fit the photograph into a specific print or web design layout. The most common framing on a headshot is a vertical head and shoulders. However, some social media sites such as facebook or Linkedin have square templates for head shots. Sometimes, to make room for adding type it can be best to have the portrait horizontal with the subject off to one side. Another typical reason for a custom portrait composition is to fit the portrait into a banner on a web site or facebook page. A wide panoramic is not ideal for most portraits but it can work well for an effective commercial or executive portrait if it is planned for and created during the session. We can work with you to create your portrait to fit any custom size or shape. I often make sketches before photographing a client to make sure the composition will fit in the template on his or her web page.
Likewise, if a client’s objective is for a tightly cropped head shot for a brochure or social media usage it doesn’t make sense to crop way in from a broader landscape-formatted portrait. The best quality head shot is one that is photographed as a flattering and well-lit head shot to begin with.
If you’re considering hiring a professional photographer for publicity, commercial or executive portraits be sure to include a conversation about layout and composition in your planning session. Not only will you avoid trying to crop and squeeze your portrait into a use it wasn’t intended for you’ll likely come up with some more creative and interesting portraits. Whether you’re running a print or social media ad, giving a presentation, starting a web site or simply updating your Linked-in page you will present yourself better with a publicity, executive or commercial portrait taken by an experienced professional photographer.