When you’ve decided to get some professional photos taken for your website, CV or LinkedIn, a lot of questions may come to mind. One of them might be about the best location for your photo session. In order to make the choice a bit easier, in this post, we will compare a photo studio environment with any other location and feature all the pros and cons. BUT FIRST THINGS FIRST.

What are your goals?

The ultimate goal of a good business portrait is to capture you in the best way possible.

With this, you’re the most important part of the image, not the background. It may be tempting to stand close to a beautiful park or scenic attraction, but this doesn’t work well for business photography. We want to choose a background that doesn’t distract attention away from your face. Instead, the focus should be on you looking professional and trustworthy. 

Blue and purple portrait of a young woman on dark background

Where will your photos be published?

How will you use the photos after you get them? For example, if you’re taking your portrait so that you can put it on your CV or on Linkedin, keep in mind that it will be displayed very small.  The background shot will not be so visible and it’s much better to choose a simple plain wall.

However, if you’d like to have portraits for your website, the background would be more visible and actually can tell the viewers a lot about you. This is when you can be more creative, spend some time taking pictures in a spacious co-working space, a cozy cafe, a vibrant business center or even a boxing ring!

Now we’re about to jump into more specific details and compare a photo studio environment with any other environment that you can find around you.

Pros and Cons of getting your portraits in a photo studio

The advantages of taking classic business portraits in a photo studio are clear: the space is quiet and private, the necessary lighting equipment is there and, most importantly, clean and simple monochrome backgrounds are always available.

Generally speaking, a monochrome background is always a safe and classy choice. It will never go out of style and not divert attention away from your face. However, keep in mind that the color of the background can greatly affect the mood of the portrait.

A white or light background would create a more cheerful and positive atmosphere while keeping the professional look. I’d usually recommend using such background colors for clean LinkedIn headshots.

But if you’re going for something more mysterious with a moody atmosphere, then consider choosing a dark or black background. These darker background colors can make your face stand out more in the portraits (if your face is properly illuminated, of course) and make you look like an artistic person. Dark backgrounds are bold and unapologetic – they can work well if it fits the color scheme of your website and your goals.

Last but not least, you can always choose grey, beige or pastel colors. These colors help you create a warm and welcoming look. Business portraits with such backgrounds usually look more authentic and natural.

Usually, I work in Atelier Picture, Swan Studio or other photo studios in Prague because they have a wide selection of monochrome backgrounds in different colors. But monochrome backgrounds are pretty easy to find, so if you don’t want to go to the studio you can start looking for a plain wall in your favorite color.

Casual business portrait of male graphic designer at work

Pros and cons of putting yourself out there

As I mentioned before, you can get your photos done in any environment that helps you tell more about yourself. The biggest advantage of having more environment as a background is authenticity. Portraits taken in the environment always look a bit more engaging, personal and special which helps to build more trust and connection between you and the audience.

If you want your professional portraits to really make an impression and tell your unique story, then your environment is key. Here are three things that you need to keep in mind while searching for the perfect location:

1) Make it easy for yourself. The photo session itself can already be a bit stressful if it’s your first time, so be sure to find a place where you feel most comfortable, relaxed and powerful. If you have a nice workplace, for example, you can use it for the photo session. Otherwise, consider going to a co-working space, park, cafe or even a museum, as long as this place truly feels like yours. However, if you are not very confident in front of the camera, it may be better to choose quiet places with fewer people.

2) Think about your values.
Imagine a person sitting in a beautiful old library, how would you describe this stranger? You might say that he or she is traditional or intelligent or maybe old-fashioned and conservative. In any case, your perception of the old libraries would influence the description of the person you see. Usually, places tend to trigger certain associations in people’s minds and you have to be careful with it. Think about your values, what you stand for and how your target audience should see you. Then choose the place that helps you tell your story.

3) Less is more.
Look for places that look simple, clean and appropriate for your situation. Remember that the background is playing a secondary role, as you are the main hero in the photo.

Black and white portrait of smiling woman in a museum

The only disadvantage of getting photos outside of the photo studio is the unpredictable conditions. You would always have to adjust your plans to the weather, traffic, people, etc. Moreover, it takes more time to find a good indoor location and get permission to take photos there. Last but not least, watch out for the elements that are hard to incorporate aesthetically in the background of your portraits. For example, wall graffiti, prominent patterns, old-fashioned wallpapers, dirty production facilities or abandoned buildings, etc, can be distracting. It is possible to take great pictures even with such details, but it would be more complicated. 

Do you already have a place in mind? Not sure if that’s the best location? Get in touch with me and let’s chat about it to set up your perfect photo session! Feel free to check my portfolio and choose the photo session that works best for you! 

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