How to choose the right background?

How to choose the right background?

So, you decided to make the pictures for your website, CV or LinkedIn. Next question is where to do it, right? If you want to find the best background for your professional business portraits, read this short guide.

Step 1. Clarify your goals

The ultimate goal of a good business photo is to show you in the best way. Hence, the most important part of the picture is you, not the background. It might sound obvious but often people see a nice sight or park and make a photo standing close to it simply because it's beautiful. This approach doesn't work in the case of business photography. The goal is to choose the background that doesn't distract attention from your face and ideally helps you to look professional and trustworthy.

Professional business headshot of an expat entrepreneur made in Prague

Step 2. Think about the purpose

How you are going to use the photos after you get them? If you want to make the photo for LinkedIn or CV, bear in mind that the size of the pictures is going to be very small. The background is not going to be visible and in this case, it's better to choose a simple plain wall. If you want to have the pictures for your website, the background will be more visible as soon as pictures will be much bigger. So, you can be more creative and go to the park, co-working space, cafe, business center or any other place to make the pictures.

Professional business portrait of Locus Workspace founder made by Tatiana Shalunova_Headshots Prague-1.jpg

Step 3. Play it safe

Generally speaking, a monochrome background is always a safe, classy choice. It will never get outdated, it will not distract attention from your face and it is easy to find. However, before you start looking for a plain wall, think about the color of your dream background.

Keep in mind that the color of the background can affect the mood of the portrait. The white or light background would create a more cheerful and positive atmosphere. However, the portraits would also look more formal and corporate. Usually, I recommend using such background for LinkedIn headshots.

If you want to create a rather mysterious, moody atmosphere, then consider choosing the dark or black background. Such background would actually make your face stand out more in the photos (if your face is properly illuminated, of course) and make you look like an artistic person. The dark background is bold and unapologetic, choose it when 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 would help you to create a warm, welcoming look. Business photos with such background usually look more authentic and natural.

Professional business portrait of a female coach made by Tatiana Shalunova_Headshots Prague-1.jpg

Step 4. Step out of the comfort zone

If you choose to be adventurous and have the photos that stand out, then make the pictures in the environment. 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 is already stressful enough, so you need to find the place where you feel comfortable, relaxed and powerful. If you have a nice workplace, you can use it for the photo session. Otherwise consider going to a co-working space, park, cafe or even museum, as long as this place feels truly yours. However, if you are not very confident in front of the camera it's better to choose the 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 do you stand for and how your target audience wants to see you. Then choose the place that helps to tell your story to the viewers.

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

Professional business portrait of a female UX designer made by Tatiana Shalunova_Headshots Prague-1.jpg

Step 5. Watch out for the troublemakers

There are certain elements of the environment that are hard to use in the right way on the background. For example, active graffiti on the walls and other prominent patterns, old-fashioned wallpapers, dirty production facilities or abandoned buildings, etc. It is possible to make good pictures even with such details, but it is more complicated.

If you have any doubts regarding the background, contact me and we will find the best place for you!

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