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How Lawyers can Take Great Photographs

Image is everything. Portraying a professional, successful, and approachable image should play a role in your marketing strategy. Apart from your website’s homepage, the most viewed pages are usually attorney bios. Visual elements such as photographs are essential to your website (and overall online presence) because your potential clients want to see whom they might be working with.

photographer with camera

Make the effort to add images to attorney biography pages and your homepage for increased engagement. Even if a client is not sure about the services or content, a photograph can pique their curiosity and get them clicking throughout various sections of your site. The longer a prospect is on your website, the greater the impression you are making on them.

Startup law firms may think snapping a few images on a smartphone is good enough for their website. “Good enough” is dangerous because your competitors are excelling and going out of their way to create a polished brand. The reality is that a prospect who is shopping around for a lawyer in the area will not be impressed by a firm that seems inexperienced.

If you are hesitant about how to take great law firm/lawyer photographs, hire a professional. If the budget does not allow you to put funds toward a photographer, you can still take high quality, appealing images on your own. Here are some tips to help you get it done right:

smiling lawyer shaking hands

  • Determine the “look” that accurately reflects your firm’s culture well in advance of your shoot. For example, do you prefer traditional headshots or something more creative? Avoid photographing some attorneys at their desk, others from their shoulders upward, and the rest from their waist up. This signals inconsistency. Firm photos, especially bio pictures, should all have the same element in terms of style and format. After all, these shots will not only be used on the website, but across all of your marketing materials.
  • Take your target client into account when choosing imagery for your website. If you are a business attorney, ask employees to wear corporate attire and shoot corporate-style office scenes. Family law firms might opt for a softer approach such as group shots that display a feeling of togetherness. On the other hand, personal injury lawyers may want to appear sympathetic and personable. A compelling image can make a big difference to potential clients.
  • Ensure you have a list of all the images you need by the end of the day to avoid wasting time. There’s a good chance your associates will not be pleased if you request to take photos of them on multiple occasions. Plan ahead by creating a master plan and sharing the details with your colleagues so they can prepare properly in terms of attire, facial expressions, and demeanor. For example, your shot list may include environmental portraits of people in places with a goal of taking four different photos for each attorney; two different executive portraits which are basically the headshots that will be used next to their bios; corporate lifestyle images of your team working in various settings around the office; office/location pictures of the exterior and interior of your office space; additional ad-hoc images if you think a specific visual element or landmark would be useful to your website or marketing materials at some point in the future.
  • Use a tripod. Constantly holding a camera can get tiring and make you impatient. When you are impatient, your coworkers will sense your vibe and it may affect their mood and facial expressions. It may also lead to inconsistencies in your images. Set up your tripod, lighting, and even a static background. The less you have to think about, the more you can concentrate on the composition of images to ensure quality shots.
  • Put your coworkers at ease. Before you start taking photos, engage in a casual conversation by giving them some tips on how to respond to the camera. Some advice may be to sit or stand up straight, relax their faces, relax their shoulders, and to face the camera but keep their bodies turned to a slight angle.
  • Smiles are okay. If your firm is a small, startup business that deals with helping entrepreneurs tackle legal issues, there’s no harm in smiling! In fact, you’ll come across as more approachable and easy-going. Use your judgment, depending on your practice area.
  • Ensure that your attorneys dress to impress. While they do not have to stick with black and white, they should avoid wearing patterns that are too “busy” or thin stripes because these looks do not work well on camera and computer screens.
  • If you are taking company photographs on your own, chances are you do not have a professional makeup kit or the budget to hire a makeup artist. To prevent shiny skin, suggest a bit of concealer/foundation. Males may want to wash their face before they have their photo taken to reduce sweat or shine from showing up on their headshots.
  • Make sure you have one or two fully charged batteries on hand in case the one you are using dies suddenly. If you forget to charge your backup batteries, it can affect your entire schedule.
  • Take serious photos first and schedule candid shots for later in the day. Some employees will need more coaching and motivation because being photographed just isn’t natural for them. Let them know that this is completely normal and express your gratitude in their willingness to spend time getting the right shot. Since these situations can be stressful on both yourself and your employees, it’s better to get it done earlier in the day.
  • When your shoot is wrapped up and you have all the photographs you need, editing is a must. You will likely not need to make any major visual changes, but rather small touchups to enhance sharpness and consistency.
  • During your editing process, make note of the various color corrections and changes you have made. Documenting these details and keeping them on file will provide a reference in case you or another employee decides to change or update images throughout the year.
  • When it’s time for uploading to the website, make sure to use dimensions that work. Too small or too big can mean stretched, jumbo, or pixelated images on your website.