How To Have a Successful Photo Shoot for Your Law Firm
A picture really is worth a thousand words, so when launching a new law firm website (or simply updating the one you have), an investment in fresh, professional photography can make all the difference. If you’re a novice in the world of photographs, you may be asking how to have a successful photo shoot for your law firm. Read on to learn the lay of the visual land and find handy tips for ensuring that your photos speak volumes.
How Law Firms Can Take Advantage of Photography
There are many ways that law firms can take advantage of photography. Photos can convey the culture, focus, and trustworthiness of your legal team while breathing life into a profession that sometimes is thought to be staid, complicated, and intimidating. Here are just a few of the benefits of great photography:
- Identifies and boosts your law firm brand
- Puts a “face” on each attorney, so they seem more human and approachable
- Sets you apart from your competition, especially in crowed markets
- Creates a “tone” for your firm – a specialty in business law may be more formal and serious while a specialty in family law may be softer and reassuring
- Creates memorable snapshots of your legal team, offices, and conference room
- Helps potential clients “see” themselves working with you
- Provides a personal approach to your law firm’s website.
There’s no substitute for investing in a skilled photographer. Photos from local malls or, worse yet, cell phones will never convey the bold impact or make the compelling visual impression that a law firm needs to set itself apart.
Tips for a Successful Photoshoot
EXPLORING HOW PHOTOGRAPHY CAN HELP YOUR LAW FIRM MARKETING.
1. Planning is Key
Coordinate with the photographer and web agency to ensure best results. It is not unusual to have several calls and emails to outline the shoot, depending on the size of the firm and scale of the shoot. This may include indoor and outdoor shots. It could also include shots at a local courthouse. The aspect ratio, style, lighting, and other details should be coordinated between the photographer and web agency to ensure the photos meet the needs for the firm’s new website.
- Variety Is Important Plan ahead to bring attire that will provide different looks throughout the shoot. For example, a couple of different ties, blazers or sweaters can help ensure that not all the photographs look like they were taken at the same time. Ladies might consider wearing a sweater set, in addition to a suit, to allow them to mix/match throughout the shoot. This variety is generally not needed for staff photos – just the attorneys.
- Colors While not necessary, you might consider selecting colors that are complimentary to your law firm brand and culture. Reds and brighter blues can work well for firms whose brand portrays aggressiveness and power. Other firms might consider earth tones (greens, dark blues, burnt orange, tans) to support a message of warmth and trust.
- Patterns Select clothes that use patterns sparingly. Small patterns can be great at adding interest and depth to photography, but loud or busy patterns distract. Consider ties with dots or small stripes – but not large ducks. Blouses with monochromatic, understated patterns are terrific – animal prints and/or contrasting colors are not.
- Plan to Change Clothes It is natural to wear different outfits depending on the circumstances of our day. What you wear to court is, presumably, different than on the golf course or out to lunch with a colleague. To add variety to the shoot and show different sides of an attorney’s personality, we recommend starting the photo shoot in a full suit (something court appropriate) and dressing down throughout the shoot. After the full suit, you might choose to remove the tie but leave on your blazer. And/or, you might opt to remove the suit coat, leave the tie, and roll up your sleeves. Ladies might consider swapping a cardigan for the suit blazer or changing blouses to something less formal. Once you have more formal business attire shots and more dressed-down business shots, we recommend a full change to business casual.
- Remember to Smile Your custom photo shoot is designed to help tell your story. A simple portrait, most often, does not accomplish this task. For your shoot to be a success, you need to remember to let your true self shine through. Don’t feel that you need to always keep a stern face to convey gravity and professionalism. Feel free to laugh and smile throughout – people respond more positively to warm eyes and a bright smile. The most important tip we can provide is to Be Yourself!
- Let Your Personal Side Show The focus of the photo shoot is to capture the personalities and culture of the firm. This helps to tell your story and set you apart from the competition. While offices should be decluttered and tidied, feel free to display family photos, sports trophies, legal certifications or awards, items related to hobbies (e.g., model airplanes, sports memorabilia). Items that represent ‘you’ should stay, and you might consider placing them in a more prominent position.
Remember that the cost of photo shoots is often related to the time required. When planning your attire, select clothes that are easy to change out of/into. Time is money, and efficiency is important throughout the photo shoot.
3. Outline the Shoot
If the shoot will include outdoor shots, think about where and how you will get there. Do you want to show recognizable landmarks in the background? Does a scene in nature fit your law firm’s culture? If your office isn’t the best locale, what about local hotels or cafes with good lighting? The photographer can always use a blurred/bokeh effect. A photo shoot will normally include a series of photographs of each subject: more formal headshots along with more casual interactions. You may include specific shots of the partners and some of small groups. Keep in mind the attire changes when planning the shoot.
Make sure everyone knows the correct day and time and understands their role in the shoot. Will they simply be a stand-in for a few office shots? Or will they be a key contributor, needing to block out half a day from their schedule?
On the day of the photo shoot, groom in a way that looks professional and natural. Put your best foot forward. You may want to get a haircut in advance or a professional shave. Get a good night’s sleep the day before – no late-night activities. Make sure your firm administrator reminds all participants the day before about preparation, attire, and good sleep.
You should also look around at the environment to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. Organize any messy papers, pick up clutter, and be cognizant of extraneous things like case files and Diet Coke cans in the background. Plants should be watered, and dead leaves removed. Remove or rearrange extra chairs or furniture that has been pushed into people’s offices. If you are a tech lover and your desk includes a mouse, webcam, external speakers, two monitors, a charging station, a printer/scanner, and array of other gadgets and wires … declutter.
Make sure you understand and are okay with the photographer’s pricing structure. Some photographers price per finished photo, although that’s a bit old school. Most photographers will price for the shoot itself and you receive all raw, digital shots and can pay per piece for retouching.
7. Other Services from the Photographer
Ask your photographer if they coordinate with a makeup artist. This is important to some photo shoot participants. What about a hair stylist? Do they offer ongoing services if you have a member join or leave the practice and need additional shots or alterations? Understand the pricing for these additional services so you can call on them if/when needed.
8. Plan for Use
You are investing creative energy, time, and money in your custom photography. Plan ahead for the widest possible use of your new photographs. This may include social media distribution and any new print materials moving forward. You can drip photos out over months. You can also apply this updated photography when responding to awards/recognitions where headshots are requested. You may even consider marketing materials like Christmas cards or new office announcements.
Technical Photography Details
Great photographs are a web designer’s best friend. Photography can catapult your site from good to great in the hands of a skilled, creative digital designer. A photographer should deliver the raw digital photo files to your law firm marketing agency. No retouching will be needed since photos will be worked into the design files of the site. Color corrections and cropping will be part of the site’s design process. The photography project will be considered a success if the photos accurately portray the culture and spirit of the attorneys and their firm. Photographs should work to tell a story, to communicate to the viewer a little something about the law firm in each snapshot.
Landscape/wide-angle photos are essential to giving a designer the flexibility to creatively implement your site’s unique, customized design. Because of the horizontal nature of computer displays, horizontal shots are much more useful than vertical shots (which often cannot be used at all). An example banner size for a photograph may be 1,500 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall. Wide lens or landscape shots are much more useful for web design purposes. The exception to this would be lawyer headshots that are used, for example, on an attorney bio page.
Gladiator Law Marketing Can Help
If you need help planning your law firm’s photo shoot or need recommendations for great photographers in your geographic market, Gladiator Law Marketing can help. Our skilled, award-winning designers can walk you through every step of a successful photo shoot and advise you about unique, compelling website design that maximizes use of excellent photography. To find out more about how we can help, call us at (859) 203-4062.
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