Pittsburgh Corporate Portrait of Female executive

Business Portraits – Frequently Asked Questions

Weather you’re an individual looking to have business portraits taken for LinkedIn, or you’re the head of HR at a large Pittsburgh corporation, looking hire a photographer to photograph the board of directors, you’re bound to have some questions.  This page is meant to answer as many of those questions as possible and to possibly persuade you to consider me when selecting a business portrait photographer.

Hopefully you’ll find the answers to your questions here, but if not, please feel free to call (412-232-4444) or email me and I’ll be happy to help you in any way I can.

Business Portrait FAQ’s

What should I wear for my business portrait? (link to another page)

Should we shoot at my office or your studio?

I have a studio in Pittsburgh’s Strip District so Im close to the downtown Pittsburgh,  My address is 2820 Smallman Street and I offer free parking right across the street.  I’m easy to get to, I offer flexible hours, and free parking, so shooting in the studio is a no-stress commitment.  Clients are usually here for only fifteen to thirty minutes.

Location shoots tend to offer more interesting backgrounds, so many clients choose to have me come to their offices to shoot their business portraits.  I’m fine with that, in fact I prefer it.  It seems that my location portraits tend to show up more often in my portfolio, and to me, that’s a great motivator.

Location Business Portrait of University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick GallagherWhat expression is best for my business portrait?

I’ve developed a great way to always get the perfect expression with every business portrait session.  I get the subject to do a range of expressions with every pose.  I ask them to start our with no expression on the first photo, and then with every consecutive picture, to give me a little more smile.  So, by the fifth or sixth photo, I have a huge smile.  I shoot fast so the progressions of expressions happens very quickly and naturally.  After that, we tweak the pose and repeat the sequence.  We shoot maybe five or six of those sequences and somewhere, we have the perfect expression.

Will you retouch my business portrait?

I do offer retouching, and I’m quite good at it too.  Right before they leave from the shoot, I usually ask the subject “so how old do you want to look when I get done retouching?”   Besides Photoshop, I put the photo through another portrait software program that does some pretty amazing things.  I’m glad to take special requests, but my normal procedure is to do the following retouching on all my business portraits:

  • smooth complexion
  • whiten teeth
  • whiten eyes
  • fix any bags under the eyes
  • Lighten Ires and intensify eye color

Business portraitHow do you charge for a business portrait?

There are basically three ways that I charge.  There is the “basic” business portrait, the “Actor / Model” portrait, which many business people select, and the location portrait session.

Basic Business Portrait setup

I have a permanent setup at my studio where I have the backgrounds and lights in place all the time, where I can walk in, turn on the lights, and start shooting.  Since this is so efficient, I can offer a really good price, $175.00.

Actor / Model setup

Don’t let the name food you.  A large number of my business clients choose this setup because of the options it provides.  I charge a little more for this setup because it takes me a little longer to assemble.  In my studio, there are some places I can shoot , using natural lighting, where the backgrounds work out really well.  There are a few samples below.

If you need a looser crop than head and shoulders, I can setup a large background in my main studio area.  That takes me more time than it does for the “basic” setup, so I need to charge a bit more for that.  For setting up the larger background and for the studio environment shoot, I charge $250.00.

Location Portrait Shoots

For shooting on location, I charge by the half or whole day.  Usually clients ask me to shoot multiple people in one session which makes the shoots economical.  Especially if we decide to shoot multiple people with the same environment as the background, I can shoot a lot of people in a four or eight hour period.  For location business portrait photography, I charge 700 for a half day and 1300 for a whole day shoot.

Doctor Portraits - Business PortraitQuantity Portraits

If you are looking for a price for multiple business portraits, please send me an email or give me a call to discuss discounts.  When it’s all said and done, I charge for my time, so the more time efficient we can make the shoot, the better the price I can give you.  You’ll find that I’m flexible with with both pricing and scheduling so please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss your business portrait needs.

Additional Charges – If requested

Besides the shooting fee, there may be additional expenses involved in the shoot.  Here is the list of some of those optional expenses:

  • Photo Assistant – $330 / day (if we are shooting lots of subjects, this sometimes makes the shoot go much more smoothly and that enables us to get more done in a give time period)
  • Hair / makeup – $150.00 for one studio session.  For a whole day shoot, it’s usually %500 – $600.00.  Like I mention, this service is hired freelance.
  • Retouching – $25 / file (for single business portraits)
  • Retouching – $15 / head (for ground shots)
  • Thumb drive for file delivery – $25.00 (bring your own if you want to avoid this cost)
  • Web gallery creation – $25.00
  • Location Scout – $100.00 (local)
  • Mileage – $.50 / mile
  • Parking – cost + 25%
  • File Transfer – $25 (file delivery)

Executive portraits in PittsburghDo you offer “hair and makeup”?

I do not have a make / hair person on staff, but I do hire them as freelancers when needed.  I have several I work with and I’m quite comfortable with their skills.  Since they are freelance, I need to give them some lead time to schedule, so please don’t make the request an last minute thing.

What the process with a business headshot at my office?

If you’ve decided that you’d like your portrait taken at your office, we can schedule either a location scouting visit or we can schedule a date and time for the actual shoot.  I’m pretty good at finding great backgrounds at most locations, so scouting isn’t always necessary.

I’ll need about a half hour to select a location and setup my camera and lights,  so I won’t need you right away.  The shooting sequence is pretty much the same as at the studio.  We shoot, look at the files, then shoot some more if needed.  The only variation is when we are shooting multiple people and have them scheduled.  Since choosing the photos usually takes longer than the shooting and some people take longer than others, it’s usually preferable to have the selection process happen at a different time and place.  In these cases, we can either download all the files and hand them over or upload them to a web gallery for client selection.

There is another option… If I am shooting lots of portraits of different subjects, it sometimes makes sense for me to bring along an assistant to do the computer work (uploading and selecting final images).  This is an option but of course an added expense too.

What the process with a business headshot in your studio?

If we are shooting in the studio without hiring a makeup artist, you show up and we start to shoot.  After the first few photos, I’ll show you the back of the camera to show you the basic feel of what your photos is going to look like.  After that, I keep shooting until I think we have some great shots.  At that point, I download the portraits onto my computer and I let you go through them to confirm that we have what we need.  Then, you spend some time selecting your final image.  If for some reason, you’re not happy with anything we shot, then we return to the set and shoot some more photos, putting to use what we’ve learned from the first round of photos so that we’re more likely to get you the great shot you need.  We repeat this process until you’re a happy camper and you love your portrait.

If for some reason, you don’t want to spend the time selecting your final image at that time, I can always upload the files to a thumb drive and give them to you to take with you or I can upload them to a dropbox folder for later selection.

After that, you’re done.  Within a day or two at the most, I’ll retouch your photo, keeping in mind any requests you have.  When the retouching is complete, I usually send you the file or files via “wetransfer.com”. The final photos will end up in your email, usually within a day or two at the most.

Business Portraits in PittsburghHow do I select my final portrait image?

We have three options for you selecting the final image.

1. We have you select the final portrait before you leave the studio or location.  We shoot and then you edit through all the images until you decide on a favorite.  This is a great way to do if we both have the time, but if we don’t then there are other options.

2. Another option is for me to download all the photos onto a thumb drive and have you take everything with you.  That way you can take your good old time and if you want me to do the retouching, you can just email me the file number of the photo or photos you want me to retouch.

3. The third option is for me to upload all the photos to a dropbox folder and send you the link so that you can view them online.

How many picture files do I get to keep?

As far as I’m concerned, you can five them all.  They will be unretouched raw files, but you’re welcome to all of them.  If you want them all, you’ll need to bring a thumb drive, a hard drive, or I can upload them to dropbox.  It’s up to you.

How many pictures do you take to get my business portrait?

I usually shoot as many pictures as it take for you to be a happy customer.  Sometimes that’s twenty-five photos, and other times it a hundred and twenty-five.  Whatever it takes, it takes…

What types of business portrait backgrounds do you offer?

I have quite a few backgrounds here at the studio, but the ones below are probably the three most requested.  When we are talking or emailing about your portrait session, please let me know which one you prefer.  If none of them trip your trigger, let me know and maybe I can come up with another.

The backgrounds above are for my “Basic Business Portrait” setup.  When I shoot actors of models I sometimes setup in different parts of the studio and use the environment of the studio as the background.  A sample of that kind of photo is linked below.  This type of photo takes a little longer to setup, so I need to charge a little more than the basic setup, but it is available for my business portrait clients.

Law Firm PortraitsDo I get all rights to the business portraits?

Some photographers only give you certain rights to you photos while I believe that the client should be entitled to “unlimited usage” and the right to use the business portraits for any use possible.  The whole idea of getting your picture taken is so that you can use it to promote ourself, right?  The only right I retain is the right to use the portrait for my promotional purposes, like my website, social media or other such marketing uses.  And if for some reason, that’s a real problem for you, then we can work that out too.

How large are the business portrait files?

The camera this I use for business portraits has a sensor that creates a file that is 24.5 inches by 13.3 inches, at 300 DPI.  That’s bigger than you need for a billboard.  Rather than having too small a file, many clients say that the files are too large for their uses in social media.  If that should be a problem for you, I’m glad to deliver the final business portrait in both high and low resolution.

Do you also take “people working” shots?

I shoot “people working” photos all the time, but I consider them to be more of a “commercial” photography assignment.  Sure we can combine business portraits with commercial photography, that’s not a problem, but those types of shots sometimes require more preparation and and take more time because we need to move from location to location.

How much time do I need to allow for a business portrait session?

For single studio portraits, you can usually count on spending from fifteen minutes to a half hour here.  Much depends on how picky you are about your portrait.  I shoot until you’re happy with the photo, so there are times when it takes a while for us to experiment around enough to the point where you’re happy with the results.  It usually takes longer to select the final photo on my computer, rather than actually shoot the portrait.

Realitor PortraitHow do I schedule a business portrait session?

It’s usually best to start out with an email letting me know what days are best for you, where you’d like to shoot the portrait, and if it’s a studio shoot, what background you’d prefer.  If you’d like, you can always call me (412-232-4444) to discuss the details.

I offer flexible time for scheduling portrait shoots.  I’ve found that many clients prefer to stop on their way to work in the morning.  I schedule shoots as early as 7:00 am.  In fact, I kind of prefer to shoot business portraits that early in the morning because it leaves the rest of the day open for me to shoot my normal commercial photography, which I charge by the half of whole day.

Free Parking to make your visit as painless as possible

My business portrait studio is in the Strip District and I can send you a map to free parking right across the street.

How can I get rid of my double chin?

This is a common question and needs to be answered with some illustration or even a video.  Keep an eye out for video, coming soon…

Here are a few links for other resources related to business portraits:

Choosing the right wardrobe for your business portrait

Pinterest – What to wear for your business portrait

Headshot Tips: Getting Ready For Your Portrait Session

Here are just some of the types of business portraits I have recently created:

  • Attorney – Lawyer Portraits
  • Executive Portraits
  • Doctor Portraits
  • Employee Portraits
  • Realtor Portraits
  • Professor Portraits
  • Salesmen Portraits

If you have any questions that weren’t covered here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.  I’ll be glad to help you with any needs you may have.  (contact info below)

Michael Ray Photography
2820 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222