Why are backgrounds so important to your headshot?

Personal branding and corporate headshots

Environmental Headshots – The importance of backgrounds and how it fits with your brand.

As a commercial photographer when I get asked by my clients to create headshots for their business, my first question is

“What do you need your headshots for?”

Very often, their response is that they need them

for their website – “About Us” – section and possibly

for social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook etc. etc.


On Site

This relaxed, yet casual headshot
was created for a construction  company near Manchester, England.
They required a variety of shots to
be taken at one of their
construction sites.


On Black

The black background creates a
really classic look. It really helps to make the person stand out from
the background.
This image was for a business networking group in Cheshire, England.

The Office

Many offices are full of great locations.
This corporate headshot was created for a corporate insurance company based in Liverpool, England.
The glass walls behind made a
very interesting background. 

Then I ask them what background they would like.

I would say that 80% of the time their reply is

“Oh, we just need a white background that will go with our website.”
The thing is, it’s not all about your website or your social media,
it’s about you and your brand….

You and your brand are one and the same.

You are your brand!!!

The Office

 Brand Estate Agency

At Home


Brand Counsellor

On Site

Brand Worksite

The Studio

Brand Inventor
My job as a commercial and corporate photographer that specialises in brand aware photography, is to create you a set of images that not only fit with your website and make you look good on social media, but also shout out…


…“Hi, this is me, I am a really great person with a friendly, warm personality. How can I help you?” 


Why not give us a quick call to discuss your personal branded headshot.

We can help you with ideas on what background to use, what clothes to wear and even the best time of day for your chosen location.

Before you engage with a professional commercial headshot photographer, my suggestion is to think carefully about how you would like to portray your business self.

How does that “business self” fit with your brand? 

How does it fit with your policies, your culture and your ethos?

Only by having an idea of the answers to these questions will you be able to decide:

What clothing to wear

What colours to wear

What type of background  to use in your professional images. 

A natural background showing an office environment is great for corporate businesses, finance or telecoms, but this wouldn’t work for a tree surgeon or a joiner or an engineer.

For example –
• Someone that works in a great city centre location may want to show the building and surrounding area

• Someone that works from home but lives in a beautiful place might have a more outdoor shoot showing trees and fields.

• For personal branding images you may want them taken next to signage showing location and logo or with branded vehicles – this is great for showing off your brand and advertising your company name.

These styles of background are excellent for directors, management teams and personal branding.

The more traditional backgrounds in white, black grey etc are better for larger companies where they require lots of employee headshots, such as call centres, large accountancy or legal firms.
Multiple numbers of staff can be photographed in a few hours using generic backgrounds like this.

A really creative example of how headshots and their backgrounds can be used to great effect is shown on the Griffiths & Armour Insurance website.

On a recent photo shoot for Griffiths & Armour, a commercial insurance company based in Liverpool, Manchester, London and Dublin, we did a series of headshot images for the directors around their fabulous waterfront offices in Liverpool.
After a consultation with the marketing consultant and a lengthy discussion about their brand, it was decided that each director would have their individual personal branding headshot taken in a different location around the Griffiths & Armour offices.

Each location would have an interesting background but would be shot in such a way that the person would be in the foreground and in focus, lit by our portable studio style lighting, and the background would be lit by the ambient light but slightly blurred. These type of images are sometimes referred to as “Lifestyle” images.

After a courtesy visit to the offices, several locations were carefully chosen, photographed for reference then approved by the board of directors and the marketing team.

On the day of the shoot all of the areas to be used had been cleaned and prepared. I used a simple lighting setup so that we wouldn’t be in the way of day to day running of the office environment and had an assistant with me so that I could maximise the time spent with each director.

Below are a few samples from the shoot.


You can see all the Griffiths & Armour leadership team headshots and how they were used to great effect on their fabulous looking website here:


Each image remains consistent with regards to style, yet different regarding background and environment. They all have a professional and corporate feel, yet each person comes across as warm, friendly and approachable.

The other clever thing that was considered in these images is the use of a landscape format image, placing the person to the right and creating a darkened negative space to the left to allow for the legibility of descriptive text. This is especially useful when the website is being viewed on a desktop computer. Another thing to think about for the use of your images.

Of course I don’t just create lifestyle headshots for my clients, I do also do white, black and grey or any colour you can imagine should you really want it.

For example I did a whole set of headshots for a finance company near Manchester that used bright pink for their brand, so I shot their management headshots and team photographs using a bright pink background beautifully lit to highlight the brand..

I always consult with clients to help come up with ideas for locations, backgrounds, clothing and colours to wear to suit their brand. I do this by asking a series of questions prior to the shoot and by finding out as much as possible about the company, the people to be photographed and how they would want to be best portrayed.

If you would like any help in knowing how we can help you to
SHOUT OUT about YOUR BRAND or who YOU ARE then please get in touch for a no obligation, friendly chat.

Tel:07957 456 161

Email: enquire@kevintimmonsphotography.co.uk

or use the CONTACT FORM to say hello

For more headshot ideas, please visit our headshot portfolio page – thankyou!