As a lawyer, one of the very first impressions you make with potential clients is through your attorney portrait. With this photograph, you have the opportunity to convey a particular image of who you are and how you want to be perceived. A good portrait can make you seem friendly, reputable, and trustworthy. On the other hand, an unflattering portrait might tell a different story: painting you to be unprofessional, inexperienced, and lacking confidence. Don’t be surprised if clients make the decision about whether or not to work with you based on this impression alone.
That’s why it’s so important to take law firm portraits seriously. This is an investment you only have to make once every decade or so, but that can significantly impact your career. To help you achieve the best possible attorney portrait results, here are some dos and don’ts to consider.
Don’ts of Law Firm Portraits
Don’t take law firm portraits on your phone camera. Yes, we know that the cameras in smartphones are getting better every year, and the companies that sell these gadgets advertise them as being able to take professional-quality photos. But don’t be fooled. Your phone camera isn’t nearly good enough – especially in unprofessional hands – so don’t even think about it.
Don’t use group shots as your law firm portraits. While it may seem like a nice idea to have a shot of your entire staff together to represent your law firm, this can be pretty problematic. People are often leaving, and new people are continually joining, meaning that group shots often go out-of-date within only a few months, making them next to impossible to keep updated.
Dos of Law Firm Portraits
Now, let’s move on to what we recommend you do for your law firm portraits.
First, always make sure you go into your photoshoot with a plan. Spend some time before the shoot day to look at other attorney portraits, noting what you like and what you don’t like. Think ahead about the overall look that you are going for. What kind of background do you want? What do you want to wear? What sort of facial expression do you want to have? Making all of these decisions ahead of time will save you a lot of decision fatigue on the day of the shoot.
Work with your photographer — share your goals for the shoot, and even share some styles that you like. A professional photographer will know what to do to get the look you want.
Think carefully about poses and what they communicate. For example, if you want to pose with your arms crossed, it may come off as stern and imposing. In contrast, if you’re going to pose casually, leaning forward with your elbows on your knees, it might appear approachable and friendly. Make sure that the feeling your pose creates properly supports your brand.
Even though you will take posed photos, do your best to look as natural as possible in your photographs. Whether it requires putting music on during the photoshoot, clearing the room of too many people, taking lots of shots, or standing up and shaking out the nerves, the little extra effort to get comfortable in front of the camera will make a big difference in the final result.
Ideally, to create a sense of consistency across all of your portraits, you will have each one done with the same backdrops and lighting. Whether you want to have a background of your office, a plain colour, or something more natural, try to keep it the same for each photo.
This will be much easier if you plan to have the whole office take their portraits on the same day. Plus, a bonus is that in addition to helping streamline the ability to create a consistent look with lighting and background, shooting all of your portraits on the same day will also be the most cost-effective.
You should also be aware that eventually, people will leave the firm, and new lawyers will join. So it can be helpful to plan for how you can seamlessly add the new lawyer’s photos. It might be best to choose a backdrop and a photographer that you can return to repeatedly so that new photos will be similar in look to the rest.
Finally, we have one more bonus pro tip to offer you. While you already have a photographer on hire shooting your law firm portraits, it’s a great idea to ask them to shoot some corporate lifestyle shots as well. These can include photos of people in meetings, speaking to clients, working at their desks, and so on. You can use these in the place of stock photos in your marketing materials, and they will be infinitely more personal and relevant.