Let's face it, most of us don't have the time (or make the time) to sign up for yearly photo shoots. But we should.
But over and over again, it is confirmed that people hire lawyers, not law firms. Regardless if you have a B2B or B2C practice, your clients want to know who you are as a person and connect with you and that out-of-date 1997 headshot is no longer doing the trick to tell your story.
Current Photography is a Necessity
Professionally done headshots and other photographs are now a necessity, not a luxury, as law firms must be savvy about social media to successfully market themselves. Let's not forget that social media are all pretty much all visual media in some capacity. You need great photography for your website, press releases, LinkedIn, and perhaps even Instagram and Facebook.
Headshots are a necessity for everyone, but are particularly important for law firms, as a law firm can seem like a faceless, monolithic entity to a prospective client. This is especially true for those people that do not have a ton of interaction with the legal industry. Being able to put a face to the name takes away that intimidation factor and puts the future client at ease.
Types of Photos for Law Firms to Consider
At a minimum, you are going to need individual headshots of each attorney yearly. I also suggest that you have photos taken of your long-term staff and administration on a consistent schedule. It would be a thoughtful gesture to have professional headshots taken of your law clerks and incorporate that as a perk of your summer program.
Also consider a few other non-headshot photos while you are working with your photographer. For a smaller firm take a group photograph of the entire firm; for larger firms you might photograph each department, Tax, Litigation, etc. separately. You can also just photograph the partners, just the associates, and key trial teams including staff. These types of photos will be useful on a website where can the photograph of the entire firm on the landing page and individual headshots on interior pages. Have some group shots taken with interesting backgrounds. While you are at it, have a few photos taken that could be used for a press release or could go up on someone else's web page if they decide they want to write an article about your firm or about a recent success you've had.
See my gallery below for ideas on law firm and lawyer headshots and social media photography.
Hire a Pro
A headshot looks easy but posing a subject just right involves subtleties that are difficult to master. In addition, if you have ever been in a photoshoot or seen one you probably noticed that the photographer used a fairly elaborate lighting system with multiple flashes and silver umbrellas, equipment the amateur typically doesn't have. A single, camera-mounted flash could generate harsh, unflattering shadows. Finally, even the best photographs are subject to a bit of manipulation these days, and the professional will probably do some light touch-ups with a program such as Lightroom.
I see this a lot: one of the younger attorneys in a firm is an avid amateur photographer and has volunteered to take the firm's photos THEMSELVES. Perhaps they even have a fancy digital camera but that still should not sweeten the deal. Going in-house to save a bit of money on photography is a bad idea. Remember, this is an investment. You wouldn't recommend to a client that they save some money by hiring an amateur lawyer. There are a few things in business that you shouldn't cheap out on and photography for your law firm is one of them. Protect your image and brand by hiring someone that does this for a living.
Tips for Picture Day
Your professional photographer will undoubtedly make a suggestions as to how to proceed and here are a few ideas to get everyone started. For headshots you may want to go to the photographer's studio, where the lighting and background are already set up. As an alternative that can be less disruptive to workflow, the photographer can come to your office and set up for the shoot. Be sure to find a space that is relatively private. I find that most attorneys dread having their picture taken and feel a bit more at ease without their law firm as an audience.
The office may also have some locations, such as an outdoor area, for a great group shot. Business attire is appropriate: dark suits, either solid or with a very subtle stripe, ties for the men, and solid colored shirts. For women, the clothing that they wear in the course of their professional life: dresses, suits, and the like. It is a great idea to bring a change of clothing for a few casual shots to be taken that same day.
There is some room for creativity, especially for niche firms (Construction site? Environmental theme? Artwork on the walls?). Your professional photographer will have other suggestions.
A final suggestion: consider shooting some short video clips while you are all dressed up. More and more web pages are including both video and still images. Your video segments can be repurposed in your social media strategy over the course of the year.
As with any profession, there are poor, ok, good, and great photographers; how do you find the right one in Colorado for your law firm? Email me at Meranda@DenverLegalMarketing.com. I can help you get started on your yearly headshot project or social media stock photo shoot.