Diversity and Inclusion in Corporate Headshots: The Path to Authentic Representation

In this blog post, we’re going to shake things up a bit and talk about the value of embracing the modern headshot over the outdated, confining headshots of old. We’ll explore how photographers can work their magic to capture the true essence of people from all walks of life, challenge clichés, and redefine what a killer corporate headshot looks like and the importance of inclusion in corporate headshots.

We’ll also share some stories that may make you think twice about judging a book by its cover. It’s all about defying stereotypes and letting your personality shine through in your headshot. Whether you’re a young CEO who wants to be taken seriously or someone who’s often mistaken for being, well, let’s say “crankier” than you really are, there’s a headshot that can bring out the true you.

Oh, and here’s the deal: there are no strict rules anymore. The best headshot is the one that showcases your unique and gorgeous self. We’re living in a world that’s all about celebrating diversity, so why not let your headshot join the party?

Beautiful Young Black Woman Posing For Her Corporate Headshot

Diversity and Intersectionality

Part of showing off a diverse team is hiring a photographer who knows how to photograph a diverse set of people. Not everyone knows how to photograph or edit people who don’t look like them. If people have different skin tones or hair textures, it requires different lighting and editing.

My clients often choose me because I know how to photograph and retouch photos of people who represent a rainbow of skin tones. They look through my portfolio on my website and observe that I’m able to capture and highlight my clients’ unique diversity.

It’s not all about skin color, either. Fortunately for me, bald is sexy right now, but there are many men like me who fear looking super shiny on camera. Lucky for them, I know how to light somebody who has more skin showing.

Would you go to a stylist who specializes in straight hair for your curly girl cut? Probably not. The same principle applies to photographers. You may want to prioritize finding a photographer who can photograph people who look like you. This becomes extra important for decision-makers at companies who are planning group corporate headshots.

Defying Stereotypes

“I don’t want a realtor photo.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from my clients. They have a picture in their head of an old-school realtor photo with an agent stiffly smiling in front of a for-sale sign wearing an ill-fitting blazer. Hey, that headshot works. It’s fine, but is it the only choice? Not by a long shot.

It’s less thinking about what you should do for a headshot and thinking about what you want to do. I’ll get requests from law firms who say they want to look like all the big law firms out there with a blue textured background or in front of a wall of law books. But the big law firms don’t actually do that anymore. They focus on fresher, more modern-looking headshots.

There are no right or wrong answers for professional headshots, especially when it comes to industries. Maybe your law firm specializes in family law and wants to convey a warm and sympathetic touch through their headshots. Similarly, realtors work in a tough business. Do you want to portray yourself as a light and friendly realtor, or do you want to show up as a warrior who will fight for their clients? There’s no one way to go about it. The choice is yours.

Instead of thinking about what you’re supposed to do because of your profession, I recommend thinking about where you want to go in your career. What are your goals, and how can you work that into your photoshoot? There’s a reason why the prevailing wisdom is to dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Everyone wants a dream job, but what do you want to convey to the professional world?

Young African-American Woman Posing For Her Corporate Headshot

Challenging Assumptions

A couple of stories always come to my mind when I think about challenging assumptions based on appearance. I know a CEO of a $5B company who happens to look much younger than he actually is. This isn’t a trust fund kid with a start-up but a seasoned engineer and executive who built his own multibillion-dollar company. When we work together, we work to portray someone who is experienced and powerful because that is the image he wants out in the world.

Looks can be very deceiving. There are women who communicate to me that they are perceived as intimidating because they have that resting b-word face, even though their personality isn’t that way at all. They want help to appear more approachable and personable in their headshots, so I help them represent themselves the way they want other people to see them.

Let’s talk about me. I’m a big bald dude with a beard and tattoos, and I can look mean if I want to. But I’m not actually mean at all! I want photographs of me to convey lots of warmth with a touch of silliness and boisterous energy. That’s the headshot that will capture the authentic me.

It’s important to own up to what you want to put out there and then make the effort to communicate it to your photographer. If your photographer isn’t comfortable talking to you about your race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, hair, build, weight, skin imperfections, etc., that’s a red flag that you may not have found the right photographer for you.

Don’t Be Afraid to be You!

There was a time when there were strict guidelines and rules for taking headshots, but that just isn’t the case anymore. The best headshot isn’t about meeting some perceived industry standard; it’s about the real, authentic you. We live in a world that is trying to be better about embracing diverse backgrounds and experiences. Let’s talk about it with your photos too!

As we wrap up this blog post, remember this: your headshot has the power to defy stereotypes, challenge assumptions, and communicate your personality and goals. It’s a visual representation of the world we want to see—one that values authenticity and inclusivity.

So, the next time you’re in front of the camera for a corporate headshot, be bold, be genuine, and be YOU! Embrace the diversity within and around you, and let your headshot tell your story loud and clear.

We live in a world that’s evolving, and it’s high time our headshots evolve with it. Here’s to celebrating diversity, breaking boundaries, and making a statement with every click of the camera.

If you’re eager to ditch the old, embrace the new, and capture your authentic self in a headshot that truly reflects who you are, then it’s time to make a move! Reach out to Ben Krantz Studio today, and let’s craft a headshot that tells your unique story.

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