What comes to mind when you think of business portraits? Stuffy suits, crossed arms, and bland backdrops are typical, but I’m working to help change that. Lifestyle business portraits are the antidote!

So how can you create business portraits that are clean and professional, yet warm enough to appealingly capture your client’s personality? I’ve developed a simple approach that enables me to plan and ensure every lifestyle business session is a success, resulting in beautiful lifestyle business images for my clients.

Lifestyle business portrait of a Black woman writing in notebook by Danielle Finney

1. The Goal.

Gaining an understanding of my clients’ professional needs helps me to know if they’re my kind of client. Do they want traditional, formal business portraits? Are they looking for photos with a standard studio feel and a white background? If that’s the style they prefer, I can refer them to another local photographer. But if they’re looking for on-location business images with personality, they’re in the right place!

I ask each of my clients what the goal is for the session and what they’d like the images to convey. Their response directs all of the future decisions I make regarding their session.

Lifestyle business portrait of woman in city no computer

2. The Wardrobe.

Most people aren’t stylists, so as the photographer, I take a proactive approach in wardrobe selections. For business sessions, I suggest two things: 1. Think about the kind of image you want to portray, and 2. Consider the colors of your brand, then choose the outfits accordingly. I also provide a Pinterest board with seasonal fashion inspirations.

Once finalized, I have my client send a photo of his or her outfits, and then I can move on to the next item on my list.

Lifestyle business portrait of a Black woman sitting on brick ledge in city
Lifestyle business portrait at home by Danielle Finney

3. The Location.

In addition to being cohesive with my client’s wardrobe, the location needs to fit with the goal of the session. Unless my client has a studio, warehouse, or office space he or she would like to use, I select the location. This eliminates additional work (and stress) on the client’s end, and ensures the final product will be the most visually appealing.

Lifestyle business portrait of a Black woman on steps
Lifestyle business photo of woman at home on computer
Business portrait of two women cooking in a kitchen

4. Makeup.

Professional makeup is one of the most important elements in a flawless business portrait. I work with a wonderful makeup artist who creates a custom look for each client to bring out her natural beauty.

If you’re looking to incorporate makeup services in your sessions but don’t know a makeup artist, use Instagram to help! Search #[yourcity]mua for an artist whose style will work well with yours.

Lifestyle business portrait of Black woman at her front door

5. Personality.

Once I know my client’s goals, wardrobe, location, and makeup needs are met and perfect, my next task is to make them comfortable in front of my camera. A comfortable client is the only way I’ll be able to capture genuine expressions that showcase his or her personality — the key to lifestyle business portraits.

Because I’ve done a fair amount of pre-session preparation, I’m able to relax and be comfortable, too, which helps my client to do the same.

Lifestyle business portrait of happy woman with fist in air
Lifestyle business portrait of woman

Photos by Danielle Finney

This article first appeared in the September/October 2017 issue of Click Magazine. Buy your copy here, or subscribe so you never miss a story like this one.