Today I thought I’d run through a few quick points about photography. Your photo is undoubtedly important to you; perhaps it appears on your website, business card, newsletter, or even billboards or commercials. Often, your photo is the first thing potential clients will notice, and it may influence them even more so than your actual marketing materials.
If you’ve had a professional portrait taken at a studio or hired a photographer to come in and shoot for you, then you probably don’t need to worry about what I’m about to cover. However, for you DIY (do-it-yourself) attorneys out there who want to experiment with photography on your own time with a friend or loved one, you may be interested in these quick pointers.
For reference, you could write chapters and chapters about each of these topics, but I’m just going to run through them since this is a blog and I assume a dissertation the size of Moby Dick might be overdoing it a bit.
1. Location. Inside or outside? Office or walkway? Standing in front of a library of law books or in a more relaxed setting? The choices are nearly endless. You can take great photos in nearly any setting, but think about what that setting will be conveying to potential clients. Your photo will reinforce a certain image, so be sure it is one you are comfortable with.
2. Background. I’ve seen hundreds of attorney photos, and therefore hundreds of backgrounds: bookcases of legal material, picturesque paintings of wildlife, office doors, trees, lakes, and everything in between. Regardless of where you set up your equipment, analyze the elements in the frame before you shoot. You don’t want background elements that are so busy as to overwhelm the subject (you), but plain, colorless backgrounds aren’t much better. Try to find the middle ground and work with what you have. Even a simple, geometric background element can be visually pleasing. The example below was shot in a hotel room, so don’t think you need to find someplace exotic just to get a decent photo.
3. Framing. While you can do all kinds of crazy, artsy things with framing, it may be best to stick with simplicity for your official marketing photo. Stand in front of the background elements so you are fully in focus and the background is slightly blurred (you can accomplish this with the proper aperture settings on your camera). In the example below, the attorney is several feet in front of the background elements and centered in the middle of the frame. The large tree branch up above does not look like it is growing out of his head. Be sure to avoid framing yourself near any elements that will intersect with you in awkward ways.
4. Clothing. This choice will be largely dependent upon your background. If you’re shooting against a dark background, try not to wear overwhelmingly dark colors, and vice versa. You want to stand out and make prospective clients notice you, so choose clothes with colors that complement your surroundings.
5. Pose. Do you want to give the impression that you will battle for your clients? That you aren’t intimidated by opposing counsel? Try standing with your arms crossed at a slight angle (in general, you don’t want to stand with your entire body facing directly toward the camera). On the other hand, if you want to appear kind and compassionate, eager to listen to clients’ problems, stand in a more relaxed pose. Your body language goes a long way to inform potential clients what you are like as an attorney and a person.
That’s it for this week! In my next installment I’ll cover some more simple tips to help you get a great marketing photo. Until then, feel free to check out some of the other great blogs my coworkers have written up.