About Startup Headshots

Everything you need to know about what to wear, how to pose, and what backgrounds to use for the perfect startup headshots.

What Are Startup Headshots?

Startup headshots are a set of business headshots typically used for company websites, business cards, press releases, and LinkedIn profiles. For your average professionals, the most popular place for startup headshots is on their LinkedIn profiles.

Startup headshots focus on showcasing your team members’ professionalism, friendliness, and competence. A great headshot is the perfect first step for building an awesome brand that helps your company improve sales numbers or attract investors to your company.

As much as possible, employers should try to keep employees’ headshots consistent across the group. But, this rule is more important for corporate groups versus startups.

If all team members aren’t available at the same place/time, you can create a corporate account to send group members to a studio at their convenience.

startup headshots examples
business headshot example

Are Startup Headshots Important?

Have you ever met someone that you instantly either liked, or disliked?

Perhaps you knew why you felt that way about them, or perhaps you didn’t, but most people are prone to generating “first impressions” of other people in just 1/8th of a single second. These first impressions can have dramatic impact on who they hire, buy from, and otherwise listen to.

These days, most first impressions start online.

Potential clients first see your employees on LinkedIn or through PowerPoint presentations. Investors use the company About Us page to learn about company executives.  

Great business headshots are critical for making a good first impression with these people – and so can have a major impact on your career and company.  

What Do I Wear for Startup Headshots?

It depends on your personality, industry and where the photos will be placed!

For more conservative industries like law and finance, we recommend the standard suit-and-tie, or female equivalent.

Otherwise, the best rule-of-thumb is to take a look around LinkedIn to see how peers and senior executives in your industry are dressed. Make sure to pay closer attention to people who are successful vs whomever is in your immediate network.

Remember, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  If you’re still not sure, then ask us! We’re always happy to provide guidance.


How Do I Pose for Startup Headshots?

No need to go crazy on your poses for team headshots. In our sessions, we tend to focus on minimalist poses. We’ve seen other photographers force clients into some truly bizarre poses. But, we avoid this practice like the plague.

We are, after all, showcasing your group’s professionalism — not our photography.

At the beginning of your session, you should warm up with simple and straightforward poses. Simply stand there and smile.

Later, we will work toward some arms-crossed headshots and perhaps a couple candids.

Depending on where the photos will be placed, we may either 1) Try to mix up poses between different team members or 2) Try to match poses across the group.


What Backdrops are Best for Startup Headshots?

For more conservative industries like law and finance, we recommend neutral backdrops based in white, gray or black. With those colors, we can get some really crisp shots that convey reliability and consistency.

If you work in creative industries, non-profits, or tech, and you’d like your photos to have a bit more “pop,” feel free to pick a colored studio backdrop or try an outdoor/in-office session. These photos often have a bit more personality. 

If you’re booking for senior executives or thought-leaders, you should probably try to get several photos that they can use across platforms. Ideally, they would have a couple outdoor photos to supplement studio headshots.

If they have the same exact headshot on LinkedIn, the company website, and press releases, it can look a bit amateurish.

HeadShots Inc Offers 9 Colored Studio Backdrops + Pure White

cool startup headshot for female executive

How Should I Prepare for Startup Headshots?

There are three keys to preparing for your headshot ahead of time.

First, if possible, try to get some sleep, exercise, and sunshine in the weeks before your session. Our editing team airbrushes your selected photos before delivering them to you, but your preparation will help ensure that the photos look as natural as possible.

Second, make sure to briefly wear your desired clothing a couple days before your session. You want to make sure that your outfits still fits properly and doesn’t need dry cleaning.

Third, take a look at some prior photos of yourself and see if there are any that you particularly like. When you arrive at the studio, show those photos to your photographer, and that will help us find an angle that you find flattering.


What If I’m Not Photogenic or Hate Getting My Photo Taken?

We’ve got you covered! Most portrait photographers are unfortunately guilty of creating a cringe-y environment for their clients. They force you into awkward poses and don’t truly understand what clients are looking for from their session. Either that, or they rush you through the session.

There are also many photographers who refuse to specialize in one form of photography, so they’re frankly not very skilled at any specific type of session.

At HeadShots Inc, we strive to create a fun & stress-free environment for every client. At our studio, we play upbeat music and constantly get feedback from the client so that we can work towards an amazing headshot that you’ll be proud to show online. We only offer headshots (not even full-body portraits) and so we’ve mastered one service that we do exceptionally well. 


How Much Do Startup Headshots Cost?

Startup headshots cost between $35 and $500 (per person) depending on geography, package, and provider. The upper end is likely a complete rip-off unless you’re looking for an extremely specific style. The bottom end is going to produce some truly terrible photos.

When considering pricing, remember to look at a) licensing (who owns the photos) and b) retouching fees.

In terms of licensing, photographers typically only give you ownership for photos that you “buy” from them. This fee is separate from your “session fee,” which just covers the time spent inside their studio. If you want to use your photos on a billboard, or in print, or somewhere else, you may have to pay additional fees.

For retouching, many photographers charge between $50 and $100 per photo. Calculate those fees into your total session cost.

For reference, HeadShots Inc Team Sessions are competitively priced between $50 to $250 per person based on session type and location. You retain 100% of rights to all photos taken and 1 airbrushed photo per person. (Additional are just $25/person.) 

Looking for Startup Headshot Pricing?

There’s no better investment than building great first impressions online. Find the perfect headshot package for your goals and budget below. 

Individual Sessions

See pricing for individals and small groups of up to three people. Packages range from $150 to $400 based on session length and location.

Team Sessions

See pricing for groups of any size. Traditional headshot days and corporate accounts available across the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Contact us to ask a question, book a session, or request a custom quote.

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