Sense of time – how to stop team photos becoming dated too soon

(Posted on 25/03/24)

Sense of time – how to stop team photos becoming dated too soon

Team photos, either individual or group shots, should be an accurate representation of those pictured at a given time. Every picture dates, from the moment it’s committed to a frozen photographic image – be that a snapshot or screengrab on a phone, or a professionally shot and lit portrait. But there are ways to ensure that your team photos have less chance of dating from the day they are uploaded to a company website or LinkedIn profile.

Here are a few thoughts on retaining (and perpetuating) a sense of time when using team photos.

Dating sites

Team photos are an easy addition to a website.

We all take pictures all the time. Of ourselves, of our children, relatives and pets, of our food, of places we visit. We’re all photographers these days, in the same way we’re all writers – thanks to email, text and platforms such as WhatsApp becoming the norm for many people to communicate. But there’s a huge difference between amateur photography and professionally-shot portraiture.

Traditionally, for individual team member shots, all that is needed is a well-lit, portrait-style image – ideally a headshot, of shoulders and face. Not a passport-style grimace, or a ‘Most Wanted’ police mugshot, but a relaxed and well-framed image. To ensure this is of the highest quality however, we recommend that you employ a trained, qualified professional, not a well-intentioned member of staff with a selfie stick and a cell phone.

Avatars and imagination

However, everyone has different ideas on what constitutes a ‘good’ photo and these days. Depending on the sector you work in, you may prefer something more unusual than a black and white or colour portrait. Some companies go down the avatar or animation route, with visual representations of staff members rendered anime-style, for example.

Those working in creative industries may want to demonstrate their creativity and use something more unexpected than simple headshots. This can result in imaginative and eye-catching imagery on websites, both engaging and innovative, in a way that wouldn’t necessarily work for a utilities company or local government website. It’s about both knowing your audience and also the nature of the business or organisation.

Conversely, you don’t have to include personalised imagery on a company website at all. Some companies and organisation’s websites opt for no personal images, simply resumés of staff in a ‘Who we are’ or ‘Meet the Team’ tab – and sometimes no mention of individual staff at all. A single person working by themselves may do this, for example, if they are hoping to present the company as wider than just one person. This is simple enough to do, with a ‘we’ tone of voice in the web copy and no indication of the size of the company on the website.

Group shots

If your company or department has many members of staff, you may choose to use team photos. These photos should be an attempt to get ‘a good one of everyone’ simultaneously, whilst also striving not to have an image that is going to be out of date next year. Fashion comes into play a bit more here. You’re likely to see some staff members from head to foot, so you’ll need to think about what everyone is wearing. Companies rarely have dress codes these days, but most do have standards, so make sure the dress and demeanour on display in team photos accurately reflects the business. You don’t want everyone in hats, scarves and coats for a shot to be used all year round, but something seasonally neutral. Avoid slogan t-shirts for example, or other aspects that might immediately date a picture, such as surgical Covid masks, which would now only be relevant in a health-orientated organisation.    

Look at your company, the people who work there and the nature of their work. Choose photography – and ideally it should always be professionally-shot by an experienced photographer – that reflects how you want to be perceived. If you’d like advice on how best to use imagery and staff portraits on your website, then get in touch with us today.