The coronavirus has changed so much of daily life in a short time – how we live, work, shop and so much more. So it’s no surprise that how we capture and use lawyer portraits has undergone dramatic changes as well. The good news is that high-quality photography can help lawyers continue to engage and connect with clients and prospects even when lockdowns, event cancellations, and travel restrictions make in-person interactions impossible. It’s also become extremely important to choose a professional photography agency with an established policy for following best practices to ensure the health and safety of portrait subjects and photographers and any others present during photo shoots.
New Ways Firms Are Using Lawyer Portraits
The professional portrait has long been a key component of a lawyer’s website bio and that hasn’t changed. But with in-person networking limited, the headshot has become more vital than ever. For many lawyers, it has become the most common “first impression” opportunity, even for extroverted rainmaker types who are typically out and about all the time. If most prospective clients you “meet” will encounter your website bio before ever seeing you in real life, your portrait photo takes on tremendous importance.
For some firms, the portrait image is taking a more prominent position on the bio page. The lawyer’s portrait is placed as a full-width header or banner image across the top of the bio page. More than just a design choice, this engages the website visitor with the lawyer’s face immediately, making virtual “eye contact” and using remote “body language” to establish the kind of connection that social distancing prohibits. COVID restrictions won’t last forever, but even after life returns to normal, or perhaps a “new normal”, this intentional use of striking facial imagery to establish trust and connection will continue to have value as firms compete in the global economy and do more business virtually.
The other place lawyer portraits are finding a new place of prominence is in social media. The use of social media has surged during the stay-home orders with the combination of millions of professionals working at home and isolated from colleagues, plus many experiencing layoffs and turning to LinkedIn to begin job-search networking. According to Social Media Today, LinkedIn experienced a 55% increase in engagement between connections in March 2020, while also seeing more content posted, and an increase in messaging volume. Other social media reports indicate similar increases in activity across all other social media platforms. LinkedIn has the added benefit of providing a platform to promote thought leadership content for lawyers. Legal industry-increased usage of the LinkedIn publishing platform has been particularly notable with the widespread publishing of COVID articles, and all lawyer portraits become a vital part of the branding of their profiles, their posts, and their articles.
Best Practices for Safe Portrait Photography
Fortunately, the best professional portraits will come from a top agency with the highest standards for safety and hygiene. Gittings has created a set of Photographer Guidelines for our team of photography professionals across the globe to ensure everyone is following the same safe practices, whether we’re doing the portrait session at a lawyer’s home or office. Here are a few of our top tips to ensure a contact-free experience that always maintains a safe distance between the photographer and the subject:
- Photographers and lawyers should both use hand sanitizer after every portrait session
- If a lawyer needs to adjust hair or clothes, photographers should demonstrate the adjustment to themselves rather than approaching the subject to make the adjustment for them
- Photographers should bring a travel mirror to the session so lawyers can do a quick check and make needed adjustments
- Lawyers, or their firms, should supply a monitor or screen with an HDMI port so the photographers can connect their laptops for proof review from a safe distance
For more safety tips for portrait sessions, download our Photographer Guidelines.
We know some cities and states are still under tight restrictions while others are beginning to ease back into pre-COVID operations. Gittings is ready and able to work within your state or local requirements. We know law firms are considered essential businesses and lawyers are still hard at work, and we are here to support you. Stay safe and healthy and let us know when we can be of service to you and your firm.