5 Benefits of Environmental Portraits on Your Website

Paul Burner's Office

Photos create connections with People.
Stories create connections with people.

Combine the two and multiply the impact you have with your audience!”

Slide Arts Website DesignCheck out my photo taken by my friend Alexis Logan at LexLoganPhotography.com.

I love the many stories that this photo tells about me and the work I do – and where I do it. I love that I’m not posing and that my computer isn’t the focal point of this photo.

In website design the goal is to create connections with your audience, so I encourage people to have photos taken “doing their thing” to help people get a bigger picture of who they are and why they do what they do.

This type of photography has a name:  Environmental Portraits

5 Benefits of Environmental Portraits on Your Website:

#1 – Establish Your Personality

Using an environmental portrait on your website instead of a typical corporate “head shot” allows you to show some of your personality.  Sometimes head shots alone give an impression of stiffnessbut people are not stiff and dull. In fact, the people I have met consistently have had some great stories to tell. Start telling your story with an environmental portrait.

#2 – Show Off Your Location

An environmental portrait doesn’t have to be at your business location, but it sure helps to solidify your story. Whatever you use, be sure it connects you and your business with your audience.

#3 – Break Stereotypes

I have a friend that I call my brother – but he’s not.  He’s a counselor/therapist/psychologist.  I bet you already have a picture in your head of what he looks like.  But that isn’t the picture I have of him in my mind. So, I encouraged him to put on his most comfortable clothes (jeans and a comfy shirt) and have a photo taken of him leaning up against his pickup truck. Why??? Because I don’t want to go see some stuffy psychologist – and if I saw a photo of this guy on his website I would probably think, hmmmmm – this guy looks “real” and would be someone I might be able to communicate with.

#4 – Create a Vibe

#1 on our list was Establish Your Personality – but environment photography can do so much more for you and your business.  A well-done photo can create a vibe about you and your business that is instantaneous.  You can engage people in a way that will make them want to come and see you because of your photo.

#5 – Project a Congruent Message

If you do some searching online for environmental photos you will notice something interesting.  You don’t have to be looking at the camera to create a really great image.  You can be “in the mix” of what you do – and share a captured moment with your audience. So, what is important?

The goal is to have a photo that reflects you! There needs to be a connection between what people see and who you are. If you’re not a “suit and tie” type of person why would you have a photo of you in one?

I’d go for a cup of coffee or find a time when you can just connect with your photographer when you’re not worried about getting the right shot.  In the best scenario I’d try to find time to connect with the person shooting your “story”. When you are able to relax, you’ll feel comfortable about not “posing” and your photographer will  be able to do a much better job at helping you tell your story.  Don’t be afraid to have a conversation WHILE the photos are happening.  A good photographer can grab those moments that really are you.

Environmental portraits are a great way to paint a picture about you and your company that can make an immediate and lasting impression on someone.   The goal is to continue the process of telling your story via a photo.

One of the typical reactions to seeing yourself in a photo is that you become critical of yourself.

I’ve heard these:
I hate my smile.
I hate that I’m not smiling.
I should have moved that piece of art a little to the left.
I should have turned a little more towards the camera.


Relax and enjoy the process. The goal is to have a story that people can connect with – and that story doesn’t have to be perfect. The story does need to capture the essence of who you are and your business – and sometimes the perfect photo might be an out-take when the photographer made you laugh.  Hopefully you’ll know it when you see it.

Environmental Portrait Examples to Inspire You