Pittsburgh business and corporate photographer, David Barker, serves many of the firms and corporations in downtown Pittsburgh and the tri-state area.
Whether headshots, events, or professional business portraits, David Barker Photography can serve all of your portrait and photography needs in studio or on location.
CLICK HERE for more information or call 412-200-0673

We would like to introduce to you our professionals in Pittsburgh who are "on the move". Whether it is a promotion, new job opportunity or winning an election, our hats are off to them.
Congratulations for your hard work and helping Pittsburgh to also keep "on the move"!

For a professional headshot, how should I tie my tie?

The knot in your tie is right in the middle of the photo and while it should not be the focal point, if it is not tied right, it can look sloppy.

My suggestion is the Windsor.  I have a link from Brooks Brothers you can go to that might help. Brooks Brothers: How to tie a tie.

It looks best if it forms an even triangle.
The shirt should not be seen above the knot.
The back sides of  the tie should be covered by the collar.
The collar should point down and not to the side, allowing the above.


What is the ideal crop for a headshot?

Keep in mind some basic logic.

The larger the image, the greater the impression the image makes on a web page.

The larger the "item" in the image the greater the impact that "item" has in the image.

For example:  If the image is filled with just a person's face from chin to the crown of the head,  the mouth will take up a large percentage of the image and will be noticed more and therefore will have a greater impact.  This might be good for a tooth paste commercial.

However if the image has a person standing alone in a large room, the room will be noticed more and the room will have more (perhaps greater) impact than the person.  This might be good for a decorating magazine.

So it really depends on the message your want to send.

If you want to tell the most about the person and their personality and you want to connect with them, the answer is somewhere in between.

A formula I have come up with is that the head is about 50% of the image so that you are not too "in your face".  The body then sets the stage for the head.  The eyes then can be about 1/3 of the way down which is considered the focal point in photography.  And really the eyes are the way we communicate with people or connect with them.  Also you are not showing so much body that the person looks our of balance or overweight.

Still in the end,  the route depends on the use of the image, the message you want to send and personal taste.




For a professional headshot, how should I tie my tie?

There are many ways to tie the knot,  but as a general rule, the shirt should not show above the tie and  it should be even and not to one side. It should form a triangle.  While the photo is not about the tie, remember that the knot is in the direct center of the photo and if it looks sloppy, it will make you look sloppy.  If you don't tie the tie often, it is better that I tie it for you.  In addition, the shirt sould fit well.  If the shirt is a little big or too small, that too will affect how the tie will look.

Headshot or Full Length?

#5 Headshot vs full length

Full Length
Today it is very popular on bio pages to use a full length image of the person with in the article or off to the one side.  It creates an interesting modern approach. Since we see the entire body, it has more of an active look. The downside though is that it is kind of like seeing someone on the far side of the room.  It is not a good distance if we want to connect or feel connected to the person. Some photographers like the look because they are quicker to take, just having a person move around and take a lot of photos and then let the person pick one out on their own later.  Also little photoshop work is needed because the face is smaller. Some people look good full length, but if a person is over weight they may not feel comfortable and the impression could just be that that person is overweight. 

Head and Shoulder


This has been the standard business portrait for many years.  It has more of a traditional look and is not as “active” as the full length. Since it is much closer to the person’s face, the photography is far more critical.  The body position and in particular the head position is far more important.  If the nose is up a 1/4 inch too much it can look snobby,  off center it can look suspicious.  Too much smile they can look silly and if the head is bent the wrong way, weird. It takes more time to do a really good head shot and photoshop is critical.  However if you want to really connect with you client, this is ideal.  Again it is like looking at someone across the room who will not go over, and having a personal conversation face to face. Several things are needed.  Time:  It normally takes more time to get the head pose just right and experiment with smiles, and non-smiles (a warm look though).  Selection consultation: Next a good photography will not leave the selection up to the person but will take the time (sometimes it takes more time to select the right photo than to take the picture) to give the client the professional assistance to find the best photo and also discuss any concerns and needed photoshop work.  Photoshop:  Everyone needs it. And the photographer will do whatever it takes to make the person look good.

#3 Portrait options



Business portraits can be broken down into four areas:

     1.Traditional Head and Shoulders Portraits
This is the standard in the business world. This formal portrait is normally used for web bios, news releases, magazine articles, brochures, etc.
     2.“Character” Portraits
This type of portrait shows more of the body. By showing more of the arms and body, “body language” can be used to convey greater personality and activity. For example: A man in a business suit sitting behind a desk can give the impression of a conservative long-standing institution. A man with rolled up shirtsleeves working at a desk can portray a hard working active representative, ready to serve your potential client.
     3.“Environmental” Portraits
These are portraits that use the background to help communicate your message. Backgrounds can be done in the studio with a set, digitally, or on location.
     4.Group Portraits
At times, it is necessary to show a larger group, such as a staff or group of directors. This can be done in a large studio, on location, or even digitally with each person photographed separately
     5  Digital backgrounds
Not only does digital photography allow a quick preview, fast turn around time, more opportunity to take more shots and almost unlimited ability to do photo retouching, it enables us to have an unlimited and varied number of backgrounds.
Normally, backdrops would include seamless paper, muslin, canvas, hand-painted as well as studio sets. However, by using a neutral backdrop, the backdrop can be “erased” and the subject “extracted” digitally. Then a background photo of choice can be inserted behind the subject. This photo background can be a courtroom, street scene, office and endless other choices.


Another use of an “extracted” background system is that individual people can be grouped together and inserted on a background. This allows the individuals to have their photos taken at different times in the studio. It also allows us to later remove or add someone to the group and rearrange the layout.

A good business photographer should be able to do all of the above. What type of portrait you choose will depend on your specific need, whether it is a web page, bio, brochure, billboard, etc. Good communication with your photographer will facilitate receiving an effective portrait.

#2 Choose the right photographer



There are many good photographers available who are true artists. However, there are perhaps hundreds of photographic fields. While many like exploring all of the different fields, and may need the work, it is unrealistic to expect them to be an expert in what you need. For example, some photographers are best at working with children and babies, or weddings, but working with corporations and law firms is not the same. Someone who does boudoir photography might not be the one to photograph your CEO.

I would suggest visiting the studio and interview the photographer. See what their speciality is. What is your impression of the studio and the examples? What will the photographer be like to work with? Some photographers are really good with the camera, but may lack in people skills. Get references.  While pricing is always an important issue, an extra amount of research can pay off in the long run. 

Chapter 6: What makes an effective location portrait?




A “location” portrait is where the subject is set in a location or backdrop that tells part of the story. An example would be the person in their office. “Location” photography can be very effective in advertising, brochures, and web sites.

-Consult with your marketing people and photographer to see what will be best for you.
-Choose a location or digital backdrop that will set the stage but not distract from the subject.

Practical considerations:
-The photographer may have to scout the location before the session.
-Some locations may require a permit from the city or property owner.  Some places such as Federal buildings prohibit photography.  Make sure ahead of time.
-Additional lighting may have to be brought in.
-What is the weather forecast if outside?


Consider the pros and cons.
-When on location, the session is controlled by the environment as noted above.
-In the studio, work has a more controlled environment.
-In a natural location, the person may feel more at home (such as in his office) and the look can be more natural
-In a studio the person may feel less comfortable and there is a need to make a set with props, use digital backdrops etc.

How should I prepare?


To prepare for a business portrait,  you might want to keep in mind some of the following:

For guys:
     Do I need a haircut?
     Should I shave before I come in?
     Does my suit fit well?  If not it will gather, look sloppy or you will "swim" in it if it is too big.
     If this is possible, I would suggest that you can go over to the men's department and they may lend you a jacket that will fit perfect.
     Is my shirt ironed?  If it is wrinkled there is little the photographer can do.  If you are not wearing a jacket, consider even bringing a fresh shirt to the session and putting it on then.
     Is my tie properly tied?  If the shirt shows too much above it, it will look sloppy.  If it is crooked, it will look odd.  I will be glad to tie it if you would like.
     How about tie, shirt or suit style?  As a general rule, the more traditional, or conservative, the longer it will take to go out of style.

For ladies:
     How does my hair style look?  Would it be good if I got it done before?
     Business attire normally works the best, but it is really up to the impression you want to make.
     You seldom go wrong with a suit jacket.  Should the shirt collar be tucked in or out?  That is up to you. 
      If your jacket has shoulder pads, it might make your shoulders look really huge in the photo. Just check it out before you come in.  Remember that we look heavier in the photo anyway.
      How is the make-up?  Some will have make-up done before they come in.  The first floor at times will assist in the cosmetic counters.  Avoid heavy make-up that will not look natural.
     As with the men, clothing should fit well, look professional and not look as though they need ironed.

#5 Headshot yes full length?

#5 Headshot vs full length

Full Length
Today it is very popular on bio pages to use a full length image of the person with in the article or off to the one side.  It creates an interesting modern approach. Since we see the entire body, it has more of an active look. The downside though is that it is kind of like seeing someone on the far side of the room.  It is not a good distance if we want to connect or feel connected to the person. Some photographers like the look because they are quicker to take, just having a person move around and take a lot of photos and then let the person pick one out on their own later.  Also little photoshop work is needed because the face is smaller. Some people look good full length, but if a person is over weight they may not feel comfortable and the impression could just be that that person is overweight. 

Head and Shoulder


This has been the standard business portrait for many years.  It has more of a traditional look and is not as “active” as the full length. Since it is much closer to the person’s face, the photography is far more critical.  The body position and in particular the head position is far more important.  If the nose is up a 1/4 inch too much it can look snobby,  off center it can look suspicious.  Too much smile they can look silly and if the head is bent the wrong way, weird. It takes more time to do a really good head shot and photoshop is critical.  However if you want to really connect with you client, this is ideal.  Again it is like looking at someone across the room who will not go over, and having a personal conversation face to face. Several things are needed.  Time:  It normally takes more time to get the head pose just right and experiment with smiles, and non-smiles (a warm look though).  Selection consultation: Next a good photography will not leave the selection up to the person but will take the time (sometimes it takes more time to select the right photo than to take the picture) to give the client the professional assistance to find the best photo and also discuss any concerns and needed photoshop work.  Photoshop:  Everyone needs it. And the photographer will do whatever it takes to make the person look good.

Chapter 3: What is a digital background?


Not only does digital photography allow a quick preview, fast turn around time, more opportunity to take more shots and almost unlimited ability to do photo retouching, it enables us to have an unlimited and varied number of backgrounds.

Normally, backdrops would include seamless paper, muslin, canvas, hand-painted as well as studio sets. However, by using a neutral backdrop, the backdrop can be “erased” and the subject “extracted” digitally. Then a background photo of choice can be inserted behind the subject. This photo background can be a courtroom, street scene, office and endless other choices.

Another use of an “extracted” background system is that individual people can be grouped together and inserted on a background. This allows the individuals to have their photos taken at different times in the studio. It also allows us to later remove or add someone to the group and rearrange the layout.