In focus: Employee Photos for Companies – What Makes Good Employee Photos? (and What Role do AI Tools Play in This)?

In a time when companies are increasingly focusing on presenting their teams and culture, outstanding employee photos have become a valuable tool for corporate communication. Good employee photos not only provide information about individual team members but also reflect the values and atmosphere of a company. What should be considered and what opportunities exist with AI tools?

Key elements for a consistent employee photo library

What characterizes a good employee photo library? Authenticity, consistency and the integration of the corporate culture are crucial. They significantly shape the overall image and therefore the strategy for all staff photos:

Online employee photo library

Authenticity: Outstanding employee photos impress with their authenticity. They portray genuine personalities. Often, these images are linked to employees’ hobbies and interests, creating a more human connection – fostering trust and sympathy.

Consistency: Uniformity in style and design across all employee photos ensures a professional appearance. This consistency creates familiarity and helps to strengthen your corporate identity.

Meaningful information: In addition to the visual aspect, accompanying information also plays an important role. A good employee photo contains not only the name and position, but also a brief description of the employee’s responsibilities, experiences, and passions.

Insight into corporate culture:
Employee portraits can be customized to highlight the personality of each employee, e.g. through targeted background selection or the use of elements that precisely match the corporate brand.

Photo creation – What makes a good employee photo?

The following four aspects should be taken into account when creating each staff photo. Ideally, these elements are already an integral part of the employee photo briefing.

The right light and professional posing are key elements for an employee photo

1. shows a competent demeanor
A competent presence in employee photos is essential as it promotes trust and credibility and underlines a professional image of the company. Such images contribute to positive brand representation, support talent recruitment, strengthen customer loyalty and differentiate the company from competitors. At the same time, they can increase internal motivation. Striking the right balance between competence and authenticity is crucial to building trust and creating a positive impact.

2. Be friendly but not funny
Employee photos should have a friendly vibe, but without drifting into silliness. This ensures a professional and respectful presentation, protects the brand image and and appropriately addresses a broad target group. Friendliness ensures long-term relevance and establishes an authentic, human connection without jeopardizing seriousness or customer relationships.

3. Present yourself well-groomed and appropriate to the company
It is important that you appear well-groomed and in line with the company’s image in your photos in order to convey a consistent and professional corporate image and promote trust, credibility and identification. A well-groomed appearance signals that the company values professionalism. The choice of clothing, whether casual, classic or business, should always match the company.

4. Be direct and honest
Direct and honest representations of employees build a connection between the company and its stakeholders. When images authentically portray the actual personality and role of employees, a sense of credibility and trust is established. This is appreciated by customers, partners, and employees themselves. An authentic and honest visual language thus promotes a positive corporate image and enhances interpersonal relationships.

Image editing – What parameters need to be considered when editing employee photos?

When editing employee photos, there are various parameters that need to be taken into account in order to achieve high-quality and professional results. At smartportrait, we focus on five parameters when editing each individual employee headshot.

Image editing – Before and After comparison

1. Colour and exposure optimization: Adjustment of colors, brightness, contrast and exposure settings to ensure that the photos look appealing and professional.

2. Facial retouching : Correction of skin blemishes, wrinkles and other facial irregularities, e.g. brightening the eyes, whitening teeth or optimizing facial symmetry.

3. Background removal: Removal of the background from the employee photo to ensure a uniform representation of the employees, regardless of their surroundings. This makes it easy to create additional versions of employee photos tailored to different platforms or purposes, e.g. for social media, company website or printed materials.

4. Sharpening and noise reduction: Sharp images are essential to highlight important personal details. Similarly, it is recommended to reduce distracting image noise.

5. Image proportions and cropping: Ensure balanced and uniform image proportions without altering the natural features of the employees.

What role does artificial intelligence (AI) play for employee photos?

We continuously test new AI applications. Artificial intelligence has a remarkable impact on the creation of employee photos and will continue to grow in the future. Here is our current assessment of how well AI applications work for optimizing employee photos:

1 – Color and exposure optimization with artificial intelligence
AI tools can adjust and correct colors, brightness, contrast and exposure settings and even re-expose photos (see Relight).

πŸ‘‰ Use in the real world:
Even with AI, a poor original image cannot be magically transformed. Therefore, focus on creating a good base portrait.

2 – Facial retouching with artificial intelligence
AI can smooth and retouch simple skin imperfections, wrinkles, and other irregularities on the face.

πŸ‘‰ Use in the real world:
Preserving the natural look of employee photos is critical. After editing with an AI tool, the photo often becomes artificial and unnatural.

3 – Background removal with artificial intelligence
AI-powered tools can automatically remove or replace the background of a photo to ensure a consistent representation of employees.

πŸ‘‰ Use in the real world:
A specific challenge arises when cutting out hair (e.g., curly hairstyles). Most tests have not yielded satisfactory results in this regard.

Test – AI tool ‘Picwish’ for cropping portrait shots

4 – Sharpening and noise reduction with artificial intelligence
AI can sharpen images to highlight important details and help reduce distracting image noise.

πŸ‘‰ Real-world application:
Helpful – We already use AI-based software to achieve the best possible result for you. However, if the original image is of too poor quality, even AI is at its limits.

5 – Image proportions and cropping with artificial intelligence
Ensure balanced and uniform image proportions without changing the natural features of the employees.

πŸ‘‰ Real-world application:
Individual photos can already be relatively well optimized. However, the main challenge lies in maintaining a consistent appearance across the entire employee photo library.

While a single AI tool or combination of tools can deliver good results in specific cases, they often fail because the results are not reproducible and lack homogeneity (including in terms of quality).

Conclusion – smartportrait uses Human Retouch

Overall, the combination of human empathy and AI-supported tools is the key to creating outstanding employee photos. At smartportrait, we deliberately rely on human retouching to ensure the authenticity and emotional depth of these portraits.