Business portraits are not created equally. Many managers and even business owners have the mistaken belief staff photos are simply a commodity item. Their directive: get these photos done as quickly and cheaply as possible. In the worst case, the protocol is to use a cell phone to take photos. In the example shown, I've tried to illustrate the difference between different levels of business portraits.
On the left, the "Ugly." Photos like this, usually taken by someone in HR or a desperate marketing person with no budget and no photography skills, the subject is told to stand up against the wall. A cell phone is used with obvious issues having to do with color and tone (distorted), raccoon eyes because there is no direct lighting on the face, no separation from the background to give the subject definition, and poor framing and cropping. The photo reveals too much body with no expression (hands behind the back) and too much head room (meaning the subject is too low in the frame).
In the middle, "Bad." This is where you hire the cheapest "professional" photographer you can get. The results...not "bad"...well not so good. Lighting is decent but the subject is placed with shoulders and chin straight on to the camera. Camera position is straight into the eyes which flattens the face. Most lower end photographers crop to a 4x6 frame which also includes too much torso and results in too much head room. Shooting is usually too fast resulting in not enough choices. Outcome: you are forced to choose from the best of the bad in terms of pose and expression. Worse yet, lower end photographers either don't know how to retouch an image or can't provide retouching at a low price. The resulting final photo includes hair flyaways (even on the face!), dull eyes, and blemishes.
The "Good." Well, the "Great!" The final image on the right overcomes all of the faults of the previous two photos. Besides the technical considerations, setting a mood, getting the subject comfortable, creates the potential for authentic, flattering portraits. I generally shoot about 60 shots per portrait session just to give the person a chance to relax into the process. From a technical standpoint, elevating the camera just a few degrees above the subject forces their chin a bit up and forward. Posing the subject with his or her torso to the right or left gets their head around to a more elongated, flattering angle. Speaking of torso, cropping to an 8x10 ratio automatically eliminates the unneeded torso and makes the photo look more professional. Skilled lighting includes a main light, backdrop light, kicker light (off to the right), and a reflector to the right of the subject. The result separates the subject from the background and adds balance and tone. Professional retouching lightly smooths the complexion, lightens and brightens eyes and teeth, and removes flyaways on the face and around the edges of the hair. Finally, professional camera equipment results in clear, high resolution, correctly colored and flattering portraits.