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Article :: Using Photos on Your Business Card

As a Graphic Designer and Print Professional, I’m sometimes asked if it’s a good idea to use a photo on a business card. There’s no right answer to this question as there are several factors that should be considered: personality of the client, industry, company regulations, client goals, to name a few. Let’s look at a few examples of real-life situations:

Real Estate is the industry I see most often using headshots on a business card although not all agents use photos of themselves. There are those who use Avatars or caricatures instead of photos. Others use just the company logo. I have one client who uses a silhouette and another who uses classic cars from his collection. Each decision is based on how the agent wants to be identified and remembered. Since there is a lot of competition among real estate agents, many use head shots to trigger a facial reminder to clients and prospects. A word of caution, however: years ago, I had a client I had only spoken to by phone. When I paid a surprise visit to her office, I didn’t recognize her as the picture on her card was at least fifteen years old!

Photos are not limited to headshots, as illustrated by my client with the classic cars. Two of my clients have photography-related businesses. For both clients, I suggested using shots showing examples of their work. The business card I created for one of my photographer clients is a trifold, mini portfolio showing a variety of examples of his work along with a self-portrait.

For those deciding to use a headshot on their business cards, it’s essential to use a high-quality, experienced photographer who pays careful attention to pose, angles and lighting. They can determine how to make you look your absolute best in print and know all the tricks to highlight your best features. It’s also a great idea to check with your Graphic Designer who knows how the photo will be positioned in the design and can coordinate with the photographer to assure the photos will work perfectly integrated into the design. For example, if your Graphic Designer will be extracting the headshot from the background, it’s important that any stock backdrops be a different color than the hair or outfit for easy removal. If you have questions on whether to use a photo, ask your design and print expert for her opinion. She will want to see you look your best and create a unique look that’s all your own.

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