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Corporate Headshots – Social Media for Business

First impressions will always be important, but now that we conduct so many of our initial interactions online, virtual personal branding has become as important as the firm handshake once was in introducing yourself to the world. Hence a corporate headshot is an opportunity to portray a brand image to potential customers.

In business we spend a lot of money on branding across logos, websites, literature, packaging and premises. Is the photographic representation of you and your coworkers the place to scrimp on branding? Probably not. Whether you are posting your headshot on you Companys website, or want to post it on social media pages, you are always representing your business in one way or another. A professional headshot will put confidence into you business and make your clients more willing to deal with you.

Think about it for a moment – if you were searching for a new supplier and found that a certain company was a very viable supplier, but the corporate headshots had an unprofessional style – would you be willing to deal with this company? If you want to get the most out of your digital presence, a professional corporate headshot will allow you and your colleges to achieve a good appearance.

Getting the most from your head shot

If you decide to make corporate headshots of you and your company, you will have to deal with a lot of questions related to dress codes, style of the images etc. You need to book a photographer and put up a schedule for your co-workers to get photographed.

Me doing corporate headshots of  a company

Pictures received – now what?

Once the photo session is finished you will receive a portfolio of pictures from the photographer. Now you need a plan how to distribute and use these pictures in order to give the best return of Investment.

Corporate Headshost received – time to distribute and use the pictures

Social Media has been a large consumer of headshots for a long time. We have also seen headshots as impersonators in corporate software for a while. The challenge now will be to utilize the new portfolio of headshots over the wide array of software og systems supporting personal portraits.

Active Directory, Exchange and Skype for Business

Portraits can be added to each user account in Active Directory as a thumbnail. There are several tools available for this operation out on the wild internet. We have preferred a PowerShell script to deal with this operation. Pictures are being adjusted and exported to a folder in the format of sAMAccountName.jpg. The Powershell script will then add the corporate headshot to the correct person in Active Directory. The debut of Exchange 2010 and Outlook 2010 made the portrait from AD available in Exchange Global Address list. All out of sudden the new headshots are available in the Outlook clients to all employees in the company.

Corporate Headshots available in Exchange and Outlook

The thumbnails uploaded to Active Directory will also be visible for colleagues in Skype for Business:

Corporate Headshots as viewed in Skype for Business

AD-integrated thumbnails in Skype for Business will only be visible to internal users. Federated users will not have read access to the picture stored in Active Directory. In order to make your thumbnail portrait visible to federated partners you need to tweak your Skype for Business to allow pictures from a website. With this option available we can pick a portrait available on the Internet as a thumbnail photo in Skype for Business.
In order to have a streamlined distribution of the corporate headshots, we have created a website on the Skype for Business server with all headshots available in correct format. The website is populated with images from the same Powershell script populating AD with thumbnail photos. This will give all users a Skype for Business uniform corporate portrait visible to everyone – internally and externally!

Example of Skype for Business meeting where pictures of federated users are missing

3rd party systems

The Powershell script used for distribution of the corporate headshots can easily be customized to distribute pictures to other 3rd party systems. The following list contains examples of 3rd party systems where the powershell script has been used for picture distribution.

Trio Enterprise

Trio Enterprise has options to have corporate headshots for each individual person registered in Company Directory. Company Directory can be set to synchronize with Active Directory, but the thumbnail photo from AD can’t be directly synced to Company Directory. By customizing the PowerShell script for distributing the corporate headshots, we have managed to incorporate Trio Enterprise into the automated picture distribution. Here are some examples of pictures as they appear in Trio Enterprise:

Corporate Headshot in Trio Enterprise Attendant

Corporate Headshot in Trio Enterprise Web Assistant

Corporate Headshot in Trio Enterprise Web Assistant

Web based solutions

The pictures has also been distributed to 3rd party web based solutions with information based on AD giving phone lists, employee lists, organization charts, doorsigns etc. These are handy tools for new coworkers in the company to match names and faces. Some screenshots just as an example:

Organization Chart with headshots

Department list with headshots

Title list with headshots

User information with headshot

Doorsign template with headshot

Contact Card VCF file

The best way to distribute your contact card in a digital way, is by use of VCF Contact Cards. These cards can in fact also contain a portrait. This will effectively distribute the new portraits and updated personal details to your contact persons outlook and mobile phones. The PowerShell script used to distribute the Corporate Headshots can also distribute pictures to be used in a VCF Contact Card routine. I have earlier described a routine for setting the Outlook Auto Signature based on details in AD. This has in some circumstances been extended to give a shortcut to an downloadable VCF file with appropriate updated contact details – included a fresh user portrait!.

Outlook AutoSignature with shortcut to updated VCF file

VCF file with updated details and corporate headshot

Windows 10 Profile Picture

Some fantasy and creative use of PowerShell and Group Policy can also automatically distribute the Corporate Headshots from AD as profile picture in Microsoft Windows 10.

Corporate Headshot as profile picture in Windows 10. ScreenLock background is also centrally managed.

Corporate Headshot picture in Windows 10


Microsoft Office 365 has Corporate Headshots heavily integrated in all services and modules. We have expanded the Powershell script to distribute the corporate headshots also to this platform. This gives the platform an extra social profile.

An example of corporate headshots in Delve from Microsoft Office 365

Corporate Headshots and other graphical branding through scripting

Scripting and customization of your standard products used by your employees on a day to day basis can take your branding interests to a higher level. This blog post has focused on corporate headshots. It could have been considerable longer if I did include other graphical branding possibilities available in your standard products in use at the office. 

A security concern!

Please do remember – these are small steps helping you increase your security since it will give your services a branded look which differs from standard solutions!

I would love to help you with these concerns! Please comment if you have a good story, some needs or experience related to this topic!

Published inActive DirectoryAzureExchangeLyncMicrosoft 365Office365PowershellScriptSecuritySkype for BusinessTrio

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