Portrait guidelines


    When to use

    SONAX portraits should be used to present our staff or partners. It is not important how this person is related to the brand exactly, but whenever a specific person is in focus, introduced or presented e.g for an article, an employee listing or even in a sales pitch, use a portrait of that specific person.

    When to consider an alternative

    If the context is not about a specific person, don't use a portrait. These images are not produced for marketing purposes or emotional teaser images. Try using an emotional product shot with some more context, a stage image or key visual instead.

    Presenting people

    Cut and Fill

    In general, don't get too tight, postproduction will fix it! Yes, it is a portrait but give the frame enough room for slight cropping options. The SONAX portraits will be cropped above the waist, up. Don't block the frame with the subject, it is recommended to fill the frame 1/3 horizontally with the subjects face so there is enough whitespace remaining on the sides. Even more important, never crop heads. Give at least some room to the frame top border so the subject doesn't feel squeezed in.

    Posing and Positioning

    SONAX does not want to make people feel uncomfortable, starting with their resulting portrait image. Keep in mind that the subject is not aware of their appearance in your frame. Be gentle but guide them to a pose that delivers great results so they will feel pleased, too. There should be no mug shots at all, like straight side or front angles. A preferred angle would be the in-between 3/4 view. Try to place your subject's shoulders in different heights to shrink them slightly into the frame. This will make them look skinnier and more interesting. For a more personal and individual look, let the subject decide which side they prefer. Keep in mind some people have strong opinions on this topic and we want to respect their choice. However, it should be round about 3/4 from the left or from the right side. There are no straight, static angles.

    Eye Direction

    There are two ways to grab the viewers attention regarding portraits. The straight approach would be to align the subject's eyes with their nose. On the other hand, it is possible to capture the line of sight directly towards the camera. Referring to the SONAX brand communication guide, the direct to camera approach is preferred. SONAX is a personal, emotional involving brand, so our staff should address the viewer personally. Closed or half-opened eyes have to be avoided because of their impression to be tired or exhausted.


    Off-camera lighting is important because it is half the challenge when it comes to taking a good portrait. If you set up a light source pointing the same angle as your camera, the image will be flattened completely, because no shadows are left. Try moving the light source slightly away from the camera and you immediately add depth. Don't be shy, the SONAX brand is professional but self-confident and strong, so it is possible to use strong high- or rim lights. Overall try to fill the image with enough light so the subject is separated from the background and the image tends to look more high key. The lighting should always match the background. Don't use a soft, dim light in front of a light background.


    There is a reason why portraits often were taken on a clean background. The background has to be uniform and not distract the viewer away from the subject. Regarding the given definition of professional and high-class brand communication, the background should be similar in every session taken. Considering different locations all over the world, it could be complicated to use a unified background overall. But as a general approach, the background should be light, clean and easy to remove in post-production. Don't use a blue/green screen because of green/blue spilling, that would be hard and cost-intensive to remove. Everything in the grey to the white range should be a great place to start.

    Group photos

    There is no special treatment in group photos regarding eye line, lighting or background. Only positioning your subjects could be a little bit more challenging. As a general rule try to avoid stacking people, keep in mind our brand communication is personal and professional so each employee is important. Try to fill the frame as a whole, regarding the group size take a few steps back, if necessary. The general image format has to be 16:9, be aware of placing people to close to the frame border, there has to be room for different cropping approaches. The SONAX brand prefers images that are taken inside and settings that are related to a SONAX location. Recognizable premium hotels or sky lounges have to be avoided and stand upright against our brand communication.

    Data handling

    We love RAW. Sure, it is large and sometimes difficult to handle and we know everyone wants to deliver his product unchangeable set in stone as the optimal result. But keep in mind there are a lot of different stakeholders that could benefit from your work as video editors, visual and print designer that are in need of a high-quality portrait image and would be glad to use one of yours. So exporting different file formats takes some time, but it will help everyone who has to work with your delivery. Use a well-known format anyone can open like JPG and provide the RAW files as well, we appreciate it!