A professional headshot is also a reflection of your brand. There are times when a particular background or 'look' is required. I recently had the opportunity to photograph Carla Atkins Long for Elite Title. You may have seen her last photo I created on a billboard in Springdale, well soon you'll be seeing a new one.
In speaking with her, she mentioned that she's always speaking with her clients in an open fashion from a chair in her office. This reflects an openness and honesty no boundaries to 'hid' behind such as a table or desk. To that end we created many images and the one below best emulated the brand of Elite Title.
I recently had the opportunity to create new headshots for all at both locations. To compliment and go with their brand, they suggested outdoors. It's very rare I create headshots outdoors, simply because we have a studio and weather can be unpredictable at times. Even with the high winds the images look great.
Your brand and the look/feel you want to portray can set your company as unique and professional, consistency is one of the keys. You offer professional quality work, your headshots must reflect that quality.
A Headshot is part of preparing to meet your prospect for the FIRST time. It's your virtual handshake, so everything has to be right, so you may be nervous and self conscious , but that's ok, your photographer is here to help make things right.
Here are some tips to a great headshot for your company.
- Confidence is Key … Being in front of the camera can be stressful and intimidating. But don't worry! Keith is a professional and will coach you through the process. He will take care of all the little details and guide you to create a portrait that will make the best first impression.
- Strike a Pose… If standing, shift your weight to the back leg, if sitting, lean forward slightly, shoulders back and down, tummy tight! Don't forget to relax the arms and slightly away from your body. Together, we'll help find the best pose for you.
- Size Matters … Loose fitting clothing does not photograph as well as tight fitting clothing. Clothing that fits well is important for your session. Men, make sure your suits re tailored properly.
- To Stripe or not to Stripe… Solid colors are always a better choice. Patterns and stripes will add one to two sizes to you in a photo so stick with solids! Avoid contrasting colors and bottoms as well (if a 3/4 to full view).
- Bend and Snap … If it bends, then bend it, we don't want to look too stiff and rigid! Creating movement and depth is one of the best ways to look great in a photo. Think about bending your joints-wrists, elbows, knees and ankles (if full length), again Keith will help you.
- Chinny Chin Chin … If you want to avoid the dreaded double chin, we have a helpful hint for you. While most want to lift their chin to the camera, it's best to stretch your chin towards the camera and then lower chin down. It will feel a bit awkward, but will minimize the look of multiple chins.
- Smile with your Eyes …. Get a little playful in front of the camera! A confident attitude and a glimmer in your eye will make your photograph take on a personality of its own. So don't hold back during your session.
- Bring out your Best Side … You'll rarely be photographed straight on to the camera. Since your shoulders are the widest part of your body, you will want to turn your shoulders about 2/3 turn away from the camera. This will not only be more slimming but most flattering.
- I'll Have What She's Having … Hair, make-up, and grooming are very important to the success of your session. Makeup should be tastefully done and in a non-trendy fashion. An airbrush finish is suggested. For men, make sure the 5 o'clock shadow is taken care of.
- Practice Makes Perfect… Don't hesitate to practice in front of the mirror before your session! This will help with the pre-session nerves. You may think it's silly but nobody has to know, don't worry, Keith will take care of you and coach you through the entire session, you'll love this experience.
Another way is being prepared, 'just in case' something happens, this is something I learned a long time ago. When going on location, I always carry backup, yes, it makes for a larger load but I know I'm prepared just in case, since I've been through several situations and learned from them. I always carry a backup camera, lens, batteries, backup flashes, cords, etc. that is, I have at least two of each just in case, say, a camera falls? This has actually happened a couple of times, as stressful as it is, I carry on with the session objective in mind and deal with the problem later, because I have a backup that will complete the job. One example was a wedding about 25 years ago when I was moving from the church to the reception and the camera fell off the tripod on to the concrete, when I picked it up, all i could hear was broken glass inside the camera (in the film days). I had another camera that did the job just as good and carried on. I once had a strobe start to smoke and over heat, I immediately unplugged it and replaced it with the backup.
Another way of being prepared is knowing the environment and situations of the location. As much as I communicate about the photography project, there are times were I'm not able to see the location until I arrive. On these occasions, I bring more than enough equipment to handle a variety of lighitng scenarios, my therory is that it's better to have too much, than not enough.
It's all about making sure the customer gets what they want and delivering the quality images they expect in a professional way. If you ever have a session where the person taking the photos shows up with only a camera and flash, be forewarned, not only are they not prepared, but they also don't have experience needed to provide the images you really want.
Shown below is a sample of the equipment taken to on location jobs, it always varies. Not shown are the light modifiers, tripod and stand.
Memories are a POWERFUL thing, it can lift us up, bring us down, make us thankful or learn from mistakes. I was recently working in the shop with walnut wood and the smell triggered memories of my father and I making an entertainment center when i was 16, it's like I was there. The senses of sight, touch and sound are just as impactful.
Recently I was listening to the 70's music on iHeart Radio, wow did it ever take me back to a simpler time, you know the feeling. It's amazing when you hear a song and it unlocks memories and triggers emotions from times you thought you had forgotten, it's a powerful thing. Not long after that, I was thinking, 'what ever happened to my first camera?', honestly, i have no idea, but i had to look on eBay and found the exact model in pristine condition, an Olympus OM10. I purchased a camera exactly like this in 1979 to photograph sporting events for my local hometown newspaper. As soon as I got it, yep, I looked through the viewfinder and, more powerful than any song, a flood of memories came back as I saw the meter and heard the click of the camera and cranked the film advance. Then I looked at my current camera and thought of millions of images I've been blessed to take over the last 35 + years, the people the camera has put me in front of and the number of cameras I've had. So I had to take this photo of the two cameras, the first and the present.
I calculated I've had right at 20 different cameras between, some were very large as the second photo shows (a copy of a self portrait), the largest was a Mamiya RB67 with a 100-200 zoom lens. A few others were Hasselblad that I used at many proms, graduations and weddings and put thousands of rolls of film through them all. Wow how times and technology have changes… but thankful my memories the cameras have given me have never changed.
Everyone needs a good quality headshot, but what defines a great headshot.
Lets first answer the question of the purpose of a headshot.
1. Shows the face behind the business. This is pretty simple but important so the client can visualize you while talking. This gives your business a personal touch, people like to put a face behind the name, it's a step in making a relationship.
2. To show that you are approachable. Being approachable is crucial in any headshot when you're representing a business, when a prospect can feel connected and feel that they can easily do business with you through a headshot, that quickly turns into profits and more referrals. This is achieved in the posing and expression.
3. A quality headshot will compliment your biography page. While prospects are reading about your history and accomplishments, they will relate this information to your portrait.
4. It will make your website look more professional. Most businesses invest heavily into their web site, it is the 'billboard' for your business, a professional headshot is required.
5. It is useful for Branding and Marketing assets. A headshot is not limited to a website, it is vital in LinkedIn as well as printed materials whether business cards, brochures or even billboards.
So now you are ready for your headshot, here are some Tips:
1- Don't use an old photo of yourself, when you were younger, we all want to look younger, but you want a headshot that shows what you look like now. Anything else is misleading about your age and you want to be honest.
2- The average shelf life of a headshot is about every two years.
3- I always ask the client what type/color background they want. It's best, when applicable, to tie in the background color with the marketing colors or type of business. Background colors can also have a psychological effect, for example, a white background can denote clean, which would be good for doctors, black would denote a more dramatic image.
4- Solid colors work best, ladies should avoid sleeveless outfits, but 1/4 sleeves are ok. Men should be clean shaven. The type of outfit will be reflective of the type of business, a plumber will not need to wear a suit and tie.
5- Since the images can be used on web and print, make sure to get a large resolution file in addition to web resolution.
Business portraits can be in studio….
Or on location….
The great leaders we have in NW Arkansas is impressive to say the least. Whether from those small business owners who have excelled to the large corporate CEOs. I know you're tired of me saying this, but I'm truly blessed to have a job where I get to meet these great people. You never know who you'll meet out and about in NWA, they're people just like you and I.
Last year, I had the opportunity to photograph Patrick Swope, who was promoted to CEO of Legacy Bank. In the brief time I had to speak with him, I could tell he was humble and had true concern and dedication for the bank and his new role. I make an effort to listen when great leaders, such as Patrick, speak, you never know where they'll drop 'pearls of wisdom' that could enhance or change your life.
PS: When visiting Legacy Bank web site, I have the honor to have created the banner images on the front page :)
Rosie is one of those people that, after chatting with her, you're thankful to know her. She works closely with people all over the world, diagnosing English as a second language problems and prescribing remedies (to borrow her words). She gives group sessions and webinars to help more of her clients all over the world with their English. Imagine you speak a language other than English and have been given a great job opportunity, but everyone speaks English. Words and phrases, and general 1-2-1 interaction, can be greatly different from your country of origin. This is where Dr Rosie steps in to help make a transition. She has a huge heart for helping others, this is quickly apparent when getting to know others, which makes her even better at what she does.
It takes a lot of thought and courage to rebrand a business, Rosie has done just that with a theme that will be memorable and tie into what she does. Visit her web site at: http://drrosie.org/
Here are a couple of the images created for her business brand…
Developing relationships is important in any business. Over the past 6 years, I've had the honor to have a continuing relationship with Gary and Sharron Nelson at Pinnacle Counseling. When I first started creating their photos back in 2011, they were increasing their advertising and branding efforts, over time they have increase their staff and patient base. The first reason is because of who they are, they are very kind, receptive and understanding counselors, it's their work and helping of others that has built the service they offer. The other reason is they appreciate quality, not only in the services they provide but also in their marketing. The website is clean and informative with quality images that are consistent and blend together.
When I have photo projects with them, I always have time during set up to visit with Gary. He's an easy gentleman to talk to, genuinely interested and concerned for others, his wife is the same. If you have the need for a counselor for any reason, you'll be glad you contacted Pinnacle Counseling.