I was asked back last week by a regular client located in Greenwood Village to capture headshots of a few more new staff members they added to their business. I arrived and began setting up. A short while later my contact pops in to say “hi” and to give me heads up that I might have some challenges ahead with a couple of the people she had lined up for headshots that day. One was very uncomfortable in front of the camera and the other she said she had a hard time finding any photos of his where he looked “natural.” No problem, I told her, I have some methods for working with both of those situations.
That’s the number one emotion I encounter in my professional headshot sessions. No surprise then that the first photo I take of a client often resembles a deer frozen in front of oncoming headlights. The below image is taken from a recent business headshot photoshoot session.
Care to guess the single most often asked question I get asked from my clients during my headshot sessions?
“Can you make me look thinner?”
Actually, yes, that is the number one question. But that’s another article. Ok, what is the second most often asked question?
“Can you do something about my double chin?”
That’s the one I’m looking for! This is a question especially common for corporate headshot photographers, less so for those doing actor headshots.
Lasers, baby! If you are a child of the 1980s like me, chances are you have an elementary or middle school headshot photograph that looks very similar to this one. Like many things we once took seriously in the 1980s (Vanilla Ice?), we now resoundingly regard as cheesy.
Nothing, I would argue. This style of headshot background would have been as poor a choice in 1984 as it is in 2016. The reason: distractions.
I had an earlier career as a graphic designer and layout artist for newspapers, books, and print and web materials. Now I have a career as a professional photographer and when it comes to my photography website you can bet look and presentation are important to me. Like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover, so the visual impact and user interface of your website says a lot about your professionalism and experience.
When I first started out shooting headshots I used to take a few days after the headshot session before going through the exposures and selecting the keepers. I would then send my client the best 4-6 headshots and let them choose their favorite. I thought this benefited me because it gave me a chance to come back to the photographs with fresh eyes and I thought it gave my client an opportunity to spend as much time as they needed privately to consider which headshot exposure they preferred best. The more headshots I did the more I found this process to be problematic:
I had the pleasure of working on several headshot photography shoots for NexusTek, an IT support and consulting services company based in the Denver Tech Center. One of my favorite aspects about my job is the opportunity I get to establish and build relationships with the people at the organizations I work with. Headshot photography is conducive to repeated visits with past clients because new headshots are often required for staff changes. If they like your work, you get asked back.
This week I was contacted by Getty Images, an organization with which I have conducted business, to sign a petition letter being filed by Getty to the U.S. Senate Antitrust Sub-Committee that has oversight of competition law in the United States. Getty has filed a competition law complaint against Google. I wholeheartedly added my signature to the letter and I encourage you, whether a photographer or friend of photographers and the profession of photography, to sign the letter, too.
For as long as headshots have been a thing they have traditionally been shot with a vertical frame. For the first headshot session I ever did I, too, shot them vertically because I thought that was just the way you did it. Heck, what did I know? But something bugged me about them. They felt odd and … cramped.
So for my next headshot session I tried them horizontally. Bam! These I liked much better. But why?
Co-Case, the Colorado Association of School Execs, held their most recent biannual meeting in Westminster, Colorado. I first worked with Co-Case last year. They loved my work from that event so hired me back to produce more event photography for them.
John Hickenlooper, governor of Colorado, was one of the featured speakers. He told a story about his son who attends a school that issues no homework. He is a big fan of that policy because, he said, it opens up time for his son to be a kid and play and for he and his son to spend more time together.
No homework policies could be a growing trend. Some researchers say homework fails to demonstrate its effectiveness as an instructional tool. They conclude additionally that homework disrupts family time and contributes to ill-health.