“I feel like I’m supposed to love this, but I don’t.”
Do you ever say that about a photo? Recently, a local business owner showed me the family portrait on her desk and said that. “I feel like I’m supposed to love this, but I don’t.” As soon as I saw the picture, I knew why.
It was an image of her, her husband and their three children. It was a photograph of those she loved, but not a photograph she loved. They were dressed nicely. It had the proper settings, good light, proper positioning, etc., but there was no LIFE in the image. No personality, nothing to remember, or fall in love with. Their eyes seemed glassed over and their smiles forced. It was more of a mug shot than an image of a loving family.
Art vs. Technical
Photographers have to balance doing enough of the things we are SUPPOSED to do with enough of the things we SHOULD do. We have to do both art and technical.
Experience, skill and personal style determine how much is art and how much is technical. Sometimes we focus on one too much over the other. In the example above, the photo was too technical. The family wasn’t engaged in the moment. It lacked real emotion. It was technically right, but felt rushed.
On the other hand, these days, digital technology has put quality cameras in the hands of the public. Inexperienced, yet passionate, people take up photography. Artistic taste drives their work, even at the expense of technical proficiency. They get genuine smiles and emotions, but they can lack the benefits of good lighting (natural or artificial), good color in the skin and focus. The decent shots they get are lucky, and they aren't able to duplicate them for other clients.
When you choose someone to photograph your family, you need to decide for yourself what is important to you. Are you concerned about your weight or complexion? Do you want to highlight your best features? Then go with the technical photographer who understands how lighting, posing and choice of lens can help. Do you want to remember sweet moments and laughter? Do you want to smile every time you see the photo? The artistic photographer is the way to go.
But why not have it all? Carefully choosing a skilled and experienced photographer who carefully balances both technical and art is the best choice of all. Someone who understands both will be able to create photos from the client's list of needs and desires. Technical expertise is almost always needed to execute an artistic vision.
Take a look at your most recent family photo. Does it show what you look like or who you really are? Can you actually see the color of your eyes? Is your skin the right tone? Is your smile natural? Are your kids comfortable? Do you all look like yourselves? Do you love it? If not, it’s time to find a new photographer.
As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. I remember the first time a headshot made a bad impression on me. It was a realtor, whom I had met in person. A few days later, as I was referring her to someone else, I pulled up her company’s website. When I saw her head shot, I was confused. I had to double-check to make sure it was her. There was nothing technically wrong with the photo. She had a pleasant smile and was professionally dressed. The problem was that the photo was obviously very old. It looked nothing like her. Maybe she kept it because she liked that photo of herself, but as a potential client, it made me feel like she was lying, like she was hiding something. If she couldn’t even be honest with a photo of herself, what else was she hiding? How else would she deceive me? I couldn’t shake that feeling. I did not end up hiring her.
We are visual creatures and learn a lot about people by what we can observe.
Not every headshot is right for every person. The image should tell the viewer something about the person with whom they will be doing business. Is this person professional? Casual? Friendly? Trustworthy? What will your headshot tell people? How will your photo make you stand out? Consider the following example:
This woman is an event planner. Her headshot is on the job and in action. Potential clients can tell she is professional, calm and friendly and pays attention to details. These images help them feel more confident about how she does her job.
Here’s another example:
This team wanted to highlight their differences and what they each bring to the company. He is the creative thinker and she is the number cruncher. Together they get everything done. They need their clients to trust them completely and that starts with getting to know a little bit about them through their photos.
There is a place for the more traditional headshots. Some professionals need to be known as someone who is pulled together and poised. Others can be a bit more creative. Professional doesn't have to be boring or stuffy. Either way, having a professional headshot will show that you are truly dedicated to your career and that you have attained a certain level of success. There are many more tips for making the best of a head shot, and I would be happy to discuss your particular needs.
If you're like most people, you put off getting a new head shot and it remains near the bottom of your priority list. I'm here to remind you that a current, professional and true-to-you head shot photo is extremely important to your business! Potential clients do judge you by the quality of the image they see. If your business relies on relationships and trust, you NEED a great headshot photo. Don't forget about your profile pictures on social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter. (Don't need it for business, but want to make a great impression on Facebook or online dating? No problem. I can do that, too!)
So to make this easy, I'm scheduling a day in my new studio for you to come on in and get it done. I promise it won't be painful. I take my time with each client to make sure we showcase the features you love best and minimize the ones you don't. Whether you need a serious suit-and-tie photo or a relaxed casual look, I can make it happen!
The date for this head shot event is April 24 in my studio at 4112 George Washington Memorial Hwy in Yorktown, VA. I have openings as early as 7:30am. You'll receive three fully-retouched high-resolution images to be used for internet or print. As always, I guarantee my work! Price is $100, which is the lowest price I ever offer for head shots. Contact me today to reserve your preferred appointment time.
Do you want to look fabulous in any photo? Find out here.