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How to Plan for Your Personal Branding Headshot Session

Professional headshots can make a big difference in how you are perceived by others, especially when it comes to signing new business or getting a new job. The headshot is a key component of personal branding, one that, unfortunately, is neglected sometimes. That is why a headshot session is an investment all business owners should take into consideration. If you've never done something like this before or you have, but you want to make sure you'll look your best when the time comes, then this post is for you. Here's how to plan your personal branding headshot session. 1. Do some research There are many different headshot styles you can go for and each photographer will have its own. It's important to look at different styles so you can find one you like and would work best for you. Not only the shooting style, but the retouching work, as well. Pinterest is a great tool you can use for inspiration. You can create a board where you will save pictures with portraits you really like. Either way, you should look into as many portfolios as possible before deciding on the style you want to choose. 2. Decide on the location You can choose between an in-studio session, an on-location session, or an outdoor session. If you're considering a classic or modern approach, then you can go for an indoor headshot session. It's a great option for those of you who won't have that much time on your hands. For an indoor session, we typically photograph on a white, grey or black background. However, for an executive portrait, we will often use a personalized environmental element. If you want to have a headshot with a more casual [...]

How to Plan for Your Personal Branding Headshot Session 2018-01-17T12:36:46+00:00

Personal Branding Basics

Personal branding, and creative expression for that matter, aren't just for what we consider the traditionally "artistic" fields or those in the public eye. Everybody to some degree or another must put themselves in the most positive light possible. In order to best creatively express yourself for the purpose of your goals, it's helpful to know the basics of what personal branding is, what business portraits (headshots) are in relation to this, and what this all means for you and your own personal and professional goals. What is a personal brand? Whether you are proactively seeking employment or have a vested interest in promoting yourself publicly, people are still seeing, evaluating, and categorizing you all the time. A personal brand is the same as a company brand, in the sense that it's an attempt to constellate and create the image that you're hoping to convey to the person receiving the image. While your goals may vary, whether it's a better job, better contacts and clients for your company, or industry recognition, one way or another you'll want to take responsibility for the image you're projecting. What is the Importance of Story in Branding? As one brand expert on headshots for comedians says, "It's all about having a story behind your eyes. Whatever that story is, you need to have a story. Just like when you're acting, something needs to be going on…" It's important to consider the message behind each element that people can see in your pictures. You'll want to imagine yourself seeing the picture from an outsider's perspective, and contemplate what it is likely to say to that person. Ask yourself if your picture is going to appear on a bus stop bench, for example, [...]

Personal Branding Basics 2018-01-04T08:53:18+00:00

Print What You Want to Preserve

I was at a party recently, and a fellow guest shared a horror story that makes me cringe every time I hear it, and I've heard variations of the tale more times than you'd believe. The photographer she booked to shoot her engagement and wedding photos delivered the images digitally but didn't print anything for them. The bride stored them on her computer...but never looked at them and eventually accidentally deleted them. By the time she noticed they were missing, it was too late to do an emergency restore. They were gone. "Shoot n' burn" photography vs. full-service studios The photographer this woman booked for her engagement and wedding photography photos might have followed a popular business model that we in the industry call, "shoot n' burn", in which the photographer delivers a client's digital files shortly after the session or event, and lets the client handle her own print or album ordering through popular online or retail companies. At first glance, it's a great way for customers to save some money on photography services, and it's a no-hassle, low-commitment way for a photographer to book a gig when he doesn't have the right post-production equipment and software to prepare images for print media. Full-service photographers work with reputable custom labs and album companies or run their own professional grade in-house printing services. They know that high-quality, archival prints best represent their work. Lots of photographers who offer custom print and album services comply with requests for "shoot n' burn" arrangments because some clients insist on having full control of their digital files as soon as possible, believing that the freedom to make their prints whenever they want, wherever they want translates to the best value for [...]

Print What You Want to Preserve 2017-12-25T21:05:53+00:00

The Value of Professional Portraiture

In today's age of inexpensive digital SLRs and smartphone cameras, not everyone understands the value a professional photographer brings to your family portraits and professional headshots. Most people understand the difference between a $0.99 fast-food McDinky and a juicy, custom-grilled cheeseburger with all the fixings, and I'm fortunate enough to attract clients who don't need to be informed of the difference between an iPhone selfie and a professional headshot. But with the photography market full of newcomers breaking in with "prosumer" digital cameras and entry-level package prices, it's important to address the value of true professional photography. Like you, I like to make informed decisions when making a purchase and I shop around before making any significant purchases. Here are a few points to consider when you're hiring a portrait photographer. There's more to photography than accurate exposure Anyone with a camera and basic photography skills can make a few great "keepers" from hundreds of shots, but professional photographers have the experience and training to produce consistent, planned results that match your intended vision. Your goal isn't to get pictures that are properly exposed. Your goal is to commission professionally-created images that capture you with the mood and message that represents your brand. Does your photographer know how to light and pose his subject to convey that message? Is she equipped with the right lenses and lighting for the task at hand? Experience equals convenience Your time is as valuable as the money you invest in your photography needs. You want to be confident that your photographer will show up, get the job done, and deliver your proofs, finished digital files and custom prints on time. When you hire a professional studio photographer with established vendors, solid [...]

The Value of Professional Portraiture 2017-12-18T21:06:43+00:00

Ditch the Scraps: Why We Don’t Deliver All The Digital Files

You don't want all the digital files... trust me! Imagine going to a nice restaurant. You and your dining partner each order a grilled salmon fillet with roasted vegetables, a nice bottle of wine and a couple crisp Romaine salads. When your meal arrives, the waiter sets the beautifully-plated meal before you...and then hands you a dripping plastic bag. You look inside. A fish head, some fins, carrot tops, lettuce stems and wilted outer leaves, and a mushy mess of crushed grapes. "What do I do with this?" You ask. When you pay for a professionally-prepared meal, that premium pays for ingredients, preparation, and presentation. You may have paid for the whole fish, but that doesn't mean you want the scraps. You want the end result of a trained chef's efforts to bring out the best flavors and textures in your food for an exquisite culinary experience. When you hire a professional photographer, it's the same thing: I take the best images from a number of captured shots, enhance them and present to you the best part of your photo session. Image capturing process Every time I shoot, I set up each image for success though in-camera composition and exposure. This is easier to do with static studio portrait sessions, but when I'm shooting an event, there's a lot more action and natural emotion. That means I'm taking more shots to ensure I capture the right moment. Either way, I'm going to have a bunch of extra images from which to choose. If we're going to run with the restaurant analogy, think of it as selecting the best fresh ingredients to take back to the kitchen for that day's menu special. The editing process When I edit [...]

Ditch the Scraps: Why We Don’t Deliver All The Digital Files 2017-12-18T21:26:20+00:00

Why You Should Book a Studio Family Portrait Session

Always a classic. Book a studio family portrait today! Every few years, it's time to get the family together for a portrait. These days, it often means spending days coordinating outfits before heading out to one (or several) picturesque locations, while wrangling pets, partners, and small kids. Sometimes, everyone's cooperating, but the weather isn't. Sometimes, the stress of "herding cats" makes you wonder if the family will implode before the final portrait makes it to the frame shop. When it all comes together, you've got a gorgeous shot of your family that— let's face it—might as well have been cut-and-pasted over the smiling faces of the family portraits you get each year tucked into holiday greeting cards: The same denim-and-khaki outfits, same fall leaves or cherry blossoms in the background. Outdoor family portraits are popular because they're aesthetically pleasing, but do they really capture your family? Do you think this year, your investment in professional photography services, gas and sanity can be put to better use? I admit it; I love photographing subjects outside, but when it comes to family portraiture, the studio environment allows for more creativity, flexibility, and convenience. Book a studio family portrait session and try something different... something classic. More relaxed setting I've designed my new Silver Spring studio as a comfortable place for my clients to gather and have fun with the photography process. Is your two-year-old having a meltdown? Bring a few toys along and let her cool off in between shots. Do you want to try a few different clothing changes for both formal and casual portraits? You won't have to duck behind a tree or take turns using your family car as your dressing room. Want to include your [...]

Why You Should Book a Studio Family Portrait Session 2017-12-18T21:27:03+00:00

Making Your Virtual First Impression

You hear and read it everywhere, it takes only 7 seconds to make a first impression! How can you make the most of those precious 7 seconds? Countless articles and books have been written about how to make a great first impression when you meet someone for the first time in-person, but what about your online presence? With the powerful social media tools available to our prospects, and clients, we are often making an impression before we even meet and sometimes before we are even aware that someone is looking! This is where the power of a strong profile and portrait comes into play. According to the Graduate Recruitment Bureau,  there are seven crucial things to do in those first seven seconds. I propose that those same actions can be easily translated into elements that you want to present in your profile bio and headshot photo: Smile! Your facial expression is one of the first things that people notice about you. Does your face say  "I'm warm and inviting", "I'm strong and confident", I'm professional and approachable", or does it say "I'm smarter/better than you", "I don't want to be here", or "I'm unapproachable?" In certain scenarios any of those expressions might be appropriate, so think about the message you want to portray to people who you might come in contact with. By the way, this doesn't always mean you have to smile (all you gentlemen who hate your smile, rejoice!), a closed mouth smile or a friendly and relaxed expression on your face can often mean more to a viewer than a smile that you are clearly putting on just for the camera. Shake their hand. A good handshake is a narrow balance between a [...]

Making Your Virtual First Impression 2017-11-13T10:38:39+00:00