The following tips will help guide you towards getting a great headshot. There is also a downloadable eBook where I shares a wider range of advice – see the link at the end of this article to better understand the process of getting a great headshot.
Whether you are an individual or part of a large organisation, you are the face of your business. A compelling portrait gives you a competitive edge while ensuring that you are immediately recognised during meetings. Remember, it is not only about your appearance, this is about you representing your brand.
A great headshot is a key component in representing your trustworthiness. It is often quoted that body language accounts for 55% of our communication; in a photograph this is distilled into your pose and facial expression. Consider what you want your headshot to tell your audience.
There are many reasons you may want an image of yourself, here are a few suggestions:
Search the Internet, magazines and newspapers for the style(s) of portrait you prefer. Make sure to share these images with potential photographers to set expectations and to expedite the planning process (link to helpful tools and resources here).
Your session can take place indoors or outdoors; in the studio, at a specific location or even within your workplace. Think about whether you want to be pictured in your working environment or for you to stand out against a simple background; it all depends on the mood you want to convey.
Just like any important purchase, do your research first. Get online and review a selection of portfolios to discover which photographer’s style meets your needs. It is important to note that some photographers are known for their particular style.
Always ask for a free consultation before you commit to buy. This will give you an opportunity to meet the photographer in person, work through your ideas, get your questions answered and to understand how they will work with you.
If you found these tips useful then you will want to download my free eBook “The Headshot eBook – A Guide for Clients”, which is packed full of helpful information including advice on choosing an appropriate wardrobe, details to clarify with your photographer, what to expect before, during and after your session, some links to useful tools and resources, plus a whole lot more.
We were recently commissioned to photograph a Church Architect for a business portrait. The setting was a prestigious Grade 1 listed church located in West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The church receives many thousands of tourists, pilgrims, and architectural enthusiasts throughout the summer and dates to the 13th and 18th century. The Church Architect maintains the fabric of the structure and is designing the first extension in over 250 years.
Collaborating with Joshua Harrison of Cohanim Architecture was a pleasure, allowing me the latitude to create these amazing images. As a result, I was able to convey the passion and responsibility Mr Harrison feels for his clients in his profession.
It is a privilege to photograph one of the oft unsung heroes who help maintain England’s rich and beautiful heritage.
To me, an outstanding and memorable business portrait is one that integrates you with your working environment. It sounds obvious, but I regularly see the opposite, which only enhances the honour I feel each and every time that I create a business portrait that clearly tells my clients’ story.
Achieving the right balance between business portrait and business environment is crucial…
…and the set-up requires the delicate use of studio lights to take advantage of the ambiance of the natural light. Consequently, the resulting portraits will look as if they are naturally lit.
Certainly, having such a beautiful location steeped in history offers plenty of inspiration. Therefore, if you find yourself in or around High Wycombe on a lazy Sunday afternoon, find some time to visit St Lawrence Church and the surrounding area; West Wycombe Park, West Wycombe Caves will also serve you well for your day of sightseeing. The views from the church tower are astounding
You may be interested to learn that St Lawrence Church has been featured in the popular TV series ‘Downton Abbey’. Most recently it was also the setting for a scene in the latest Bridget Jones movie.
Update 2016-10-06: Pleased to achieve front page of ‘the door’. Pick up a copy from one of the 855 churches in the area http://www.oxford.anglican.org/
…a budding Actor who recently approached me for a promotional / commercial headshot to be used in her portfolio.
Razwana contacted me via my website’s Contact Form and, once we had linked up, we immediately booked a pre-session meeting. Prior to the meeting, Razwana shared some sample headshots and she spent time to describe the reasons in choosing those particular images. This gave me the opportunity to do my homework; identify possible locations in the High Wycombe area, sketch some ideas and understand the general feel the images we need to portray.
During the meeting, we dug deeper over a cup of coffee, discussing the images in relation to the scope of requirements. This was also a good time to learn about Razwana in general, hobbies, favourite colours, goals in life, style, drive and personality, and the type of work she is interested in pursuing… There was plenty of active listening. This time also allowed me to share my current portfolio of portrait images face-to-face. I explained my work ethic, how my style would be inspired by her selection and how it would translate into the resulting commercial headshot. We spent time reviewing the possible locations, preferred backdrops and lighting, and whether we would be attempting a natural or studio look.
“It was a pleasure to work with a creative spirit with so much enthusiasm and commitment.” – Razwana
Of course, Razwana wanted it all and so would I, but there is always a budget! We set a date and decided on a two-hour session in a great outside location that offered a multitude of scenarios. First impressions count, and even though I was only getting to know Razwana, I was confident we could work well together to achieve at least four wardrobe changes and a similar number of sets – we agreed to push the boundaries and create five individual looks!
“I really enjoyed the shoot with the different locations that you proposed working brilliantly with the choice of clothing I had in mind prior to the shoot.” – Razwana
The session date was set and the heat was on, literally; this was going to be the hottest day of the year so far, forecast at 34C! With this in mind, I thoroughly scouted the location and took test scene shots. I also made sure we were fully prepared to allow us to keep comfortably shooting no matter what temperature a balmy UK summer’s day threw at us.
During the shoot, we reviewed the unedited images immediately on the computer screen This enabled either of us to easily adjust any aspect as we felt necessary. It proves invaluable to get this instant feedback when attempting to capture the perfect commercial headshot.
After the shoot, the image selection process is simple. I provided a range of hand-picked final photographs and Razwana selected the agreed five that were most appropriate to her needs.
I will let a few of Razwana’s favourite images and testimonials speak for themselves. I do hope the behind the scenes shots provide some insight into the process.
“I was taken aback at how great I look in the shots, so thank you so much…
…Thanks again for your support in helping me create great images ready to put out there for potential agencies. You’ve captured my personality throughout all the shots perfectly.” – Razwana
No matter what our experience levels, the setting of expectations is critical – and that works in every-which-way; Customer, photographer and assistants included. For a commercial headshot in particular, I suggest that my customers arrive at the session with their attitude prepared just as if they were attending the casting of their life. The same applies to hair, make-up and wardrobe, for which I offer guidance but I do prefer my customers to be themselves (and to prepare for a fun experience). I brief my assistants on our Customer even before the shoot and we run through our action plan of who, what, why, when, where and how.
Of course, once we have secured the safe shots and achieved the brief, I like to try something a little out of the ordinary as it could inspire the next session with my Customer.
…the owner of a fabulous showroom of unique, high-quality, restored furniture. You may have noticed I said “with” and that’s exactly how I like small business photography to be; I was working with the client to a common goal. We worked together on the ideas, we worked together to dress the sets and we discussed the future… together. A partnership is motivating for both parties and the results are far more likely to meet the customer’s expectations. Mari is a wonderful creative and restores all of the furniture on-site in the attached workshop. Here are some of the behind the scene images. Other than furniture, there are plenty of other interesting items that proved very useful for dressing the set. For our next shoot, we are looking forward to introducing some models to create more lifestyle images. Not only will this add some scale, it will add fire to the buyers imagination.
It’s a partnership, where we meet in advance of the session. This provides me an understanding of your business and your values and gives us time to sketch out ideas and set our expectations before the day of the shoot.