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BRANDING YOURSELF

Here are 5 Tips that I have found to be helpful to clients on creating a professional head shot. Think about what it is you want your image to convey. Do you want to appear approachable or authoritative or both? Certainly smiling for your head shot will convey a feeling of friendliness. A slight smile will convey being approachable yet confident. For example, a CEO may have a slight smile and the photographer will want to photograph at the chest, to show he or she is in a position of authority. If you are in banking or sales, a traditional head shot in studio will represent that you are polished and trustworthy over an iPhone snap shot. If your business is in the trade or service industry, you may want to incorporate your trade/service into the portrait. Once you find a photographer, discuss exactly what it is you want to say with your portrait. The age old saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words", still holds true today. Think about the attention span of today's consumer. Consumers need to be drawn in immediately and gain trust in order to spend their dollars with a company. Research your photographer. Just like different physician specialties, there are different photography specialties such as real estate, newborn, family, commercial, boudoir, high school senior, etc. If you have a photographer or know a photographer, research their specialty. A real estate photographer may only photograph houses and not have the equipment needed that a portrait photographer will use. This doesn't always hold true, but finding out ahead of time will prevent you being disappointed with the outcome. Ask the photographer what training he or she has had to help you pose. I would say 99% of my clients arrive to the studio and aren't sure what to do in front of the camera. They may be nervous. Its an odd thing for most people to have a stranger pointing a camera at them. Its my job to help them feel at ease so we can get the best images. So my extensive training in portraiture comes in handy when helping a client pose for the client. Bring several options of clothing to your head shot session. Keeping your clothing simple, meaning no bold patterns or geometric spaces will be the best for creating an effective portrait. You want the focus to be on your face. People want to connect with you and not be distracted by clothing or large accessories. Avoid white if possible. A white button down shirt is ok if pairing with a suit jacket and tie. But just a white shirt will pull the attention away from your face and may wash you out. Also, think about how your clothing fits. You don't want your clothes too baggy. Often times, I find that I use clips to cinch a jacket. For women especially, I want to give them a waist. If your clothing is loose fitting, you will appear larger than in real life. No one has ever come to me and said, "can you make me look bigger than I really am". No one. Ever. This one may sound silly, but get a professional shave or have your make up done. Having a great close shave will not only make you feel better, but often the barber will use a warm towel to open your pores or product that will reduce redness on your skin. For women, having your makeup done will also make you feel more confident, but the makeup used by professional make up artists is formulated specifically for the camera. This will reduce oil shine and editing of uneven skin tone. The less editing a photographer has to do on your skin, the better. This isn't because the photographer is lazy. This is because the more retouching a photographer does on the skin, the more unrealistic it will look. If you don't normally wear makeup, be sure to communicate with the makeup artist that you want a more natural look. Often times, your photographer will have a list of makeup artists that they can recommend. I always have recommendations of specific makeup artists based on the goal of my client. Finally, make sure you have plenty of time budgeted for makeup and wardrobe change before your session. You don't want to be rushing around prior to your portrait session. Gather everything you will need the night before to ensure you don't forget anything. Staying relaxed before your session will help you relax once in front of the camera. Once my clients arrive to the studio, I like to give them a few minutes to decompress and relax with a bottled water before we begin. Conversing with my clients about themselves before we start snapping also helps my clients relax. If you have done your research and prepared for your session, then trust the photographer will help you with the rest. And of course, once you receive your portrait, think about what it conveys and if you were successful.

 

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