The Headshot Experience
Discussing what's involved during the "Headshot Experience"
If there is one part of my job that I absolutely love as a professional, commercial photographer, it's interacting with people. People are very interesting to me. Where they are from, what they do for a living, their ethnic background, hobbies, the list just goes on and on. Having this interest forces me to ask a lot of questions to find out who the person in front of my camera is. That is one important factor for getting the perfect headshot.
When someone comes to me for a headshot, first and foremost I need to know why they need a headshot. Is it for modeling, acting, corporate use, social media, a dating site, business cards, brochures, a press release, or just for personal use? Each reason serves a different purpose. We certainly don't want to do a sexy modeling pose for a corporate headshot. Knowing what the purpose is helps us to hone in on what part of the person's personality we need to capture.
The headshot above captures confidence and his eyes really engage you, making it a more personal experience. We want the person to look confident AND approachable at the same time. In this instance we have a very clean background that makes for a very professional headshot that is usable on a variety of mediums from print to the web.
Whenever I am doing headshots I want it to be a one on one, more intimate experience where we get to know each other and I get to learn about you. This is very important because I am trying to capture the real you, your personality and showcase it in a way that speaks to others in a positive way. You will never hear me asking you to smile, hopefully that will happen naturally as we connect and just have fun.
In this example above we have a corporate executive who is just a fun person to be around, is very positive yet exudes confidence and approachability. From a technical standpoint, notice there is no glare in in glasses. During the shoot we did not get to this point immediately. I had to gain his trust and develop a rapport with him first. Much of the headshot experience has to do with interacting with the client.
Not every shot has to be on white, nor should it be on some crazy pattern that is distracting. Black can often be a great choice. In the case above with this beautiful young woman, she is wearing black but that's OK, the focus in on her face and hair. This is more of an actress type shot and captures not just her personality but emphasizes her good looks. We have to place people in positions that enhance their best features and minimize the not so good ones.
A professional headshot is much more than just putting someone in front of a camera an snapping a picture. Anyone can do that. It takes a professional with a good personality that really knows how to connect with their client. You can buy all of the best gear in the world and take horrible pictures. The chemistry and interaction with the client far outweighs the technical ability of the equipment. I want to know who my clients are, what makes them tick, what they love to do and really try to push the envelope to bring out the best in them. After all, my work is not just for them, it's my reputation on the line and I want to make sure that I exceed their expectations.
Stay tuned for some future blogging about preparation for the headshot experience.
Keywords: camera, commercial photographer, headshot, headshot photographer, how to, photography, portrait
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