May 9, 2019
You may have heard the phrase, “personal branding photography” whispered between marketers, publicists, or influencers lately. Or maybe you’ve seen photos on Instagram or company websites and thought, “how do they get so many great, magazine-worthy shots for their social media pages? That was so NOT taken with an iPhone.” Welcome to the newest photography trend: Personal Branding Photography.
What is Personal Branding Photography?
Simply put: Personal Branding shots are lifestyle images, creative portraiture, and in-action shots of you looking awesome. A Personal Branding Photography shoot is for professionals utilizing photography to create and build their brand. We all know that having images to support your online presence is a key factor in your business’s growth: don’t just tell potential clients who you are and what you do, show them. Personal Branding Photos depict you in your element. If you’re a personal stylist, you need photos of you wearing the latest fashion and looking fabulous, action shots of you shopping for your clients, or images of you consulting with a client on their own style. A great Personal Branding Photo tells the story of your strengths and sells a potential client on why they need you, better than a thousand words ever could.
Why is Personal Branding Photography so hot right now?
With so much content online and in print today, we are all looking for images that perfectly reflect and summarize our message and grab attention quickly, and it’s now easier, more fun, and gaining in popularity to use custom professional photos to do so. And everyone is getting much less humble in how they depict themselves in images. With so many people competing for space and attention, you have to be less humble: you have to flaunt who you are and your pride in what you do in order for others to share that same excitement. If you see two listings in Google for personal trainers, and one is a standard headshot, while the other is a photo of Buff McBuffCakes flexing his muscles while spotting Strong McFlexHot while she deadlifts 250lbs, which listing are you likely to click on?
How can a marketer apply Personal Branding Photography to their company?
Personal Branding Photography, for good reason, has been starting its reign of popularity among entrepreneurs and small business owners, because they are usually the face of their business and need to sell themselves as the product. Realtors, consultants, financial advisers, lifestyle bloggers, artists, event planners, writers, interior designers, life coaches, and so forth.
But a larger business often must showcase its people to show the world who they are too. After all, your staff and your leadership are the backbone of your organization and the real value you bring to clients. How often does the CFO perform speaking engagements representing your company and she’s scrambling for a photo to send to the organizers the day before the event? How often do you need action shots of the CEO for internal newsletters, marketing materials, or something more interesting to hand a journalist when they ask for some photos to accompany a story about your company?
Or worse yet, how many times has a story run in a magazine and the CEO absolutely HATES their cover photo the publication-sent journalism student has taken? A Personal Branding Photography shoot is an important investment in the marketing materials you use every day. Having a stockpile of great photos of your important people on hand for publications, social media, your website, internal communications, and reports not only saves a lot of headache when you’re on a deadline, but gives you great creative control over your company’s brand.
Where do I go for Personal Branding Photography?
Personal Branding Photos are a growing trend in the photography industry, so make sure you find a professional photographer with experience in marketing and branding photography, as well as portraiture. Make sure their portfolio reflects skill not only in their subjects looking their best (everyone’s hair looks good, posing is flattering, and smiles are natural), but that they demonstrate an understanding of capturing images that tell a story.
Work with your photographer to organize a shoot that meets your needs. Tell him or her what kind of images you need and share ideas with them on how to get those photos. A good Personal Branding Photographer will be able to take a list of must-have photos and/or a brain dump of the uses you need the photos for and a description of your company and design a shoot that captures what you need.
Find more information on our Personal Branding Photography packages here!
February 25, 2019
After a headshot shoot, when the makeup artist is just out of earshot, we’ve often had clients frantically whisper to us, “psst! Do I tip the makeup artist?!” Whether or not to tip your makeup artist is a complicated question. And it should start with what kind of makeup artist you’re dealing with.
Wedding makeup artists: YES
If any makeup artist is tipped, it’s most commonly the wedding makeup artist. Some estimates are that about 80-90% of wedding vendors in general (including makeup artists and hair stylists) expect a tip. This is because a wedding is a luxury event, and all the vendors involved are supplying a customized, luxury service. For a wedding, a makeup artist usually travels to your location, provides a consultation and communicates back and forth on ideas for the look you’d like before the event, and even purchases supplies and makeup specifically for your application.
Counter makeup artists: NO
Don’t freak out if you just realized you’ve never tipped the makeup artist at Sephora or Nordstrom for the time they spent teaching you how to contour. It’s generally considered not necessary to tip a counter makeup artist, and some stores even prohibit it. These makeup artists are actually salespeople with makeup skills and sometimes training, but their end goal at the counter is to sell you a product. Never go to a makeup counter for a makeup application for a photo shoot. These makeup artists are unlikely to have the skill or inclination to apply custom makeup for your needs, and the products are not likely to be specially made for photography. And again, their main objective is to test products on your face in order to sell them to you, which is great for when you’re sampling products you’d like to buy for yourself. But don’t think you’re cheating the system by having a salesperson at a makeup counter do your makeup for free for your photoshoot. Every time someone has come to our studio after doing this, they always end up unhappy with their look. We’ve had to start stocking makeup removing cloths in the studio so clients can remove their counter-applied makeup before their session.
Makeup artists for headshots/portraiture/commercial shoots: MAYBE
If tipping a wedding makeup artist was a reasonably solid “yes,” and tipping a counter makeup artist was a pretty solid “no,” then tipping a makeup artist for your headshot or portrait session is a definite “maybe.” For hair salons, a rule of thumb some people subscribe to is that you tip the stylists who work for the salon, but not the salon owner. Some people extend this idea to makeup artists: tip the makeup artists who are booked through a salon or agency because they do not keep the whole fee, but do not tip freelance artists because they keep all of their fee. But this isn’t a reliable measure since freelance artists are self-employed small business owners who have expenses an employee would not, such as insurance, marketing costs, travel costs, licensing, and materials. Some makeup artists can spend anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 a year on the makeup and brushes in their kit and the sterile disposable items they go through. Since there is no industry standard “yes” or “no” for tipping with these kinds of makeup artists, then both freelance and agency artists usually have their fee structured in a way that they’re not relying on a tip to complete their fee, so a tip isn’t necessary. But some people are more comfortable tipping anyone in the beauty/service industry, and if you’re one of these people, then feel free to tip your makeup artist. They won’t turn it down and they’ll definitely be appreciative of it, while not expecting it. A good rule of thumb on tipping makeup artists in this category is: “never expected, always appreciated.”
If you don’t want to tip your makeup artist at a headshot session, here are some kind things you can do for them that they would definitely appreciate even more than a tip:
- Come ready for them. Follow their instructions to prepare for your session, which usually involves coming with a clean, makeup-free face.
- Communicate with them. Be honest about what you want and don’t want before they start the application, then trust them while they apply makeup, then give them honest feedback afterward so they can make changes before you get in front of the camera. If you’re happy with the makeup, speak up and tell them you like it. If you’re unhappy with it, speak up as well, so they have a chance to adjust what they did to your liking.
- Don’t hold a mirror to watch what they do. Again, you must trust them to listen during the consultation and use their skills to apply makeup, without babysitting what they’re doing. A mirror in your hand also gets in their way and slows down the process. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and the makeup artist will answer.
- Give them a positive review. If the makeup artist has a listing on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, give them a positive review, or offer to write a testimonial for their website. Follow them on Instagram if they have an account. More follows on social media means good marketing for them.
- Refer the makeup artist to your friends and colleagues, so they can continue their awesome work.
If you’re ready to book a headshot session in our Chicago studio with a makeup artist, do that here!
January 2, 2019
Happy New Year! 2018 was a great year for Organic Headshots– thank you to all of our amazing clients over the years, who continue to choose us as their photography studio. We’re so honored to photograph everyone who comes through our doors and happy to keep shooting up a photo storm in 2019!
Let’s look back at some of our favorite shots from 2018:
If you’re ready to book your headshot session for 2019, do it today!
November 13, 2018
If you’re putting together a photo shoot for your staff, finding the right photographer to take your company’s headshots might start to feel like a challenge. With so many photographers to choose from, it can start to feel like comparing apples to oranges. So here’s a quick list of a few things to look for and questions to ask your photographer before booking:
SPECIALTY: Does the photographer specialize in headshots? And do they have experience with corporate headshots for large groups? Sometimes photographers are known for wearing many hats and accepting any gig that keeps them shooting. Some can shift from one photography category to the next pretty seamlessly, but others have trouble, so make sure your photographer has experience specifically in headshots for companies and that they can prove their experience in their portfolio. If all you see are photos of weddings on their website, be careful of trusting them with corporate headshots: they may not have done many.
SKILL: Check the photographer’s portfolio. Do the headshots in their portfolio reflect skill in posing and coaching so that everyone looks their best and most relaxed? Make sure their portfolio shows both consistency in skill and a range of looks, to prove that they have listened to each client’s needs and crafted an image for their needs and that flatters them best.
LICENSING: Sometimes staff headshots and corporate portraits can fall under a “commercial photography” category. Talk to your photographer before your session to make sure your shoot includes licen sing to use the photos however you need. Standard copyright law assigns the copyright to the photographer, so a license needs to be prepared in order for you to use, publish, or alter the photos after they’ve been taken. Ask your photographer what the license would include and make sure there are no hidden fees for you to use, publish, and place the images in marketing pieces; or if there is a fee, that it is reasonable and understood beforehand.
ORGANIZATION: When you’re putting together a group headshot day, the hardest parts can be scheduling time slots for each individual, finding and prepping a room for the photos, and figuring out how to get the people who can’t be there on that day also photographed. Ask your photographer if they will help you make a schedule for the day so each person is photographed quickly and easily and workday disruption is at a minimum. And does your photographer have a plan for getting matching photos for stragglers, people who call in sick on photo day, or when you add new staff in the months and years ahead?
PERSONALITY: Talk to your headshot photographer before booking them and introducing them to your staff. Make sure they’re friendly, professional, and can put people at ease, because it will show on everyone’s faces in their photos. We’ve actually heard a surprising number of stories from clients who switched to us from past photographers because they didn’t present themselves professionally or they made people uncomfortable in one way or another.
PRICE: Don’t be surprised or discouraged if you find a wide range in photography pricing while you’re researching photographers for your staff headshots. Photographers price their services on a lot of factors, including their own costs, skill level, time, and availability. There isn’t much of a set industry standard or rulebook for pricing, so just make sure all of the options in the package are spelled out ahead of time, and ask how the pricing will change if you add or remove people from the shoot.
If you’re looking for company headshots in Chicago and would like to learn more, or see our schedule and book a shoot online, you can do that here. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about staff headshots!
September 11, 2018
Reposting from 2015:
While I was moving late last year I came across a box of old photos (who am I kidding… several boxes of old photos), and one of them had a few envelopes labeled “NYC” from some trips I took there years ago. My father grew up in Brooklyn (you can still hear it in the way he says words like “coffee”) and my mother in New Jersey, so we took many trips “back East” as we called it, to visit family. Until I moved to Chicago in 2003 after growing up in the suburbs, I had actually logged more big city hours in New York than in Chicago. So I love visiting that old friend and smuggling dozens of bagels back with me on the plane.
I had almost forgotten that I had once been up to the top of the World Trade Center while visiting my aunt and uncle in 1998, until I found the photos a few months ago. With the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center this week, I wanted to share my walk down memory lane by posting the photos from the last 2 trips I took to New York before 9/11/01.
The photos start in 1998 when my aunt and I took the ferry- if memory serves me well- from Hoboken to Pier 11, and then we made our way to the towers:
I remember joining a line of tourists and buying tickets to get to the observation deck, and seeing the tightest security I’d seen up until then. I think the bombings in the garage in 1993 were still fresh enough for everyone, and at one point we posed for what looked like a souvenir photo and were given a ticket stub, but never got our photo or heard anything about it later. After we left my aunt said she suspected it was just a way to photograph everyone for security, but who knows. It’s also just as possible we walked right past a “pick up your photos” booth without noticing it.
And then came the longest elevator ride I’d ever been in. Actually, it was quite short considering how far up we were traveling, and sort of unsettling when I thought about how fast we must have been going. The pressure changed and everyone laughed as they tried to pop their ears several times and hear again by the time we got to the top. I remember the elevator attendant seemed amused at the familiar sight.
The weather was stable enough to let people on the outdoor deck, so I got to take in the incredible view:
A year later I was back in New York for Millennium New Year’s Eve 1999 to 2000. Here’s an 18 year old me, heading toward my grand-aunt’s apartment in Peter Cooper Village, where my friend and I stayed for our trip:
And here I am photographing a squirrel. Because I was apparently fascinated by the squirrels in the neighborhood.
And here’s my traveling companion, Beth:
Also fascinated by the squirrels. I think we had never seen black squirrels before- only gray ones. I’m going to pretend like that’s a valid excuse for spending the possibly several hours we spent hanging out with the squirrels.
Beth and I were photo buddies back then- taking rolls and rolls of photos and developing them in our high school’s darkroom. So there’s a whole box in my closet of old photos of each other as we learned photography together and experimented with light and shadow, and a stack of photos from this trip to New York. We gallivanted around department stores, met up with a friend who moved there the month before and walked around FAO Schwartz, rode the Staten Island Ferry back and forth a few times, poked around the Trinity Church graveyard, went to see a taping of Late Night with Conan O’Brien (the guest stars were Christopher Walken and I think some football player whose name escapes me), and munched on some tasty nuts like our squirrel friends…
Of course our ultimate goal was Times Square for New Years Eve. That’s the whole reason we booked the trip in the first place- to be in Times Square for when the whole world came to an end because of Y2K. But after a long day of sight-seeing we managed to convince ourselves that we didn’t want to brave the cold and the crowds and instead got some Chinese food and watched it on TV. From 30 blocks away.
I’m suddenly reminded of a story my dad told me years ago about when he was young and living in New York, and how he and his friend heard about a concert up north so they drove to it, but it was too muddy so they left. It was Woodstock. Apparently I am my father’s daughter.
So instead we opted to hop on a bus to check out the aftermath the next morning in Times Square:
There was confetti from the night before blowing off the roofs of the buildings, and people collecting it off the ground.
This is one of my favorite shots because I’m catching a piece of confetti in mid-air while a woman takes a huge bite out of a hot dog…
But a lot of the photos we took that morning were quite beautiful– watching the confetti sprinkle down from the sky and the people on the ground stopping to reach up and grab it.
A few blocks from the World Trade Center, we stopped to take our photos with a bronze sculpture on a concrete bench:
2 years and some months later, while in college at the University of Illinois, I suddenly remembered those 2 photos when I saw this in the school’s newspaper:
Every year around this time, everyone is remembering where they were and what they were doing that day. I was in my sophomore year in college and in a film theory class. Our class didn’t receive word about the tragedy so after it was dismissed I walked over to the Union for some lunch and to email my brother a happy birthday, but I passed by the cafeteria filled with people staring in silence at some TV screens, and wondered what was happening. Someone had wheeled extra carts with TVs into the room and all 4 of them were playing the story on the news- the sound from all of them synced into stereo. When I realized what was going on I headed over to some computers and emailed my dad if he had heard from my grand-aunt in Manhattan and if she was being evacuated.
The next day there was a student memorial service on the quad– I took this photo from one of the windows in the Union:
My grandfather was a draftsman for a large naval architecture firm from 1968 to 1989 and worked in the World Trade Center back then:
We live in too small of a world to not all be connected in some way to each other, and everyone has their personal connections to the World Trade Center and the terrorist attacks of September 11th. For me, it’s my brother’s birthday, my grandfather’s old office, and my old sight-seeing stomping grounds for every trip to the Big Apple.
And of course I’m still looking forward to gallivanting around the city again soon. I’ve got to say hello to all my squirrel friends, after all.