Categories for Chicago Photographer

Can you tell which is green screen?

September 9, 2020 Published by . Leave your thoughts

Things are slow at the studio today, so we’re going to play a little game. It’s called, can you tell which of these photos were taken on a green screen and which were not?

We’ll give you a hint: 4 of them are green screen, the rest are not.

Why is green screen so awesome?

Two reasons: control, and safety. Two things we all could use a lot more of while still battling a global pandemic.

Using green screen (or taking a person’s photo in front of a bright green, or chroma key background, then inserting a new background later) is great for getting matching backdrops for everyone photographed on different days, or for getting sunny, outdoor photos in the middle of winter, or to just have more options to choose from than a plain color or a drab room. We can control the lighting and posing in a climate-controlled studio, and then the sky’s the limit with what we can insert into the photos behind you afterward.

Green screen also adds another tool in our arsenal of new policies and procedures to keep both clients and photographers safe. It allows for us to photograph whole teams one person at a time to minimize contact and grouping. We’ve also used the magic of Photoshop to add and remove people from group photos recently, with amazing results: another way we can all stay together, separately.

Contact us to chat more about pricing and options for you or your whole team and we’ll tell you all about it.

Let’s see how you did in the quiz!

Being a “non-essential business” makes us feel a little small

April 1, 2020 Published by . Leave your thoughts

When COVID-19 lockdowns started closing businesses and obliging everyone to shelter in place in their homes, we watched our studio’s appointment calendar almost completely clear out.  And when the governor ordered “non-essential” businesses to shutter their doors, it stung a little, to be honest, since anyone’s paycheck can feel pretty darn essential once it disappears.  It’s for a heckuva good reason, of course—and we’re happy to do our part in flattening the curve and stopping the virus from spreading by postponing photo shoots and implementing new systems to keep the studio and everyone who enters it safe. 

We’re all in this same strange boat together: feeling anxious because of the pandemic, feeling concerned for our clients and their families and for the health of everyone around us, and feeling uneasy about what’s going to happen next.  Without our cameras, we’ve all been coping mostly by catching up on photo editing (or re-editing old photos just for funsies), baking bread, snuggling our pets, cleaning some closets, and otherwise keeping busy in the same ways everyone else with cleared calendars has been occupying their time.

We’re also all enduring by flexing our creative muscles.  One person at a time, we each went into the empty studio last week, put our cameras on timers, took some photos of ourselves, and used some post-production magic to be inserted into pictures of vintage cameras.  The result is a series of images that reflect how we’re feeling while we’re missing our clients’ beautiful faces and the sounds of a camera shutter going KER-CHUNK.  We’re feeling a bit like the forgotten old film cameras that have been collecting dust on our shelves.  Lonely.  Bored.  Restless.  Small.  But coping well.

Organic Headshots
Organic Headshots

Portrait photography is inherently a very social business.  We need to be around people in order photograph them, and being unable to do so is… well… making us sad.  But whenever this is all over and we’re in the studio for back-to-back sessions again or traveling to our clients’ offices when buildings are filled with people again, we’ll feel back to our old selves.  We’re looking forward to that day and to hearing all about our clients’ lockdown adventures in breadmaking.  We’re sure a lot of people will be getting back to work in different ways then, and we might be helping some people through job changes by updating their LinkedIn profile photos, and photographing companies for their marketing materials as they boost new business to make up for what was lost.

Organic Headshots
Organic Headshots
Organic Headshots
Organic Headshots

It’s unusual for it to be so lonesome in the studio: a room that’s part workshop, part laboratory, and part oasis.  A place where people come to collaborate to create images with common goals. Taking these photos alone in the still and quiet space was a somber act.  But also faintly blissful.  We’re ready to get KER-CHUNKING again when it’s time.  Until then, we’ll be cleaning our lenses and trying not to pout.  Too much.

Is a headshot tax deductible?

March 2, 2020 Published by . Leave your thoughts

Learn the situations where you can write off photography on your tax return

Professional headshots are an important part of your career, whether you’re searching for a job, starting out or promoting yourself as an established freelancer, or putting together marketing materials for your business. But when are headshots a business expense? Being able to deduct expenses on your taxes is a great perk for some situations, and an absolute must for others.

So we asked Illinois and Indiana licensed CPA Michael Tunney everything you need to know about deducting the cost of headshots and photography services, and man did we learn a lot! Check out his answers to our burning tax questions:

Is my headshot for LinkedIn tax deductible if I am searching for a new job?

Not anymore. In December of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law. This new tax law completely eliminated the Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses deduction for 2018 through 2025. This deduction was included as part of the Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions section of the 1040, and job search related costs were recorded on this schedule. However, there are a handful of states that still include this break, including Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New York.

If my employer asks for a headshot but does not pay for it, can I deduct my headshot on my income tax return?

Just like the above scenario, no.  If a taxpayer is an employee the Unreimbursed Employee Business Expense section of the 1040 has been eliminated and is only included on certain states income tax returns.

Is a headshot or any marketing photos I have taken of me tax deductible if I am a self-employed freelancer and do not have an LLC or Corporation?

Yes! If a tax payer is self-employed and not an LLC, LLP, Partnership or Corporation, the individual would complete a Schedule C Form-Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship).  On this form, the taxpayer would be able to include headshots (photographers fees and duplication costs) and marketing photos on the “Other Expenses” section of the Schedule C of the 1040 form.

Is a makeup artist or a haircut tax deductible for my headshot session?

Yes, if the taxpayer is self-employed and not an employee of a company.  Expenses directly related to the headshot session, such as makeup and a haircut are deductible as a business expense.  If clothing is purchased or rented for a special shoot, a tax payer can also deduct those “props” as a business expense.

I own a business– can my business deduct the cost of a photographer’s services?

Yes, if a tax payer is a partner of a partnership or a shareholder/owner of a corporation and the photographer’s services are used by the business for marketing purposes, headshots (photographer’s fees and duplication costs) can be deducted as a business expense.

Book your Chicago headshot session with Organic Headshots here, or reach out to Michael Tunney’s office for your tax questions!

Favorite shots of 2019

January 5, 2020 Published by . Leave your thoughts

Can we talk about how hard it was to choose only a handful of photos for our annual “favorite shots” collection of 2019?  Because it literally took hours to widdle it down from hundreds to just about 30.  HUNDREDS.

We met SO many awesome people and got so many awesome portrait and event shots of them looking awesome and doing awesome things.  Check out some of our favorite photos from last year as we polish our lenses and hit the ground running in 2020!

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If you’re ready to start 2020 with an awesome new headshot, check out our rates and book a session online!

We’re adding to our team!

December 17, 2019 Published by . Leave your thoughts

Organic Headshots is growing and we’re looking to add to our team! We’re a headshot and corporate event studio, and most of our clients are organizations big and small needing executive portraits, and individuals and entrepreneurs needing awesome headshots of their awesome faces.

Polaroids, group, teamwork

WHO WE ARE: We are highly organized and efficient, but pride ourselves in not being a robotic volume studio. Everyone who steps in front of our camera is treated like a superstar and gets an individualized experience, so we need people who will honor our attention to detail, our desire to please our awesome clients, and our commitment to teamwork.

Organic Headshots has been in business for 14 years and is proudly certified as a woman-owned business, and is a non-discriminatory workplace. We are LGBTQ+ friendly and do not tolerate sexism, racism, or bigotry of any kind from each other or from our clients.

WHO WE NEED: A studio manager, a photo assistant, and a photographer. This could be 1, 2, or 3 people total, depending on the opportunity and your skill set. Maybe you’re exclusively the studio manager. Maybe you start assisting and learn the ropes to become a photographer. Maybe you wear all three hats and they all look SO fetch on you.

Organic Headshots teamThe studio manager serves as the face of the studio for new and prospective clients. You are a warm, inviting soul who talks new clients through the booking and shooting process, manages the schedules of the photographers and makeup artists, and answers phone calls and emails related to scheduling, pricing, and what we do and do not photograph. Must love organization and spreadsheets. You can work remotely, and although client phone calls, emails, and messages must be answered and returned in a timely fashion, the hours are flexible.

The photo assistant assists on larger shoots where an extra set of hands are needed to set up and break down gear, and to be a friendly and welcoming face for shoots with large numbers of people being photographed: keeping people and paperwork organized, and is always smiling.

The photographer takes awesome photos of our awesome clients. Some portrait experience is preferred, but we’re a teaching studio and we can Yoda you into our Jedi knight if you have a sharp eye and a willingness to learn and grow. We shoot with both studio strobes and natural light so you must be comfortable with both and with mixing them. You’ll need your own camera and lenses, but we have plenty of lighting and everything else. Preferred camera package is either Canon or Nikon (Canon 5D Mark IV / Nikon D750/D850 or equivalent), with lens lengths in zooms or primes ranging from 70mm to 200mm. You must LOVE people and working closely with our clients to get great photos that they will love. Every time you raise your camera to photograph someone, it must be a personal goal to do your best to get great photos of them. If you get a rush of endorphins when someone says “I look good in that photo!” then you’re our person.

WHAT WE PAY: Well. We pay well. Everyone who works here stays here because we take pride in paying everyone as highly as the business can afford, because we believe your skills have value and you deserve compensation reflective of that value. You would be a 1099 contractor and do your own taxes.  All of these positions are part time and flexible, with the potential to move to full or nearly full time as we keep growing.

If this sounds like a team you want to join, email michelle@organicheadshots.com with a resume, link to a portfolio (if applicable), and a little bit about yourself.

LOOK HOW COOL WE ARE YOU SHOULD JOIN US:

group photo, holiday card, holiday photo