“What a year, right?” is not an original thing to say this week. The year 2020 has been a heck of a lousy ride for a lot of us, and our studio is no exception. BUT. Even though we had to close as a “non-essential business” for 74 days in the Spring, and bookings have been down on average of about 60% since then compared to last year, we’re still counting the year as a win. You want to know why? Because of all of the awesome photos we took this year. And just like every year, we had thousands of great shots to choose from and it took us FOREVER to choose a very small number of them as our favorites of the year. So here they are, and here’s to 2021!
Categories for Headshots
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!
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!
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!
If you’re ready to start 2020 with an awesome new headshot, check out our rates and book a session online!
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!