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Guerrilla holiday photos

October 28, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

This weekend I took some family portraits on the Kinzie Street bridge for holiday greeting cards.  That bridge has seen a lot of photo action over the years with such a great view of the city and such awesome-looking steel beams with rivets the size of sugarplums.  And to take advantage of the architecture I brought along my fish-eye lens.  Photos that look like big round Christmas ornaments, anyone?  Yes!

family photos

My awesome family subjects brought along about 18 feet of garland with ornaments to incorporate as props.  The hours of attaching all those ornaments by hand paid off- the holiday cheer just oozes off those branches and the reds and silvers pop right out of the images.

I considered dressing in bright orange so passersby would think we worked for the city and were decorating the bridge… so they wouldn’t call the cops.  Instead, we just went in there like a SWAT team.  Of ninjas.  We set up, took some photos, packed up, and were out of there within half an hour, which has to be a new record for holiday photos.  It was also still only about 40 degrees out and pretty windy so getting back into warm cars and drinking hot chocolate was also a great motivation for the morning…

family photos family photos


Warming up for headshots

September 9, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

I can’t just plop someone in front of my camera and expect a natural smile.  If I did that, I would be a jerk of a photographer… or just really lazy.  And I spend a lot of time and energy making sure I’m neither lazy nor a jerk.

Organic Headshots

One of my favorite parts of a headshot photo session is just laughing, joking, and chatting away while snapping photos.  I’ve found that this loosens people up, helps them forget that there’s a camera in the room, and gets better shots.  Three cheers for laughing your way to a perfect headshot!  Hip hip, horray!

Organic Headshots

Q&A with a recent client

September 3, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

If I had a nickel for every time I hear, “I need a new headshot because I HATE the one I have now,” I would have one of those big 5 gallon buckets filled with nickels by now.  Some people are wearing outdated clothing in their old headshot, some have an expression on their face they never use in real life, some have gained or lost like 300 pounds since their old headshot, or changed their hair color, cut, or the ability to grow it…

Whatever the reason to dislike an old headshot may be, it usually falls within the category of “it just doesn’t look like me.”  And to help us all understand what brings people in front of my camera and how they feel about the headshot experience, I asked recent client Kristina Dalman to share what brought her to Organic Headshots and how she felt it went:

What made you decide you wanted/needed a new headshot?

I didn’t own any of my prior headshot images – they were the property of my prior employers and being a rule following type, I didn’t feel comfortable using those copyrighted images for my own purposes, professional or personal.  So, when I received a call from my new company requesting a headshot to go with some presentation materials, I was shocked to find out that they didn’t provide that service to their employees.  I was given less than a week to submit the photo.  Panic immediately ensued as I realized I had no clue how to find a photographer that would not only work on such short notice but also specialize in taking headshots.

What didn’t you like about headshots you’ve had done in the past? 

I have had many different headshots taken for work over the years.  The photos were all fine but I didn’t really like any of them.  I never felt like they looked like me.  But, honestly it wasn’t a high priority for me and I really didn’t care so much about the photos.  I considered the whole process of the mandatory headshot for the firm web-site to be a necessary evil – part of the marketing that goes with being a lawyer.  However, the problem is that in the digital age, these images have a lasting effect.   I just started to be more mindful of this because, increasingly, people mention to me that I don’t look like the photos they have seen of me in LinkedIn or on company websites (fortunately it was always in the context of me looking better in real life).   That is when I realized that my perception of those photos wasn’t so off base and that the next time I got a headshot I would be more prepared.     

What made you choose me as a photographer? 

Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of time to research and find a photographer.  A huge factor was your availability and flexibility to work on such short notice.   But more importantly, when I started to research photographers on the internet, I quickly came across your terrific website, your extensive portfolio and blog.  I was immediately impressed and I knew you would be the “one” to go with.  I really liked the look of your images – whether they were law firm photos (I can always tell) or photos of more creative types.  Each of the images had a very natural, yet professional feel. I especially liked your advice for taking headshots and preparing for the photos – what to wear, tips on how much make-up to wear . . .  all really good information and frankly the sort of direction no one had ever provided before.  Now, having had the experience of working with you, I can verify for others that your approach is completely different (and a lot more fun) than the other experiences I have had.  It is “organic” – you worked with me to draw out the real me.  I believe that is why the end product looks so much better and different than the typical headshot.

What do you think of your new headshot? 

I love my new headshot.  I was really impressed with the final product – it exceeded all of my expectations. 

Have your headshot ready for anything

August 28, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

crainsadLast night I was having some evening tea and finally getting a chance to peruse this week’s issue of Crain’s, and I happened across an ad on page 15 with a familiar face.  The ad had a handful of peoples’  headshots side by side and there it was- a headshot I took for the CEO of the Northridge Group a while back when I visited their office to update headshots for their leadership team.  I almost said, “Hi Therese!” out loud, but I talk out loud when no one is around enough already and I don’t want my dog to think I’m any weirder than I am.

It made me happy to see my photo in print; not just because of the warm fuzzies a person gets from seeing some of their work out in the print world, but also because that headshot is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.  Every career-minded, successful professional should have a great headshot to use everywhere an image of their successful, professional face is needed.

It’s very important to have a good, updated headshot you can be proud of, so when your ad people frantically email you with, “the ad goes to print this Thursday, can you email us a headshot in the next 24 hours?” you’ve already got one ready to go and can just attach it, click “send,” and then grab some popcorn and catch up on the latest episode of Homeland.  A lot of professionals come to me for headshots because they’re asked by someone else for a headshot to include in an article, marketing piece, advertisement, speaking schedule, website, etc… and they need one NOW.  It can make them arrive at my studio quite frazzled.

So don’t wait until you get that frantic email from someone demanding a headshot of you to get your butt into my studio for an updated portrait.  Do it now so you can always have that perfect, stunning-looking headshot of yourself in your back pocket when you need it.  Not that I have my headshot on my business card and carry it around in my back pocket or anything… Okay, actually I do.