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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  Some people are wearing outdated clothing in their old headshot, some have an expression on their face they never use in real life, some have gained or lost like 300 pounds since their old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.

Don’t look shiny in your photos.

August 21, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

I work with lots of talented make-up and hair artists for headshot shoots, like my buddies Megg, Sara Jean, Jay, Jenn, Lisa, Alex, and Rachael…  But not for every shoot.  Make-up and hair is an added service that is worth every penny in my opinion because it makes for the absolute best and most natural-looking photo possible.

During my headshot sessions I not only pose people and coach them into natural looking stances and smiles, but I also do my best to make sure their hair is where it should be and not sticking straight up, there aren’t any stray dog or cat hairs on their clothes, and that their face isn’t all red and shiny.  I’ll move hair out of someone’s face, sculpt it to fall casually on their shoulders, and maybe even break out a quick can of hairspray if there’s a piece being extraneously unruly.  But I do NOT apply make-up to my clients.  I’m not a make-up artist, I’m a photographer, and I am absolutely no good at doing what make-up artists do.

However, I will brush some rice powder on my shiny clients (which is just about everybody).  When I take a few test shots I’ll see if someone is photographing with a particular type of glare on their skin and break out my only pseudo-make-up-like tool to de-shine their face.

I don’t think it’s cheating on my make-up artists because it’s kind of technically not make-up.  It matches just about any skin tone and is only made up of a few ingredients designed to absorb excess oil and make a shiny skin surface matte and picture-ready.  People have asked me for the product name, so here it is:  I use Palladio rice powder, and their handy to-go counterpart product, rice paper sheets with rice powder on them for carrying with you in your pocket or purse.

Below is an example of the difference it can make in reducing shine- with no retouching of the skin.  On the left is one of the first shots of this headshot session, and on the right is a photo taken after applying some rice powder to decrease that shine.

So the next time you’re at a wedding, event, or somewhere that you know you’ll be photographed a lot and you don’t want to look shiny, sweep some rice powder over your face.  Men especially love it because it’s technically not make-up and you won’t look like a drag queen for dabbing some rice paper on your forehead in the mens room.


Headshots of flowers. And a kitty. And a dog.

August 5, 2013 Published by . Leave your thoughts

There was some beautiful weather this weekend and after a few headshots on Saturday I stepped outside into the courtyard garden of my building and snapped some photos of some flowers, plants, and a kitty.  And my dog.  Apparently living with a headshot photographer can turn a dog into a instant-headshot-poser.  As soon as he sees my camera he smiles and I swear I can hear him say “cheese.”  I have trained him well…

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