October 28, 2013
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!
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…
August 5, 2013
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…
November 19, 2012
A few months ago I wrote a quick post about putting your headshot on your resume. Today, it’s about putting your headshot on your business card. I’ve had my headshot on my business card for a of couple years now and have come to a simple conclusion about it: it’s awesome. Of course I’m going to say that- it naturally makes sense for a headshot photographer (who happens to sell headshots to other people) to put her headshot on her business card since it’s a quick little portfolio piece that can show someone my photo style and professionalism without having to whip out a huge portfolio book or try to pull up my website on a little smart phone screen. Especially in an age where everyone with a camera calls themselves a photographer, I can show my business card with that title but then flip it over to show a professional self-portrait that says, “no, really- see? I’m actually a card-carrying professional photographer who makes her living with the camera.”
But what about lawyers? Consultants? Students? Designers? Financial planners? Why on earth would they want to have their headshot on their business card? For the same reason why a LinkedIn profile has an image of you and why everyone recommends that image be a professional, approachable portrait. Because it’s great to put a face to the name.
In a nutshell, putting your headshot on your business card does many things:
- It reminds someone who they talked to when they find your business card in their wallet later and think, “where did I meet this dude and what did we talk about?”
- It’s great if you go to networking events, where people can go through a stack of 50 business cards of 50 different people they talked to and remember who you were because a photo of you is right there in front of them.
- If someone gives someone else your business card and they’re seeing your business card before seeing you, it’s a great way for them to feel like they’ve met you before when they actually do see your face in person for the first time.
- It controls the image of yourself that you put in front of people, which is especially valuable in an internet age when we tend to Google search new people we meet… and possibly uncover photos of them drunk at frat parties…
And my final reason why a headshot on a business card rocks is the simple reason that people I hand my card to say, “woah, that rocks!” There’s something cool and unique and personable about being able to see a photo of the person on their business card. It just gives a vibe of friendliness and approachability that simple letters and numbers do not.
Oh, and one more awesome reason… it’s cheap. It doesn’t cost any more than printing a business card without a photo.
November 6, 2012
Here’s an example of a nice photo… but can it get better?
I got a phone call yesterday from someone who wanted to schedule a session with me because she just had a session last week with another headshot photographer and she absolutely hates how the photos turned out. She said the photos don’t really look like her- that her face looks rounder and puffier in the photos than she does in person. She emailed me the photos and I could tell what the problem was right away… I asked if the photographer was standing really far away from her when he took the photos and she said, “yes! How did you know?”
I knew because these photos were suffering from what I call “long lens syndrome.” When you use a long zoom lens to photograph someone, it tends to flatten their features- which can be beneficial for some face shapes, like people with narrower-shaped heads, less hair (it flattens the sides and brings them forward to show more of the hair), and larger noses. But a flattening effect is lousy for people with round-shaped faces, large ears, or features that are far apart, since it flattens the face out and enhances the effect. But some photographers keep using longer lenses for all their subjects because it can increase depth of field in the photo- blurring out the background to an extreme, but artsy-looking level. And of course, with a long zoom lens, the photographer has to be further away from the subject, or “he was like 15 feet away from me!” according to this unfortunate victim.
Here’s an even better angle that flatters her features even more after a little bit of head tilting and just slightly changing the length of the lens.
When you choose a headshot photographer make sure they have a diverse portfolio and not just the same shot with the same background over and over again. A more diverse portfolio usually indicates that their style and method is flexible and that they can adjust what they’re doing to best benefit their client. You want a photo of yourself that looks like you at your best, most flattering angle. Make sure your photographer is photographing you from multiple angles during the session. I like to take a few basic shots, then inspect them, and change the lighting or the posing to find the most flattering angle for each individual. Sometimes it’s getting right in their face with a short, 50mm lens and a key light right above them. Other times it’s photographing them from halfway across the room, a 135mm lens, and the key light off to the side.
Headshot photography shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all Hanes Beefy T-Shirt. Because just like some of us look like crap in a Beefy T 4 sizes too big for us, some of us look like crap with the wrong lens and the wrong lighting for our face shape. Remember, you deserve to have your photographer work hard to try different poses, lighting, and angles to get the most flattering images of you. Crack that whip!
October 19, 2012
A few months ago I took some photos at a local Whole Foods bakery for a new ad campaign they’re running about their stores’ bakeries as local bakeries and the people who work there as the great, local bakers they are. They asked some actual staff members of their bakeries to come in for the shoot and pose as themselves to be photographed doing exactly what they do daily: baking bread, decorating cakes, preparing tarts, and so on.
I partner with fellow independent photographer Johnny Knight for a lot of projects- mostly weddings- and we we worked together on this Whole Foods campaign, taking photos side by side so some of our photos had our subjects looking right into the camera, and for others photos they would be looking off to the side. The effect was very natural and the photos turned out great!
So I’m finally getting around to posting some of my favorite shots from the day- one that was chosen for the campaign, one of the outtakes from that shot where some bread dough seems to be levitating… and some other great shots.