Sometimes I get a strange look when I ask people I’m about to photograph what line of work they’re in and what they plan to use the headshot for. I think they’re thinking, “what does it matter? Just take my photo so I can get out of here and get a doughnut.” At least that’s what I’m thinking when I have my photo taken…
But there is method to my madness, I promise. It’s important for me to know what you plan to use the photo for, to help me choose the best backdrop, lighting, and posing. A litigation attorney’s headshot should look much different from an addiction counselor’s headshot, for example. Even for actors- if you’re auditioning for more comedies than dramas, a headshot with you smiling and laughing will go further in communicating that than a Steppenwolf-style brooding photo.
Yesterday I took Amanda’s headshot and asked her where she plans to use the photo. She mentioned it would be for a new website she’s designing for her law office, so I asked to see what it looks like so I can choose a backdrop color that will go with the color scheme of the website. And I’m glad I did! There is a lot of gray in the website and if I went with a standard gray backdrop for her photo, the grays might be different tones and clash with each other. And it would be an awful lot of gray on one website.
So I grabbed some yellow and amber gels, put them on the backlight for a white backdrop, and VIOLA! A yellow/orange gradient that matches the yellow/orange gradient in the navigation bar of the website. The result is an awesome headshot (she just happens to look great with warm tones), that looks like it was tailor-made for the website.