Headshot vs. Mugshot
Get out your driver’s license. Take a look at that picture… Obviously, the person clicking that camera didn’t have your best interest in mind! Do you look like someone just pinched you, or maybe startled you?
Let’s talk about the importance of a good headshot, not just for professional purposes (although that is important), but also a picture to represent who you are to your own world. Your world may include social media, friends and relatives that live in another state or country. It’s important that they are able to look into your eyes and remember who you are. I feel with Covid many of us have lost touch with the importance of the human face when half of it is hidden under a mask when we go out.
As you may have read in my last blog post, I’ve been doing intense training to do justice to the picture that represents you. I’m honing my craft and toolkit to make you look your best! I’m learning from the best (Peter Hurley)! Let’s talk about what makes up a good headshot and how to use them!
First let’s address what makes a good headshot
We need to see in an image where your superpowers lie. Let’s whisper a little secret… we all have them. In order to show those traits, it needs to be a perfect combination of strength and warmth.
If this is for a business profile, your clients need to see that you are capable and confident in your trade, but also that you have approachability and they want you on their team. When purchasing one of the largest transactions in your life, like a home – you definitely want an expert skill level realtor who is also willing to listen to your needs. A headshot can convey all of those things!
Think of it like a puzzle and every piece matters – you always start with the outsides right? In a photograph, your outer edge is the wardrobe, styling, hair and makeup and all of the things we prep together to get you the best visual look to work with. Then the inside of the puzzle is all on me.
While we work together for the styling, the inner technical pieces are why you hire me! Things like lighting, coaching, camera height, camera settings, backdrops and crop are where I unleash MY superpower! Education, practice, experience, willingness to grow and always be on the cutting edge – are what make me a unique puzzle maker.
“If you’re in front of my camera, which one of us can see your face?” ~ Peter Hurley
When I heard this line, it made it all fall into place! From my side of the lens, the side that can see your face, I give micro directives to get a perfect expression. We are aiming for more than a two-dimensional shot, but trying to have the heart of who you are come through your eyes. My job is to make you forget about the camera—to be your authentic self! Here is where trust comes in and the magic happens!
Sometimes people have a photo they had taken in 4th grade, and it represents their favorite face of themselves. They then try for years and/or decades to replicate that exact expression! Unless you’re still in fourth grade, time and experiences have altered your expression! Every person you’ve loved and every friend you’ve had leaves an indelible mark on the face you show to the world. So to graduate from 4th grade and embrace who you are today, I’m asking you to let me be your guide to your image.
It’s incredible to me, SO many people have a visceral reaction—camera goes up, face goes wonky! My go-to technique to combat this is distraction and misdirection. I am going to focus on making you forget the camera is there! I may throw out ridiculous prompts and directives that make you wonder what was in my coffee. Trust me, this is by design. It’s not the caffeine, it’s part of the process. A process to get you relax and smile, without saying “Relax and smile”.
I have discovered, many people are at their most beautiful while they are actually laughing. Actually (a little behind the curtain here) the 2-3 seconds that follow a heartfelt laugh, will produce a relaxed and true smile! My shtick is heavy and I rarely say the same things twice! Your experience is unique. I will keep tossing spaghetti until something sticks to the wall! So put trust in me, I got you…pinky promise! Ready, aim, click!
Ways to use a headshot
We all know the usability of a professional headshot—but you may be surprised just how often you use it! It’s more than just for a business card. There are a multitude of uses! The possibilities are endless.
Are you in the dating world? Building a website for your business? Feeling stagnant in your job? Need an ego boost? New Linkedin photo? Or maybe just want a badass photo of yourself?
Sometimes we don’t realize that there are others that want a picture of you to remind them of who you are when they are afar. Sometimes you need it to remind yourself.
My mom just co-authored a book with three other women—it’s about living life to the fullest—and suddenly needed current photos for their bios. I had such a good time capturing a cohesiveness among women who are so diverse. We captured their individuality and yet I can see why they are forever friends! This is the value of the headshot!