The importance of a professional headshot

Having a professional headshot has never been more important than now, with the continuing growth of the internet and social media.  People make very quick, sometimes snap decisions about what to look at when on-line, and the impression you create with your headshot is one of the factors that will  contribute to the overall impression they form about you and your company.  Having a professional headshot is your opportunity to portray who you are, what you want to say about your brand and to send a message about how you do business.  If you haven’t taken the time to present a professional appealing headshot image then your customers may well question your attitude to quality and customer service in other aspects of your business.

So what does “professional” mean in this respect – and what is the difference between a professional headshot and one that a friend with a good camera might be able to take?  Well I think the difference lies in a number of different areas.

Firstly, an understanding of your requirements is critical, and this is probably the most important, both in terms of how you intend to use the image, and the sort of brand or image you wish to create.  A professional photographer will discuss how and what the headshot is to be used for, whether you are looking for a fun, informal image or something more traditional and formal.  Where you would like the headshot to be taken – in the studio or on location?  Black and white or colour?  Colours that are important?  What to wear? There are different technical requirements  for an image that will upload easily to websites/ social media sites, compared to ones that will be used on printed media, and a professional photographer will understand the different resolutions and colour profiles required.  Similarly, it is worth considering who and how the image will be viewed.  If it is a headshot for Linked In or Twitter and it is viewed on a mobile device, it may be no more than 2 cms big, whereas a profile article on a website would be displayed much larger.  Many businesses deal with more than one type of customer and may want a different profile picture or headshot for the different channels.

A second important consideration is equipment – having the appropriate range of equipment to create a suitable image.  This will obviously include the camera, but also different lenses, lighting, studio equipment etc.  A headshot taken on location may require a different camera and lens from one taken in the studio, and a professional photographer will understand what is required for different types of photography.

Another area that is important is that of posing.  Different body shapes, skin colours and clothing types will lend themselves better to different poses, and a professional photographer will know how to get you looking at your best, and how to accentuate your best features, and minimise those you are less confident about.

A professional photographer will edit your photograph.  Most of the hard work has already been done in selecting the appropriate location, equipment, lighting, clothing and pose for the photograph.  However, there is always just a little bit of magic that can be done at the last stage to ensure that the colour range and balance is just right, skin blemishes are appropriately edited and the image is presented in the best possible way.  A decision about colour or black and white might be relevant too.

And a final word – do keep your headshot up to date.  Nothing is more disconcerting than finding out at a first meeting that the person in the photograph is actually ten years older than you thought!

 

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Spring photos

A little taste of what felt like summer over the weekend was fantastic, and all around we are beginning to see colourful signs of the arrival of spring.  Now is a great time to think about booking in for an outdoors photo session, where the natural world becomes your backdrop, rather than the confines of a studio.  Right now we have crocuses and snowdrops all around, April is great for Spring daffodils and of course the end of April and early May are when the beautiful bluebells make an appearance.   An outdoor or lifestyle shoot will be quite individual, according to your choice of location and the ever changing colours and textures of the setting.  Below are a few images from families taken last year – if you think that outdoor photos rather than studio might suit you or your family, then do contact me to chat about locations and dates.

 

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Teen photoshoot parties

Teen photoshoot parties continue to be really in demand, with 13-14 year olds the most popular age at which to do them.  They are a lovely idea for teenagers who are looking for something different.  I offer a photoshoot party for 4-8 girls at my home studio which means that I can do both “lifestyle” photos in the garden as well as studio photos.  Teens usually bring a selection of outfits from casual outfits to party dresses to pyjamas.  Depending on the age and preference of the guests I can tailor the shoot accordingly – some like more individual or fashion style photos while others prefer to do more of the group fun and silly photos.  There is generally plenty of time to accommodate a bit of both so that everyone gets a variety of photos both of themselves individually as well as with their friends.  I have a variety of props in the studio which we can incorporate into the shoot or groups can bring their own things along.  And if the girls are looking for some special treatment then I can arrange a make up artist to come along to make them look and feel gorgeous before their photos.

 

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Website Photography

Eye-catching website photography is your big opportunity to make a big impact.  These days no-one refers to a Yellow Pages or Thomsons when looking up a business or service – in fact, I am guessing that many people under the age of twenty wouldn’t even recognise those directories.  We know it’s all about the internet now, so having strong website photography is absolutely essential in ensuring that visitors to your website are tempted to stay longer and investigate further.   The first part of this process is to ensure you have a fabulous corporate headshot – this can be used not only on your website but also on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.  Often these images will appear quite small on a site, so it is key that the image used is clear and uncluttered.

 

The headshots don’t have to be studio images – a location image might well be more appropriate and particularly if it is to be used on the website, images of the business owner in his or her own environment will give the viewer a better feel for what the business is all about.

And then of course, website photography itself might include product images as well as activities.  Prior to any corporate headshot or website photography session I would discuss with you what your business is all about, and what you hope to portray on your website so that I can then decide on the best way to capture that imagery.  This might be anything from picture framing –  like at Bespoke framing …..

…. to Giardini yoga

 

to Nordic Walking with Michelle Johns

 

to pictures of children tearing down a slide at the indoor play barn at Odds Farm Park

If you are interested in discussing your website photography or corporate headshot needs with me then do please get in touch.

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Teenage photoshoot parties Buckinghamshire

Teenage photoshoot parties continue to be as popular as ever.  Bored of the swimming parties, discos, cinema outings etc?  This could be the solution – it’s a chance to have some fun and laughs with friends, and to have it all captured on camera.  The parties are held at my home studio which gives us the opportunity to do some beautiful portraits of everyone, both in the garden and also in the studio.  Photographs in the garden provide a totally different feel to the studio photos – the setting changes with the seasons, and at the moment it’s beautiful with bluebells and rhododendrons adding colour to the background.

After the photos in the garden we move inside when it is usually time for a change of outfit and some group photos – these can be as fun or as silly as you like.  Some groups like to bring their own props along which is fantastic, or you can use my selection of hats, feather boas, tutus etc to add a splash of colour to your photos.  The girls will have use of a room in which to change, listen to music and enjoy the drinks and snacks I provide.  I can also arrange for a make up artist if you would like one but this is not necessary if you prefer to be free to do your own thing!

There is usually still time for another outfit change and more photos – these can be group photos of everyone, or more individual portraits.  After the party, the birthday girl receives a fantastic photobook with a BIG selection of images – so she has a lasting memory of the day itself.  Each of the guests receives a group photo in a folder mount, and the images are all available to view in a passworded web gallery should anyone wish to buy further images.  If you are interested in a photoshoot party for yourself or your daughter, then do get in touch.  My weekends do tend to get booked up quite a few months in advance, so do contact me to discuss your preferred dates and reserve if appropriate.  Weekday parties are also an option during the summer holidays.

 

 

 

 

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