The dreaded moment has arrived; your manager has informed you that photographers will be coming in to take staff photos. Or maybe you’ve finally accepted you need to invest in a decent photograph for your LinkedIn profile.
If your heart sinks at the very thought, you are not alone. As a commercial photographer I have taken hundreds of professional/corporate headshots and very few people make highly natural, confident, eager-to-be-there subjects.
In my experience, the lack of enthusiasm for photoshoots are based on two things.
1. People are not comfortable with the actual process itself; with the fear of the experience usually ranging from mild reluctance through to extreme discomfort.
2. Worry about how they will look in the photograph. This may be due to the general lack of confidence many of us have with our looks, or sensitivity around a particular feature.
If this is the case for you, you’re completely normal!
Most people are not super-models or in love with their own looks.
So, given that photographs are now an important part of networking and marketing for professional individuals and companies, what can we all do to make the process, and outcomes better?
Well first of all, it’s the job of a commercial photographer to put you at ease. It’s not simply my role to set up the perfect lighting and shot. It’s to engage and work with you so you look and feel your best.
I’ll understand what you or your company wants to achieve from the shot – whether the look required is corporate, friendly and approachable, quirky and fun or something else. But I’ll also understand any worries. ‘I hate my teeth!’. ‘I look better from the left!’. Most people will have an exaggerated perception of their own concerns, however, though the lighting, angles and editing, I can ensure that everyone’s delighted with the end result.
But what can you do to help ensure you end up with a photo you love? Here’s my five tips for preparing yourself for your photoshoot.
1. Choose flattering clothes. Most people know the style and colour that flatters them. If you have a feature you’re less happy with, use accessories to distract (if possible). For example, a scarf around a long neck. It’s important to pick the clothes that fit your personal or company brand. If you’re a creative personality known for never wearing a suit, there’s no need to wear one for your photo. However, looking smart and presentable with ironed, clean, smart/casual clothes will be important.
2. Make sure you use a professional photographer who will bring with them a mobile studio with professional lights. Getting a colleague or friend to take a picture will never give the same professional outcome that will flatter. So many amateur photographs suffer from bad exposure and if that’s not enough to persuade you perhaps this is - the right lighting can make all the difference to eliminating dark bags under the eyes and complimenting different shape faces.
3. Ensure the background does not distract from you. A mobile studio is always going to be far better in terms of the background, or at the very least find a plain, nice, light wall. So many so-called professional shots contain backgrounds of bars/holiday restaurants/other people or objects/unsightly walls or fences. It’s distracting and it’s unprofessional.
4. It’s hard I know, but try to exercise a positive mindset before the shoot to love the camera. The photoshoot is happening. You want the photo to portray you as a confident professional who clients trust to handle their business. Yes, it’s a case of stepping out the comfort zone and acting a little. But take a hint from the top models who look right into the lens; imagine something that makes you smile and your personality will shine through. You never know, you might even enjoy yourself!
5. Depending on your business, add a creative edge by including a prop or accessory. It can add interest or an element of fun to the photo, portray what you do and make you stand out from the crowd. For example, mine involves me holding my camera. My camera is an integral part of my personal brand. It sums up what I do. I feel happy and natural with a camera in my hands. If there’s something similar that works for you, or even an unusual but complementary business setting, then let your photographer help you get creative.
If you follow this guide, your photoshoot will be a painless, even fun experience, with spectacular results. Good luck!
For examples please click on link.