Nothing gets in our head and acting nutty more than pictures of ourselves, and moreover, having them taken. As a photographer who has photographed literally thousands of individuals, I’ve pretty much seen it all. I’ve seen people cry on set, I’ve seen people show me the literal side of their head, saying “this is my good side,’ and I’ve seen people give up and walk away from a head shot altogether. This aspect of human behavior fascinates me, and for years I didn’t feel qualified (maybe the lack of a psychology degree?) to opine or give my view on the topic. Well, that has all changed. I am now an expert with my own personal study of an estimated 40,000 participants over the course of 20 years!
Next time you’re scrolling through profiles in LinkedIn or any other Social Media where we represent ourselves with a 3/4 inch square likeness of ourselves, notice the HUGE variety of shots you see as profile photos. We obviously are NOT aligned in our thinking of what constitutes a great head shot or else these would tend to look the same. I know they’re just head shots, but I have some things to say about them, about what makes a good one and what does not. But before I dive in with all of that, I want to hear from you. Ask yourself this question: Is getting your head shot taken stressful for you? If so, why? What kinds of things are you concerned about, what drives you nutty? Have you been scarred by bad photographers? Tell your story! You may have to let the guard down a bit to play here, but don’t be afraid. Good things are coming…
Sometimes, life throws us a curveball. In this case, the curveball was a ruptured achilles tendon, which I just had surgery on this last Tuesday. Doc’s instructions? Stay off the foot, keep it elevated. Period. Not exactly how I’d planned on spending ANY time during this life. Okay, so here I am. On the couch. With a laptop. Stay tuned…
Here’s an environmental portrait we shot of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s CEO, Jack Barbour, and Fowler White Boggs CEO Rhea Law, whose two firms completed a merger last week. We pre-scouted 3 setups in the lobby spaces of Fowler White, and shot 3 options in under one hour. This was the ‘winning’ selection.
I have been asked this question most days of my 21 year career, and I’m quite certain I’ve answered this question a thousand different ways, if there are indeed a thousand ways to tell someone that I’m a photographer. After a flurry of marketing and social media training over the last 2 months or so, I have a new answer: “I free people from the notion that they hate photos of themselves.”
This was born out of the literally thousands of times I’ve heard this comment as someone steps up to my set (typically a head shot set). I estimate, cuz I’m kind of a stats guy, that 40-50% of human beings make this type of an announcement upon arrival to my set. I have made it my business to send those folks away from my set saying something different, for example, “Wow, that’s the first time I’ve ever liked my photo!”
Call it my mini-ministry, call it a subtext to the hundreds of head shots I shoot every year. I call it a new way to relate to what I do that gives me a way to make a lasting difference with the people I’m fortunate enough to meet every day of my life.
So, that’s it for now – I’ll be saying more – lots more, about this topic in the very near future. I just wanted you to know I’ve been listening to you all these years. Oh, and welcome to my new blog! We’ll talk soon…