I have been doing a lot of headshots for entrepreneurs and small businesses lately. The biggest things people say to me are: “I hate getting my picture taken!”, “I always look stiff”. A few things to keep in mind: you hate getting your picture taken because you have not had a great picture taken of yourself, so of course it is torture. Your smile does look fake because it is fake and you look stiff because you will not let yourself breathe. So now that I have been straight with you: let’s try to come up with some ways to make sure this does not happen.
If you own your own business or even an employee where you offer a service, you are going to need a good professional photo. So resolve yourself to that fact and arm yourself with tools to make it a much better experience.
1. Ask your friends, colleagues and clients if they have ever used a photographer they love for photos. If you like their photo and they had a good experience then this is a good starting place. Plus if you see that the photo looks like your friend then that is what you want.
2. Look at the photographer’s portfolio. Do you like what you see? Do the people look comfortable? Do they look relaxed? Is it well-lit? Do the people look real and approachable?
3. Talk with the photographer. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do they give good advice? Are they willing to answer any questions or concerns you have?
4. Prepare yourself. Get a good nights rest and drink plenty of water. Get a haircut 1-2 weeks before so it has time to settle. Spend a few days before the shoot getting your clothes ready. See what colors look best on you. Make sure everything is cleaned and pressed. Bring things that fit welland show your personality. Even though you may be selling your architectural services, if you look nice, approachable and polished, potential clients will feel connected to you. The saying, “When all things are equal, people would rather work with their friends” is true. If they like you, they will trust you. Now I have had a few lawyers say to me, “Well I need to look like I will eat the opponent in court, be a bulldog for them” Well yes, I agree, if I am going to be in court I want someone who knows what they are doing. However, I want to trust you and not think you are a jerk. So you can be serious but still warm and polished.
5. Use a professional make-up artist. They will know how to make you look good for the camera. There are special techniques to hide blemishes and imperfections, even out skin tone and make sure you are not washed out for the camera. Plus having someone moisturizing your face, talking with you about life and making you look like your best self is very relaxing. It is a way to come in and breathe before you jump in front of the camera. Plus celebrities and other famous people never get in front of the camera without make-up cause when they do they look like those awful pictures in US Weekly. Not that I am looking.
6. Be willing. If you come into the shoot, telling yourself all your negative thoughts, they will come through in the photos. Be willing to tell your photographer your hesitations and then trust that they know what they are doing. Try and relax. You did your homework and made all the effort to get a great shot. I always try to tell jokes, get you talking about things you like and forget we are taking your photo. All that talking, joking and breathing helps, and I usually can get you to let me in and grab some personality. You only need one great shot and this will not be the only photo you ever take. So relax, breathe and come prepared to hear our really corny jokes.