When the boss sends you for headshots, you bring your A-game! I’m betting Aadel wouldn’t have it any other way. The advantage of a private headshot session is the freedom to experiment. We created images ranging from full suit formal to business casual and everything in between. There are keepers from each look, and each look enhances rather than upstages the expression and posture. This VP of Sales has a signature style, and he worked it like a pro!
“Everybody got their something.” What’s yours?
Hitting the entrance of my studio is like a dose of truth serum; all the self-image concerns and insecurities come pouring out. Who knew that I would be a keeper of secrets? What an incredible honor. Headshot photography is personal, and that’s why I love it.
One of my greatest achievements as a photographer is creating a safe and comfortable environment for clients to share their profoundly personal unease with their appearance and offering an experience that accounts for this legitimate human attribute. I live inside a human skin, too, which I appreciate only to a point and criticize to the nth degree. Your perspective on your appearance matters, you do worry about it, and I get it. We work together to bring out your very best.
Getting a little personal, on top of my own self-scrutiny, I experienced my insecurities about my appearance used as a weapon over the years: a form of punishment, a means of compliance, and a tool of deflection and simple cruelty. Occasionally these chinks in the armor were stumbled upon unwittingly, but they were often clear shots across the bow. I realize beauty is subjective, and far more makes up one’s character. Regardless, we live with the image of ourselves, and it’s not always an easy task to embrace our so-called flaws (refer to goofy self-portrait).
Headshots were the focus of my BFA senior thesis, and I barely scratched the surface. The project skewed toward portraiture rather than headshots as a genre subset, yet it informs my headshot work today. A headshot can be expressive and tell a story, one which often serves as a first impression. Other times the story is the reinforcement of one’s approachability and confidence. Either way, a headshot serves as a visual extension of what you find when encountering a person in real life.
Nikka Costa’s “Everybody Got Their Something” is a catchy tune that always stuck with me, and I recently dug into the lyrics. There’s some good stuff in Costa’s prose, and the song is largely a message of self-confidence. The bridge in the lyrics is particularly poignant, a subtle reminder that what we consider imperfect about ourselves makes us unique. It sums up my headshot philosophy well:
Illuminate the silly things
Shed some light on all that’s wrong
Everybody need it…sometime
Sometimes the only thing you got is what makes…
You…feel like you’re something else … altogether
You have everything
You don’t need another reason to be something
Embrace what you’ve got. Everybody’s got their something, good and bad. Bring it. I’ve got you covered.
Get close. Framing the face in your headshot helps to connect with your audience by highlighting the expression and emotion captured in the photograph. The technique capitalizes on what little screen space your profile photo usually consumes: less than the circumference of a dime when viewing your LinkedIn profile on a 27” monitor and roughly the size of a pencil eraser on the average cell phone (hey, I measured). It’s tempting to zoom out. I get it. We tend to view our headshots independently, outside of their usual context, searching for our so-called flaws, so it may feel ‘safer’ to include a lot of upper body. A wide view works if your hands and arms are a distinct part of your story and brand. When the allotted space is small, a zoomed-out shot can visually imply distance between you and the very people you are attempting to impact. Stay close to create a strong visual connection.
This US Naval Officer reached out to create a set of fresh headshots for his upcoming transition to civilian life. It was an honor.