Welcome to the 21st Century, where your headshot has become a virtual handshake. It all started with the idea, that your headshot is your brand. And your brand is critical for many marketing and advertisement campaigns. Think of it this way, great pictures equal better response rates when advertising online. In fact, most advertisements only feature a headshot, a description of services and contact information.
But keep in mind, these headshots must be engaging, honest, and friendly, which will lead to prospective clients looking to hire you and not your competition.
Doctors, Lawyers and Real Estate Agents more and more have pictures of themselves online because they understand that this creates a friendly, welcoming environment for their patients or clients.
Many public speakers, who regularly speak at events or galas, are often asked for a headshot, along with a brief bio, to use in the program book. It's a great way of connecting with people who otherwise don't know the person because it shows that the person they're seeing is real. Thus, this builds respect and trust in knowing that they are expert in what they are saying.
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While I was at the studio, working on some web profiles and sending emails- Martin lets me know I have to take a portrait for the website. I feel like anytime anyone hears they have to take a photo, it's automatically a "oh no."
While I am thinking of having to do this, Damion runs in and asks for my help. The elevator was down and he decided to take his client's headshots on the roof instead of on the New York City streets. So, we run up and we are helping this actress with her shots- and they are coming out great. All because she was open to a last minute change in plans.
Afterwards when Martin was getting ready to take my photo, I remembered the client and how she was able to positively let the change affect her- and we came out with this shot!
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Being in front of a camera is difficult. Trust us, we know. It's a lot of attention just on yourself in a position you don't usually do trying to channel a natural expression. That's a lot of focus!
But one thing I find that works tremendously to make sessions more relaxing is to have people think about someone they love. Or a fond memory with someone they love. Seriously, try it! Think of your very best friend, think of your favorite memory with them. Your focus has shifted completely, hasn't it? I realized the power of this simple trick when I was on an engagement shoot with two of my close friends.
This should have been a relaxing experience, right? I mean we've all known each other for years! But they revealed to me at the start of the shoot they they both felt rather nervous before the session. Okay, so I had to divert the focus from myself and my camera. As soon as I gave them a direction, "slow dance under that tree," "run through that field!" the tone completely changed because their focus was on one another instead of me and my camera.
As soon as you put your mind on someone who warms your heart and makes you feel like a million dollars it's so much easier to relax, whether you are with a photographer or not. Give it a try! Whether you're stressed, tired, or standing in a studio for that headshot session, thinking about your very favorite person can change the mood completely. And those smiles will so wonderfully genuine.
Do you have any tips or tricks for relaxing in front of the camera? Comment below or tweet us @mjbhomeent!
I love all aspects of my job as a makeup artist, from freelancing on powerful PSAs to assisting actors and corporate professionals look their best for professional headshots. Today, however, I want to talk about my passion within the industry. This story starts with a 10 year old girl sitting in front of a colossal television with built in VCR player.
I spent a large amount of my childhood with my eyes glued to my television, something my mother still claims is the reason for my terrible vision. I soaked up what I watched like a sponge. My favorite television show was Tales from the Crypt. I didn’t quite grasp the concepts within each tale but the Crypt Keeper kept me watching. He looked incredibly real to me at the time. As I grew up I found other classics such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, and my personal favorite, Night Breed. I had already caught on to the overused tropes but if there wasn’t any blood I didn’t want to watch it.
As my obsession with the morbid and macabre grew I found myself more and more curious about creating these practical effects, I watched documentaries on the classics featuring artists working on actors, these actors giving thumbs ups as the artist works on the large gash across their throat. I started practicing on my own and when the special effects portion of my schooling came up at Make-Up Designory in New York City I was over the moon with excitement. I finally had the means to create my exaggerated and often comical characters.
Since graduating I’ve created aliens for Star Wars Promos and monsters that live in the attic, finding my talent growing with every job and hoping to make the same impression on another 10 year old girl that the greats made on me.
What's your favorite movie featuring Practical Effects?
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I love the variety of people that we get from working in New York City. We get business people, actors, authors, politicians, doctors, techies - you name it! We also get people looking for love! Yup, one of the newest trends in online dating is getting headshots to showcase the best version of yourself to find your soulmate. With dating apps like Tinder giving someone a split second to decide “yes or no” you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. And we’re here to make it not only comfortable, but fun and memorable!
I’ve noticed that people who are coming to us for dating website photos are particularly nervous. I think there is something about it that feels very taboo. My suggestion? Just own it! There’s nothing to hide, and there’s no judgement! We’re excited for you to get a ton of images that you absolutely love. It’s pretty common to feel nervous before getting your photo taken, but after a few minutes it really does feel like you’re just hanging out, having a couple of laughs and before you know it you’re done. If you’re thinking about getting professional headshots for dating purposes, there’s nothing to be worried about. Leave it to the pros and you won’t leave disappointed!
Researchers have determined that it is more likely that the left side of a person's face looks most pleasing to others around them and more importantly how it looks on camera when taking headshots.
In a Time Magazine article, researcher's did a study on this topic and the results suggested "that posers’ left cheeks tend to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which observers find more aesthetically pleasing." Their findings provided "support for a number of concepts – the notions of lateralized emotion and right hemispheric dominance with the right side of the brain controlling the left side of the face during emotional expression.”
Like most photographers, determing a person's best side, whether science dictates its a person's left side or not, should be based on the person's facial structure. Experienced photographers will be able to see this right away and make the best decisions when directing the person by having them turn their face a certain way thats more pleasing to the eye. For more tips and advice, please visit www.cityheadshots.com.
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Today, I was blessed with the opportunity to shoot free headshots for over twenty New Yorkers with cognitive disabilities ranging from mild to severe. It was amazing to work with these wonderful people, helping them each get a great LinkedIn photo that can help them find employment opportunities.
The shoot took place downtown at a non-profit called CGS. Contemporary Guidance Services, Inc. (CGS) offers "creative, personalized programs and services to help individuals with special needs learn, grow and thrive in all aspects of their lives.” CGS also helps them find job opportunities and get along successfully in everyday life. After being invited as a guest speaker about a month ago to talk about what it’s like being a photographer in New York City, I came up with the idea of offering free headshots for their students to hopefully help them all land jobs.
A week after emailing Veronica from CGS with my idea, it was scheduled and confirmed. This morning, Damion and I brought our studio to their office and shot headshots for thirty people (students and CGS teachers alike). There was plenty of laughter, music, and candy to go around, and everyone had a great time.
It was truly inspiring to see so many people with special needs having such a blast at CGS while finding direction in their lives. CGS enables them to make their dreams a reality, and I was honored to be a part of it, if only for a day. But I know I’ll be going back soon, and hopefully other inspiring organizations like this will reach out to me for free headshots to help their disabled and/or homeless as well. I know the power of a great headshot in helping someone land a job, and I feel like doing this can help put so many deserving people to work in jobs they'll enjoy.
Not only was it inspiring and moving, but it was also eye-opening for me when I thought of how each student was so focused on the positive in their lives instead of the negative.
So many of us give up when something bad happens. We feel like the world is crumbling when we lose our job or break up with our partners. I'm guilty of this too! When my business slows down, it feels like the world is ending and I start stressing and worrying. But today has changed me.
I think the takeaway is that we all need to stop for a moment and look at the things we do have. We need to realize that no matter how bad things seem, we can all find something to be grateful for. The students at CGS have found it. The teachers at CGS have found it. I have now found it. I hope you find it too.
Whether we’re thankful for our families, our friends, our talents, our ability to love, or even just the fact that we are breathing, we do have something. If everyone stepped out of their box for a moment and looked at what they have instead of what they don't, I think the world would be a better place.
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It’s funny-- whenever I have a camera on me, it’s like I’m in middle school again. Thoughts start popping into my head, Orville Redenbacher-style:
“Don’t look to that side, that side makes you look like a man.”
“Don’t blink, you always blink, why do you always blink, why are you so sensitive to light and spicy foods and criticism?”
“Remember that time that you had a resting jerk face every day?”
“Stop trying to smize, you can’t smize, what even is smizing??”
“Your dad thinks you look like Claire Danes but you actually look like this.”
“Quasimodo called and HE WANTS HIS HUNCH BACK.”
Whoa whoa whoa. Okay. I’m trying to relax. Trying to have a good time here. Now my party’s getting crashed by this guy.
Can anyone else relate?
When clients shares the issues they have with their looks to me (which happens in almost every session), they also often express their worry that they’re “the annoying client.” They’ll say something along the lines of, “I’m not photogenic. I know everyone says that, but for me it’s true. I’m so sorry, I just really can’t stand how my teeth/eyes/face/nose/cheeks/chin looks, and I’m probably the one person that’s causing you tons of trouble because my teeth/eyes/face/nose/cheeks/chin is the worst.”
One time a client expressed that she thought she looked like “a cross between a chipmunk and a beluga whale.” (Chipuga? Belmunk?)
For a lot of people, when the camera focuses on their face, they focus inward on an intense amount of self-criticism.
What I want to state, right here and now, is that you are not the only one. You’re not alone when you think you are un-photogenic, or that a certain aspect of yourself is a huge problem in photos. In fact, you’re part of the vast majority.
But here’s the thing: you will pick apart your appearance far more than anyone else will. Trust me. Sometimes we see ourselves through a fun house mirror of insecurity, and our perceived, warped reflection bears little resemblance to what everyone else sees.
So if you’re nervous about getting your photos taken, how do you slow down your hyper-critical, middle-school-minded brain? How do you do this to that lame guy in the back of your head saying “boooooo”?
Trust that your worries are not as big as they seem. Trust that you too will look good in your photographs. You will look like you, and no one else looks like you, and you look wonderful. (I’m picturing 97% of the internet rolling their eyes-- you’re only doing it because you don’t hear it enough!)
Trust that your photographer will use his or her well-honed skills with the camera, lighting, flattering angles and body positioning, and expression to bring out your absolute best self.
Trust that you can let go of that critical voice, even for just part of one day, and relax.
Trust that you are glowing.
Have any other tips on letting go of your critical brain? Or maybe an excellent middle school anecdote, like that time I got table topped at a football game and landed in some mud? Funny one, guys… so funny… what great friends...
If so, or even just to say hi, comment below or tweet us @mjbhomeent!
x Lee Ann
I'm not headshot photographer, I am a...Jedi Knight! I use the power of 'The Force' to move your head or body in the perfect position so you can take a photo you will be satisfied with. And you can think of my camera as a lightsaber, warding off the Dark Side(worry, anxiety, vanity)and bringing balance to the Universe(or Your Self).
I follow the Jedi Code of Photography:
Emotion, yet Calm.
Empty, yet Aware.
Passionate, yet Serene.
Free, yet Controlled.
Still, yet the Force.
So revealing my true identity, allows clients to know they are in a safe environment and in a space where they feel free to just be, which also makes for great photos!! So...May The Force Be With You!!
Dami On Eel (my Jedi name)
Want to be a part of "The Republic" of City Headshots? Comments or tweet us @mjbhomeent!
I've always been an advocate of bringing some "play" into the work place. When things get stressful, I like to offer comedic relief, because let's face it: although we take what we do very seriously, and strive to create the best possible product for each and every person who walks through this door, we're not saving lives. This isn't a life or death occupation (thank goodness, because I was never very good at Operation as a kid). I will say though, applying liquid eyeliner does require a very steady hand!
Yesterday we had a free moment in between shoots and writing emails where Martin was asking me "I have all these tension rods, but none of them fit our window here. What can we do with them??"
I look at him with a big grin on my face. "Sword fight?" Both our eyes lit up. We both grabbed a sword, moved our equipment out of the way, and prepared to fight.
Hilarity ensued (as you can see)! It was such a great way to take a mental break and have some fun on a Monday morning. Tell us your most spontaneous work-day break! Don't have one? Comment below or give us a shout on Twitter! @mjbhomeent