"I HATE getting my picture taken!"

If I had a nickel for each time I’ve heard that! I used to hate having my picture taken, too, but now I know why!

In 2010 I had my first headshot taken. I was a newly hired employee and they required us all to have professional headshots for the company website. In a past life I had done some acting, so being in front of a camera performing was not a problem for me at all. The thought of posing for still pictures, however, set loose a thousand butterflies in my belly.

Fast forward a week later. I drive to a studio in a different part of town. After entering the studio space I am greeted by the photographer and a make up artist. The make up artist proceeded to put on a tremendous amount of make up on me, applying a thick layer of foundation with a bunch of other stuff I was unfamiliar with. The whole time the two of them were talking about weekend plans, so I was left to mentally rehearse my best poses and try to get prepared. My anxiety was on the rise…

We move into the shooting space. there were a couple of very bright lights in front of me, I could hardly see past them. The photographer was so far away all I could do was aim my face at the sound of her voice. She was encouraging me to “pose” and “smile”, but in my anxious state all I could do was sway back and forth, crossing and uncrossing my arms. My brain was telling my mouth to form a “U”, but it was far from a real expression. I was feeling super insecure and self conscious, which made things much worse.

After what felt like an hour of fake laughs and clicks the pain was over, my session was done. I was EXHAUSTED and wanted to curl up in a ball. The end result looked good, but I would forever associate it with the experience, which was far from favorable.

That experience was the foundation I used when developing my headshot system. Most photographers forget what it is like to be on the other side of the camera…the doubt, fear, insecurity and putting your image into someone else’s hands.

A great headshot consists of the following (in this order):

  1. Fun

  2. Laughs

  3. Real expression

  4. Great lighting

  5. A camera

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Do you see the first three points have nothing to do with being a photographer? Being a great headshot photographer has little to do with the camera or the lighting, it’s about their ability to bring out expression, make the subject at ease while keeping the whole process light and fun!

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So if you are anxious about your upcoming headshot session, you are definitely not alone! Almost everyone that comes to my studio starts by saying “I am not photogenic” or “I hate this” or “no one ever takes a good picture of me”. It’s always my goal to turn that impression around and give you amazing images that show a confident and approachable you!

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Job Seekers, you are not managing your brand!

Prior to becoming a Photographer I was a Headhunter. Basically employers would hire me to find their next super-duper Rockstar employee. To do this I would have to look through hundreds of applicants, screening them for skill set, talking to them for soft skill set, prepping them for interviews etc. One of the areas I coached was presentation and branding, both online and in-person.  Let me dig a little deeper...!

You see we are visual people.  Take a situation where you meet someone for the first time face to face. Instinctively you look for micro expressions, in that 1 to 2 seconds you are searching for a connection at a subconscious level. Have you ever met someone that just didn't feel right? That is your subconscious telling you that the micro expression hunt came up with nothing, so you just can't connect with the other person. The EXACT same thing applies to your online Branding, be it through your LinkedIn page, informative Twitter account, vibrant Instagram page, jam packed GitHub, Your headshot is front and center of that experience!

An amazing headshot shows that you are Professional and Confident while being balanced with warmth that shows you are Approachable. Confidence lives in the eyes and approachability comes from the mouth.   Here is an example:

Confident and approachable.

Remember as a job seeker you are your own brand! You have to market yourself to get the word out that you are awesome! Use your headshot to show who you are... a Confident, Approachable and Professional person!

Moving to Kelowna!

Yes, it is sad and super exciting all at the same time!  My family is relocating to Kelowna in May 2018!

My wife and I have always loved the trips to Kelowna!  Before moving to BC I lived in Ontario wine country, so having vineyards in my backyard is something I really miss!

I will be searching for studio space once we are there in the meantime I will be offering outdoor sessions!  I have been working on a new headshot style that I believe is very ideal for the Okanagan beauty!

This is my new "To Do" list..!  https://www.tourismkelowna.com/do/activities-attractions/

Where are your favorite places?  Leave a comment!!

 

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*image courtesy of Gulfstream Restaurant

Top clothing tips for a killer headshot session!

One of the most popular questions I get is about clothing.  Headshots are very different from other types of photography, fashion can be a hindrance to the overall effect.  Here are some top tips for optimizing your headshot session!

Colours are your frenemy

What looks good in front of a mirror doesn't look good for a headshot!  Bright vibrant colours will pull the attention away from your face, which makes the image more about clothing choice.  Stick to simple neutral colours.  Blue, greens, etc.  White and black can work at times, but since white and black fade quickly, make sure the tops are newer.

Bright Green no no

 

Beware of sleeveless tops

They look amazing in front of the mirror, but in a headshot with the wrong angle it can look scandalous!  Stick to tops that have shoulder coverage and a higher neckline.

Avoid Patterns

Think about the last time you went to a casino...do you remember the floor?  It's typically one of the first things that you look at and it can be very distracting!  Same applies with headshots, patterns can go too far quickly and the image becomes about that cute top and not your expression.

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Layer to your strengths

If you want to add depth to your image, add a layer or two!  As always keep the layer simple, ensure that your neck doesn't get covered in the process.  Hoodies, cardigans, suit jackets can all work to create depth in your image!  Extra tip, if you are wearing business suits, make sure it fits appropriately!  Loose collars and ill fitting jackets are a big no no!

 

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Did I miss anything?  Comment below if you have a secret for your headshots!

Top 5 things Job-Seekers need to do now!

Some of you know that I was a recruiter long before I picked up a camera (since 2004!)!  I have come up with a list of 5 must have items in your Job-seeker Personal Brand toolkit!

1. Be a part of the conversation!

If you are on LinkedIn, make sure that you are actively participating in the field that you are interested in!  Look for a post relevant to your field, like and comment on it (add value to the conversation).  Employers and recruiters pay attention to these posts and seeing intelligent comments go a long way to your brand!

2. Move on from your young years.

Ooooo boy, this one will be a point of contention for some!

If you have a public Facebook/Instagram/Twitter profile, ensure that the content best represents who you are now, not who you were 5 years ago.  If you look like a drunk frat boy throughout social media, then potential employers will see you as that drunk frat boy!

3. Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer!

Looking for a job can be very tough! Volunteer work counts a experience, so while you are looking for your next role offer your time to a not-for-profit. You will gain valuable experience, be active in your community and helped out a great cause!  Post about it on social media and update your resume to show the experiences.

4. Network.

Connect with recruiters, business owners and hiring managers in the companies that you are looking to work in.  When they accept your invite send them a nice heartfelt message stating your interest in their specific company and exactly why!

5. Look the part!

Your face needs to look it's best! Update your profile picture to be professional. A professional photographer will be able to make you look and feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera.  That will go a long way when you are working your social media!  A professional headshot is an essential piece of the personal brand!

 

Do you want to see my top 5 DON'T DOs?!  Please share and like this post if you do!

 

 

Selfie helpie!

Tis the season for Holiday Selfies!  Here are a few tips from a pro for getting the best out of your front facing camera!

Look at the camera!

Avoid looking at the screen when taking your selfie!  Smartphone lenses can be tough to see, but typically they are located at the top, close to where you put your ear when using the phone.

 

Go to the light.  

Want light like the pros use?  Stand facing a big window that doesn't have sun directly shooting through it.  This will make the light very "soft" with minimal hard shadows (trust me on that one)!

 

Higher isn't better.

Aim the camera slightly higher than your nose, don't aim for the sky!  When you raise the camera too high you increase the risk of distorting your face, which isn't flattering (unless you are an anime character)!

 

Think happy thoughts!

Don't force a smile, everyone can tell!  Instead keep a "pocket memory", something that will make you smile every time!  I use mental images of my dog as a puppy.  Corny but it works every time!

 

Hopefully these tips will help you refine your selfie game!  If you still struggle then give me a call!  

 

Happy Holidays!

“My picture from (insert person)’s wedding is good enough for LinkedIn...!

No it isn’t!!  

 

Let me explain.   

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Back in 2006 LinkedIn’s popularity changed how companies find talent. Since then personal branding has become more and more Important.  Potential employers want to know who you are before they hire you, so they turn to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and any other social media platform before making those decisions! 

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Your Headshot is just one area to consider, but it is very important!  Here are some tips for having a headshot that will make you stand out!

 

Don't be yourself!

 Not exactly true...you definitely want to show who you are, but in the context of work.  What I mean is that you want to show you who you will be at work, not at the bar! 

 

Just the face...just the face.

LinkedIn pictures end up being very tiny on a big screen, so keep your face front and center!

 

Use a Professional Photographer  

 If you are a jobseeker, invest in you personal brand, hire a professional photographer to take your best shot.  Only a professional knows how to pull out the best you!  Posing, lighting, joke cracking are all skills we work for years to get right!  

 

I hope you found some of this information relevant and useful!  I would love to hear your thoughts on these topics, so if you want to keep the conversation going please contact me!