"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):
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!
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!