Getting in front of the camera is not an easy thing to do. Even for me it can be a daunting thing to think about! But if you are a professional, an artist, a business owner or are even in the beginning stages of starting your own business, headshots are vital. Why? Its your first impression. Having a nice, clean, impactful, professional quality image of yourself tells people a lot about you. And in a business portrait, you need something that conveys the message that you would like to convey to a potential client. This will, of course, be different for everyone depending on your personality and business type. But as long as it represents you, that’s what’s most important!
Once upon a time, headshots were all done in a studio. Artificial lights, plain backgrounds, suit and tie, and enough hairspray to choke out the ozone layer. While there is still very much a time and purpose for these types of headshots, I’ve been quickly discovering through talking with friends, clients and the other business owners around me, that is not what Ottawa’s modern creatives, professionals and small business owners want. Social Media and the big push for authenticity has really made people strive for being more ‘real’ for their audience. People want to be seen as trustworthy, relatable, approachable and as THEMSELVES. This, and this reason alone is why I’ve decided to offer the type of lifestyle head shots (or business portraits as I prefer to call them) that I do. I want to step outside of the box and give other Ottawa professionals a set of images that they can be proud of! I want them to feel confident, and as though they are putting their best face forward.
Have I convinced you yet? I thought I’d put together a list of some of the commonly asked questions when it comes to headshots. If you have any questions that have not addressed here, please feel free to email me!
As a natural introvert, I like to think of myself as a laid back kinda gal. And I feel that my work reflects this. So when I am out doing headshots with a client, that is the experience you can expect to have. Most of the poses I choose are decided on the spot, and are decided based on the message you wish to convey with your portrait and also taking into account things like your body type (since I always want the poses to be flattering!), the location and what looks comfortable and natural. So please don’t expect a formal, stuffy experience! It will be very relaxed, fun and chit-chatty. Its the best way I know how to make my clients feel comfortable in front of the camera!
Dress for the way that you would like your clients, and the general public to see you. Are you fun, laid back artist type? Maybe Jeans and a lose fitting top with some fun accessories would work with your style. Or are you offering professional services and wish to convey an image of prestige, power or success? Perhaps something more formal and tailored will work better. Regardless, you need to be comfortable too. So choose something that fits well, compliments your body shape and that you are prepared to wear for the duration of the session. Having a hard time deciding what to wear? Bring a couple of outfits along and I’d be happy to help you choose!
For make-up and hair – I always recommend to my clients that they keep it simple and to not do anything drastically different than your normal hair/make-up regime. Yes folks, this means its probably not the best time to book yourself in for that mega-orange spray tan you’ve been thinking about. 😉 If you are like me and do not normally wear much make-up, it might be beneficial to seek out the services of a make-up artist. Remember, the focus of these portraits is your face. So keep it natural looking and let the real you shine though. 🙂
Since I am an on-location photographer and typically work outdoors, I love to (and encourage!) sessions outdoors, year round. Having said that though, I realize that certain times of year can pose a challenge, particularly if you are sensitive to the heat or cold, or prefer the look and feel of a specific season. For this reason I am always open to sessions taking place indoors. Ottawa has some fabulous options! Contact me to discuss location possibilities!
I’d recommend updating every 2 years, or more often if there are any drastic changes in your look (ie. Weight loss, major hairstyle changes etc.). Headshots are meant to be timeless but styles and your over-all look do change over time. Updating them at least every 2 years will keep things fresh and looking recognizable to your clients.
First and foremost: Choose your photographer based on the quality of their work. I can’t stress that point enough! Headshots themselves aren’t usually terribly costly, but like professional portraits of any kind, this is an investment. An investment in your brand, an investment in your image and therefor, an investment in your business as a whole. It’s important to remember that A crisp, clean, high quality image helps create the impression that you care about a high standard of quality in the products or services you offer. So if you choose your photographer based on the lowest price alone, you may find that you are not getting a professional standard of work. Its also possible that they are not using professional grade equipment or editing/re-touching software. How can you tell a professional quality photo from a non-professional? Aside from price, look for things like the clarity of the image (Is it blurry? Out of focus? Not sharp?), Composition (Does it look like a snap-shot? Is the placement of the subject appealing to the eye? Is the image cropped in a flattering way?), and Exposure (Is the image WAY too bright or WAY too dark? Does the skin look true to colour?). Those are just the basics of course, but its the simple things that can often make or break a photo!
So take some time to browse portfolios and find someone who’s style you love, and that you think will best capture you. And if my style isn’t for you, I’d be more than happy to refer you to another Ottawa Photographer who’s style will suit the look you want!
I hope this information helps you decide how to proceed with your own professional headshots, or that I have at least convinced you about the importance of having one! If this is something you are considering, please contact me to book yours today! As always, I look forward to meeting some of Ottawa’s most fabulous creatives and business people! It’s truly one of the best perks of being an Ottawa Photographer. 🙂