We all need a professional profile image, regardless of which profession we’re in. Many already know the value of a quality profile photo for a corporate type job, but even an up and coming musician with dreams of making it big needs a professional headshot. While a musician will benefit from a great photo of themselves in a live performance in a bar, that style of photo (however well photographed) isn’t going to create the right brand for someone looking to join a corporation. Whatever your headshot needs may be, there are some common themes that will help you hire a professional headshot photographer that will create the right look and brand for you.
Why an amateur photographer won’t cut it
I am unsurprised when companies and individuals don’t hire a professional headshot photographer and instead try to shortcut and save money by taking cell phone photos of their staff. More often than not they end up unhappy with the results.
“We had our receptionist do our headshots but it backfired – we hated the pictures.”
“We are a professional architectural firm and our headshots didn’t match up with our talent”.
“I have been an amateur photographer for years and thought I could do my wife’s headshot, but all we did was argue. It was uncomfortable”.
While it makes sense to try and save your business money where you can, the difference in quality of headshots is noticeable. When you don’t hire a professional headshot photographer and take photos with a cell phone, your resulting headshots often fail because of:
Bad lighting can show up as unflattering fluorescent tinged tones in your headshot, or it can appear as dark circles around your eyes, or it can result in one side of your face being well lit and the other side of your face in shadow. Sometimes you don’t notice the bad lighting until it’s too late.
This one is less common in today’s world where smart phones have better cameras. But it it still relatively easy to accidentally move your hands too much and your photo comes our less than sharp. When you hire a professional headshot photographer, they’re trained to look for both obvious and subtle indicators that your photo is blurry.
Incorrectly focused photos
An incorrectly focused photo is a little different than a blurry photo, because some parts are sharp while others just…aren’t. For example, your suit looks crisp and clear while your eyes appear blurry. This occurs when the camera or photographer focuses on the wrong feature.
This one is more subtle. When you don’t hire a professional headshot photographer and instead work with an inexperienced photographer you might notice your eyes just don’t stay on the subject in the photo. You might notice the stapler sitting on the desk beside the subject, or your eyes might be drawn to the smudge of dirt on the wall behind your subject.
Lifeless or fake expressions
After lighting, your subject’s expressions are the biggest indicator of whether you chose a professional or amateur photographer. Amateur photos sometimes have subjects with expressions of discomfort. When their subjects are better at masking their discomfort, they will put on a fake smile. Worst of all is when the subject clearly doesn’t care and they show a lifeless expression. This is why you should look for experience when you hire a professional headshot photographer.
Why Hiring the right professional photographer matters
Before you read all the ways headshots could turn out poorly, you might have thought headshots seemed simple. Good headshots require a certain type of professional who has the aptitude for taking portraits, and all the right resources you might need. However, you should avoid hiring someone simply because he or she is in the photography business.
Why you shouldn’t hire a Wedding Photographer for headshots
Wedding photographers are great at capturing the candid moments at an event, like when a child surprises the bide with a hug from behind. They’re also great at posing the bride and groom in flattering ways with each other and guests. However many wedding photographers, as part of their professional system, charge for prints and keep the rights to their files. This may cause you issues as a corporation when it comes to sharing your photos on your public website.
Certainly not all Wedding photographers lack the ability or training to produce headshots and some are quite talented but generally its a side business for them and they want to keep the discretionary rights of all the files. This is why you should instead hire a professional headshot photographer.
Why you shouldn’t hire product or Architectural Photographers for headshots
When you hire a photographer for headshots, choosing product or architectural photographers could lead to problems. Common business practices among product and architectural photographers include owning all rights to materials. The creative process for finding a great picture differs from the process of finding a great portrait. Product and architectural photographers usually care about shapes, forms, lighting and background then often ignoring the human being in front of them.
“My last photographer made me feel uncomfortable, asking me to move one way and another. He was irritated with me – resulting in a terrible headshot albeit well exposure and nice lighting!”
Why you should hire a professional headshot photographer for headshots
When you hire a photographer for headshots, choosing an experienced and dedicated headshot photographer is really important. Headshot Photographers understand that the most important component of portraits are the human being. A headshot is not just a picture of a person but a portrait, an emotional document of his or her lifeforce. You don’t need to be scared of emotion in a headshot. We’re not trying to make you look vulnerable, instead we want to bring out the expressions that cross your face when you feel the excitement and determination of passion.
An inexperienced headshot photographer risks making their subjects uncomfortable. Making an individual uncomfortable is not just bad business practice but viewers can see that discomfort in the resulting photo. Headshot photographers will find life experiences that trigger a subconscious responses from you resulting in an uncanny understanding from anyone looking at your portrait or headshot.