Last December, Michelle convinced me to sit up and pay attention to LinkedIn. She had saw something I posted on this blog, that a mutual friend liked on LinkedIn and contacted me for new headshots. It seemed every second day I was getting notifications that I was being added as a connection on LinkedIn. Up to then, for a great many of us, it was a dry, sleepy network that require little of my attention, maybe logging in once month to see what was going on. But Michelle’s reaching out to me confirm what I was suspecting, the network was gaining traction, with a greater number of business people joining it as a great way to network in the business world.
Michelle was in transition between jobs and was looking to present the best version of herself to potential employers. With LinkedIn quickly becoming the online equivalent to a resume, a good quality headshot isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity. She was instructed by requiters that a good image in her profile was essential to the success of the process. That’s where I come in!
Through our discussions leading up to the shoot we talked about what wardrobe might be suitable. I also made arrangements for hair and makeup. Some might think hair and makeup for a business headshot is extravagance but it’s that little something that really makes a great portrait. Not only to do they do the work before these hoot, they can pay attention to all the little details while the subject and I work on expression. I work with some of the best hair and makeup people in Winnipeg, who not only do great work, but also have that natural ability to start the process of relaxing the subject.
The biggest factor in the success of a headshot is the subject relaxing and embracing the process. Being photographed in a studio in this way is, surprisingly, not something people search out for fun! I would say the vast majority of my subjects tell me on the way to the set “I gotta warn you I am NOT very photogenic!” Fortunately I don’t believe anyone is NOT photogenic. In the same way I believe everyone has a story to tell, I feel they deserve to have a photo of themselves that reflects who they are. I love these images of Michelle, I think they capture her warmth, her fun attitude and sense of humour while maintaining that professional look.
Awhile back, while working on some head shots, Lois Brothers of Children’s Acting Centre and I were brainstorming and came up with this cool idea. Wouldn’t it be fun for her students to come up with ideas for an imaginary movie, develop characters for it and then come to the studio and shoot photos for the poster of that movie? I knew I had to do this, it sounded like so much fun!
So one evening all her students came through the studio and we shots a ton of photos to be used for the posters. The students were all so prepared, they had developed their characters, sourced the prosp and even thought of poses! This process in itself was so rewarding to me, I love working with kids and seeing their eyes light up when they see themselves on the monitor, looking cool, or edgy or silly. With adults I encounter so much resistance to my camera its just so nice to work with people who embrace the process and have fun!
After the shoot came the hard part, piecing it all together. As hard as it was, it was kinda fun to play Photoshop, researching for fonts, learning about the conventions for credit blocks, on and on. The posters finally all came together and I think they look pretty cool!
Michael’s transitioning to the next phase in his career path (read: he is looking for work) and part of the new reality of the job search is to present a well filled out and professional looking presence on social media. That means you’re presenting an image of yourself that isn’t taken arms length with your smart phone, or cropped of that shot of you and you wife when you were dressed up for that wedding last summer. I’m always surprised how many professionals online resort to using inferior images of themselves. Kudos to Michael for seeing the value in proper images for his search and good luck!
A couple Links:
10 places for your headshot