Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.
Most professionals know it’s a good idea to get a new professional headshot when applying for a new job, switching careers, seeking a promotion, booking an appearance or engagement, and other reasons. It should be a relatively simple and easy process, though what are the main purposes of your headshot? This is where execution is important, and a cell phone snap won’t do the trick. Here are the criteria for what exactly what your headshot should accomplish / convey.
Friendliness / approachability-
If the headshot is correctly composed, the face is the main focal point, so expression counts. It should not be overly animated, unless for an entertainer perhaps, but I’m speaking mainly about business headshots. Looking friendly and approachable is important, and eyes having good engagement with the audience. No one will have success with a photograph that ha an expression like they swallowed a holly bush.
Especially for young professionals, showing confidence without looking smug will stand out better to employers, freelance or independent. Posture, body language, and expression are all key players here.
Always be well groomed and dress the part. Coordinating setting or background is an important task for the headshot photographer to make sure all is coordinated properly. (That is why I went with a gray background for the fellow in the white shirt.)
The fact that you went the extra mile and bothered to invest in a professional headshot shows you’re serious, and invested in the process. It shows a level of care and responsibility. All positive things in the workforce, for the employee or entrepreneur.
I love it when visiting couples want to commemorate their time here in Nashville and choose me for their photography needs. In the event of Nick and Samantha arriving to Nashville, Nick wanted to surprise his lady with a proposal and have me document the milestone moment. This time, I received a kind referral from a professional photographer local to the couple, Justin Falk. I appreciate the trust he placed in me to provide for his clients for this special occasion. Their trip to Nashville was rather impromptu, for this reason, and to adopt a puppy not far from this area. Now, the picture is complete, as they are now an engaged couple! Now, we can enjoy a sweet summer evening proposal in Downtown Nashville.
Their location of choice, upon me providing several options with different vibes, was the pedestrian bridge overlooking the downtown skyline. Nick and Samantha met in an adult kickball league, which is a fun interactive activity! That seems much more spontaneous and interesting than a forced sit down date, and it obviously worked for them! Congratulations guys on a successful proposal and engagement, and best with your future and new furbaby!
As my studio is back up and running and I’m reemerging in the market for Nashville corporate headshots, I had the recent pleasure of doing some business headshots for the Nashville office of Gulf State Engineering.
My entire setup including portable high-key background and studio lighting is portable, though it requires an open space with ample ceiling height to operate on-site. I set up at their Nashville office to do the first few employees, mostly recent hires. As others became available to get their headshots done, they came to my studio for a brief session. I then completed the finishing and uploading to the client gallery and they were ready to go the next day. Easy and efficient, as it should be. Not everyone wants to get their photos taken, so that’s why I like to keep it fun and light, and as brief as possible. It’s an easy experience for them and it enables me to provide the end product in short order. In the end, everyone gets the end product they need. If you need a new headshot for a new job, applying for a new job or career, or any other reason, let’s talk. firstname.lastname@example.org
Many people have asked me the question “how often to update your headshot?” I have some thoughts on that, and in many cases the answer depends. I recall one client asking me to find his headshots, as he lost the files. I asked him how long ago. Wait for it. Four years ago! Buddy, at that point, you need a new one. Even if you don’t look much different. having a different shirt or different colors in the headshot can attract the attention of your audience. I make it a quick and painless process to get a new headshot. Nothing to be afraid of. 🙂
-When your look or hairstyle changes
For obvious reasons, this is an important time to update your headshot. It creates a full disclosure, and helps your audience recognize you.
-When your job or career changes
Here’s to new beginnings. Why would you want to use a headshot from your past life or identity when embarking on a new journey? Besides, the overall vibe may need to change, to better suit your new opportunity. For example, maybe add a jacket or tie, subtract the formalities and go with casual dress, or switch between an outdoor or studio look for your headshot. All based on your needs.
-Under normal circumstances-
Under normal circumstances where your looks don’t change drastically from one month to the next, or your career is stable, less frequent updating is fine. I think every two years or so is perfectly acceptable. Changes can be subtle. Maybe a different blouse, etc. Or a red tie instead of a blue one, or vice versa, or different shirt. There’s no need to do it too often, but in that timeframe, a change can be a breath of fresh air and avoid complacency,
The important aspects of operating a creative business (and even more generally speaking) is being good at your craft, passionate about it, and providing your customers with a product of value. Not to mention being good at running the business; keeping things efficient and organized. There’s also a soul that is unique to your business, and that’s you. Your personality, skill set, products, and values are just a few things that make up that soul. That soul is what your business stands for, and what you stand for. Some take this farther than others, but here’s my take on it. Does this mean that all my clients need to agree with me on worldly or personal issues? Of course not. Joe or Martha come to the studio for a headshot, and we enjoy a little friendly banter, and I provide them with what they need. I have no reason to know their political or religious views, and vice versa (even though I hate both of those).
For wedding clients, we connect on a deeper level. We all have to qualify each other; especially with photography style, approach, and personalities. It doesn’t take long for someone viewing my website to see that I’m passionate about serving the LGBTQ community and people of all ethnicities. What you put out there is out there forever, so it pays to make your choice and stick with it. It’s been ten years (before the marriage equality act) that I was approached by a same=sex couple about photographing their wedding. They had to make it official in Massachusetts and have their event here for friends and family. That struck a chord with me. They were very kind and appreciative, and made sure I was comfortable with it. Working with them was one of the best decisions I ever made, on a personal and business level. No one should have to go through that to marry who they love.
I also remember a decade ago, attending a local networking event and talking to a prominent fellow photographer. He wasn’t against me doing LGBT weddings, but advised me that there could be backlash that affected my business for putting it out there, perhaps unnecessarily to some. It didn’t take me long to realize it was worth that risk. After all, if I am welcoming LGBT clients, they have to find me somehow and know they’re safe here. This many years later, at a slightly different point in my photography career, this only generated support for my business. I only got pushback from one religious father of a potential bride, and I called him on his bigotry, we then parted company. Despite this support, could it have deterred others from contacting me? Maybe a few. But I’m ok without them. Ultimately, you have to decide what your business stands for and how you incorporate it into your brand. Is there such a thing as being too opinionated and loud? Yes. But don’t assume you have to be silent either. You decide how to use your voice.