Let’s face it, picking the right photographer for a headshot can be an ordeal.There are as many interpretations of what a ‘headshot’ is as there are grains of sand in the desert (not true, but you get my gist).
So where do you begin?
Begin at the End
What? Madness? Surely you’ve been on the egg-nog a little early this year! Ah, but no. Hear me out.
The end product of a headshot session is the headshot itself. The pose, the expression, the lighting, the clothes, the post-production editing – it all comes together for the final deliverable – the headshot image. That’s where you started this journey, that’s what you need and that’s what you get.
So, check their portfolios – have a look at what they deliver. Do they deliver headshots that match your vision? If they produce super-plasticky images then that’s likely what you’ll get – some people want that, others do not. Some shoot outdoors, so if you want brickwork or greenery or a building, then they might be the right choice for you. So, begin at the end, see what they deliver, the end-product, and ask yourself if you’d be happy with what they deliver. If not, move on.
If the shoe fits…
Let’s assume that you like their portfolio. We’re off to a good start. Chances are we’re going to get an image that we’re happy with. Surely that’s the end of our research.
Put it this way, imagine you’re going to get your haircut. Now hairdresser #1 slaps you face around, cuts it, doesn’t talk to you but gets the job done. Hairdresser #2 talks to you throughout the process, gently moves your head into position and gets the job done. So, end result the same, experience totally different.
So look for details about the actual process. Don’t be fooled by people telling you how much money they spent on equipment – it doesn’t matter. Great portrait photography has been going on for decades, with equipment that today sits in a landfill or collecting dust on a shelf. Great photography has nothing to do with equipment.
Look for reviews – are there any common elements. How do people describe the experience? Are people rushed? do they feel comfortable? were they treated with respect and courtesy? If you were running a business, how would you treat your clients? How do you want to be treated?
For everyone there may be other factors. Time for example. Some people want to be in/out quickly. Some people look for the commute to/from and I’m a big fan of supporting local businesses. For others, price might be a significant factor. But just remember, if the price is cheaper than the competiton but the end product isn’t what you want, then will you really be happy looking at it everyday on your LinkedIn profile? Will you cringe if it’s on your business card and hand it a prospect? If it costs less but you hated the experience, was it worth it?
I hope this article helps you understand some of the factors in choosing a professional headshot photographer/studio. If I can be of any further assistance – no marketing – just ask away – contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org