Never say “Cheeeese”

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to take a photo. However, on many occasions when handing a camera to someone to snap a photo of me and the family, I get this puzzled look like “What is this strange contraption?” Or “What do I press?” Not to be sarcastic, IT’S ALWAYS THE BIG BUTTON! Sorry just had to get that off my chest.

The purpose of this article is to talk about what makes some profile photos spectacular and others not so spectacular.

What makes the right shot?

Some folks say it’s all about the equipment. With an expensive camera that has tons of megapixels and the right lighting setup, you can produce a great photograph, right? I agree that with the right “tools” you can accomplish a number of things..but I beg to differ on this subject. I mean, today’s mobile phones most likely has the potential to be a pretty great resource to capture some stellar photography. So I don’t want to focus too much on the equipment which  takes us back to my question – what makes the right shot? Let me ask you something, what makes a Picasso, a Picasso? The paintbrush or the painter?

I believe the secret to great photography is the human eye and the direction of the photographer.

So, let’s talk about headshots for a moment. Headshots are something we do, so I feel comfortable talking about them. Headshots serve a purpose. They should capture the “true being” of that particular Human Being. When I see headshots (or professional profile pics) especially on LinkedIn, they are very flat (no dimension) and most of the time, they don’t feel natural.  A good photographer discovers the right angle and expression of the subject that mirrors who they really are at their best. Peter Hurley, a well sought after headshot photographer charges $1100.00 for a headshot. “Wow!” you might say. “That sounds like a lot of money.” But he knows that one great headshot can help get people the work that they want. He had an aspiring actress get six call backs in one week! I’d say that’s worth $1100.

Obviously headshots are only one area of photography, but anytime you’re dealing with people you have to be good at directing them. For me, I feel that being good at conversation is key. Getting folks to relax and to just be themselves makes for THE BEST photos. It could be a laugh, a surprised look, a questionable look, the slightest smirk, or even the right crop that turns someone’s photo into a spectacular photo which could lead them to the job of their dreams.

Remember a majority of what you are paying for is the artistry of the photographer. Here’s 5 quick suggestions when hiring a photographer:

1. Check References – Word of mouth is just as important when you are hiring for business as it is when you’re trying to get business.

2. Compare Portfolios – Look around at different work and don’t just get set on one person.

3. Match Your Photographer’s Expertise with Your Product – Remember some are experts at food, some headshots, and others could specialize in fashion or commercial.

4. Don’t just look at price – You may spend more by trying to save money and going with an amateur.

5. Work with someone flexible – Sometimes things don’t work out as planned so you need a photographer that can be creative and think on the fly!

Now you’re ready for your polished, profile photo! And remember whatever you do never say “Cheeeese…”