What Makes A Good Headshot?
Many people ask me, “what goes into making a good headshot?” There are many aspects that make a good headshot and since I get many of the same concerns from my clients, I thought it would be good to post.
Whether you’re an actor, a businessperson or a first-time headshot client, who couldn't use a little advice on taking their best photos?
In order for you to be taken seriously as a professional, you need to present yourself in your best light (pun intended), and this is all tied together with your professional headshot. Will your potential clients take you seriously based on what your current photo portrays? If you have any doubt, then you may want to consider a pro. Professional photographers understand how to put you in your best light. here’s a quick list of what considerations you should give to your headshots:
It is never ok to…
Making the best first impression begins with you photo, after all, it is the first thing that potential employers see on your profile especially with the ubiquitous social media platforms of today. Think of it as an opportunity to sell yourself!
EXPRESSION There are only three ways a person can show facial expression.
A lot of times clients don’t even realize they are making certain expressions and the last thing I want is for people to feel pressure to come up with a flattering pose or to over think in front of the camera. As a photographer it is my responsibility to watch for, if not evoke, the right expressions from you.
Your eyes communicate the most. To gain the best image you must strive to put yourself in a positive upbeat place, feeling comfortable and confident. If you are worried about how the pictures are going to look – that’s what’s going to show up! It is our shared responsibility to make the experience fun and to get a great smile and genuine expression.
Let loose and enjoy the experience! Often times when I am shooting clients, I will get them to laugh only to have them immediately stifle their laughter. Don't do it! Go with it!
PICKING YOUR PHOTOS
If nothing else, have CONFIDENCE. Do what you have to do to be confident in yourself during your session it is the single most important factor to getting a great head shot.
Successful Senior Photography: Marketing to High School Seniors
I wouldn’t say that I have a specific “marketing strategy” for attracting Highschool seniors to my work. Instead, I listen to my clients and what it is they want, once I’ve figured out how to cater to each individuals needs and deliver exceptional values to them the rest is pretty automatic. My client’s word of mouth referrals are mostly how I market to this market.
The Customer Experience
1. FIRST IMPRESSION
The customer experience begins when a potential client visits my website. In essence this is the equivalent of them walking in the front door of my business. It is of course a virtual storefront so I take great care when designing the space since I can’t be there to greet them myself. I want my customers experience to be unique and memorable – it’s part of my brand – and when I can provide an outstanding experience from initial impression through image delivery, then I have succeeded in brand development and most importantly, exceptional customer service.
2. BE RESPONSIVE
When I get a lead from a perspective client I try to answer their initial query as soon as possible, and never let them wait more than 24-hours. Put yourself in their shoes and understand their needs, once you have done that it’s easy to respond appropriately. This is especially true of high school seniors, since they are a social bunch in every aspect of the phrase. They have embraced social media and are used to same-day responses.
3. MEETING IN PERSON
If a prospective client seems interested in working with me, I suggest that we meet in-person. I usually meet them at a coffee shop, tell them about my style of photography, and try to learn as much about them as I can. This is most important as it helps me provide a level of service that makes all of the difference. I ask about their style and their interests and what they’re looking for; I get to know them, give them a brochure of information about my senior sessions and show them some sample products.
4. OPEN COMMUNICATION
At the pre-session meeting, I let the client know that they can call, text, or e-mail me whenever they have questions or concerns. I tell them that they’re welcome to text me pictures of their outfits if they’re having a hard time making a decision or send me a link to a Pinterest board with ideas and inspiration for their pictures.
5. PERSONAL ATTENTION
During the photo shoot, I make sure my clients know that I am genuinely interested in them. I take their requests and concerns seriously, and I don’t insist on any poses or positions what so ever, we try a variety of things and build off of what works. I always have cold drinks to offer my clients during the shoot. Little things like that I think makes a big difference. We talk and laugh and have a good time. They end up feeling more like friends than clients.
6. FIRST CLASS SERVICE
At the end of their session, I give them a timeline for when they can expect their pictures to be processed and ready for viewing. I always over-estimate so that I am guaranteed to meet (or, better yet, exceed) their expectations. I do the same thing for their order; I over-estimate how long it will take for the order to come in, then I hand-deliver it to them (custom packaged to match my branding) on or before the day I said it would be ready. I also send a thank-you note with a small gift after I’ve delivered their prints & products.
My “Marketing Strategy”
High school seniors are very social savvy. If you don’t spend much time around them, you may be shocked by how often they engage in social media. It’s not uncommon for a student to tweet 10 or 20 times in a single day! Different social media outlets are more popular in different parts of the country/world, so it’s important to find out which one the teens in your area engage in most often.
If you’ve made an effort to give your client a top-notch customer experience, chances are you won’t have to invest very much (if any) money specifically towards marketing. Luckily, this makes marketing to seniors much easier than marketing to most other audiences. After you’ve given them a one-of-a-kind senior picture experience, they will tell, tweet, and text their friends all about it!
And you can make that even easier for them. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. are all free and easy, you just have to invest a little time in learning about them and then incorporate posts, tweets, status updates, pins, tags and hashtags into your daily routine. Post about your client – talk about how much fun you had with them and tag them in your post.
Allowing the post…what about the watermak?
It’s almost guaranteed that your senior clients will want to post pictures from their session on the Internet as soon as they’re able to. Keep in mind that if you don’t make this easy for them, they will find a way anyway. Since nobody wants low-resolution screen shots or cell phone pictures of their prints all over the Internet, I highly recommend embracing and not fighting your client’s desire to post their pictures and making it easy for them to do so. It’s free marketing! You can tell a client not to post the pictures on the Internet until you’re blue in the face but chances are you will just frustrate them and your pictures will end up there anyway. If you don’t want them to post un-watermarked pictures, then provide web-sized watermarked pictures for them. That doesn’t mean they won’t crop your watermark out. My advice is to just let it go. It’s not worth the battle and it’s not worth upsetting your client.
SophterLight Photography accepts seniors in the Fairfield County area, we have worked with students in the following high schools: Alternative Center For Excellence, Barlow High School, Bassick High School, Bethel High School, Brien Mcmahon High School, Briggs High School, Brookfield High School, Bullard-havens Technical High School, Bunnell High School, Central High School, Darien High School, Fairfield Ludlowe High School, Fairfield Warde High School, Garner Correctional Institute, Greenwich High School, Harding High School, Henry Abbott Technical High School, J. M. Wright Technical High School, Masuk High School, New Fairfield High School, Newtown High School, Norwalk High School, Ridgefield High School, Shelton High School, Stamford Academy, Stamford High School, Staples High School, Stratford High School, The Academy Of Information Technology, The Bridge Academy, Trumbull High School, Westhill High School, Weston High School, Wilton High School, , Brunswick School, Center Of Progressive Educatio, Christian Heritage School, Convent Of The Sacred Heart, Eagle Hill - Southport, Fairfield College Preparatory, Fairfield Country Day School, Giant Steps Connecticut, Greens Farms Academy, Greenwich Academy, Greenwich Country Day School, Immaculate High School, King & Low-heywood Thomas School, Kolbe Cathedral High School, New Canaan Country School, New Hope Christian Academy, Notre Dame Catholic High School, Oakbridge School Community Sol, Sacred Heart Academy Stamp, Seton Academy, St Catherine Academy, St Joseph High School, St Luke's School, St Vincent's Special Needs Ser, The Greenwich Japanese School, Trinity Catholic High School, University School, Wooster School, Yeshiva Bais Binyomin
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SophterLight Photography, LLC We shoot on location, in your home and also at our studios in CT and New York. We serve Connecticut (CT) , New Jersey (NJ), New York City (NYC). Locations in CT include Fairfield, Westport, Darien, Greenwich, Old Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverside, Stamford and New Canaan. In the Big Apple, NYC areas we cover: Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island, Tribeca, Soho, West Village, Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Central Park, South Hampton, West Hampton, and East Hampton. Some of her locations in NJ are Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Morristown, Summit, Alpine and Edgewater. We service clients throughout Bergen county, Passaic county, Westchester county, Fairfield county, Warren county, Monmouth County, Somerset County, Union County, Essex County, and Morris County.