So You Need a New Headshot?
With just about everyone having an on-line presence these days, having a good photo for our social media sites is crucial. My best tip is to hire a professional photographer, but I understand that maybe that isn't an option for you at this time. Here are some suggestions for getting a good photo to use as your public face if you're taking it yourself.
Pay attention to framing, background, lighting. Declutter what's around you in the image. Use things beside or behind you to lead the viewer's eye to your best features. Or away from something you want to minimize.
Make sure it looks like you. If your image is heavily filtered, you run the risk of coming across as a fraud. Images that are glamorized have their place, but for everyday people, we should look ourselves.
This tip is an extension of #2 and for the ladies: Your makeup application for a headshot should be similar to how you apply it for everyday. You want to come across as yourself on your best day. If you typically wear nothing more than eyeshadow and lipstick, stick with that.
Remember that it's all about the eyes, the window to the soul. If you're looking directly into the lens the perception is that you have nothing to hide. You are approachable, trustworthy. To get a good phone camera photo, look at the lens, not your image on the screen.
Give careful consideration to clothing and props. Let your personality come out. Be authentic. If t-shirts and jeans are your everyday attire, consider choosing what you wear by color. Use colors that match the outcome you want:
- red = aggressive, energetic, provocative, attention-grabbing, passionate
- purple = royalty, sophistication, nostalgia, mystery, spirituality
- blue = trustworthy, dependable, secure, responsible, confident
- green = wealth, health, prestige, serenity, generosity, safety
- yellow = positivity, light, warmth, motivation, creativity, happiness
- orange = vitality, fun, playful, exuberant, outgoing
- black = prestige, value, timelessness, sophistication, power
- white = pure, noble, clean, soft
When choosing clothes, make sure they compliment your complexion and that you feel good wearing them. It will help you to feel at ease and be able to achieve authentic expressions.
These five tips are a good starting point. Begin to pay attention to profile photos that you are drawn to. Start making note of WHY you like them. And as soon as you can hire a pro.
Yesterday was a first for my studio. I always do in-person photo previews in the studio. Seeing the expressions on my clients' faces is always fun and rewarding. However, Isaac's mom is a nurse practitioner and was concerned about bringing in something that might put me or A at risk. So we used Zoom to teleconference so she could see the portraits and choose the ones she wanted as prints. It wasn't in person, but a nice alternative in this time of social distancing.
Isaac is about 6'4" tall so I was super thankful that my studio ceiling is 10' tall. Even so, I had to use a step stool to get some of these photos.
Positioning of the photographer is just as important as is posing of the subject. Sometimes I feel like a contortionist, especially when photographing babies and small children, and small pets. I'm not the least embarrassed to lie on the floor, climb to the top of a ladder, or any number of other weird scenarios. There's no shame in my game!
Red is Isaac's color for sure, don't you think?
After his photo session last week, we chatted for a bit. Isaac is a naturally funny guy. He showed me his back, which looked like he had been caned, and joked that his dad had beat him. I know his dad, so didn't believe it for a minute.
Turns out he had a scary wreck on his 4-wheeler. I grabbed my Essential Oils Desk Reference, handed it to his mom, and after just a few minutes of reading, she ordered her very own Premium Starter Kit and a bottle of Helichrysum. She's one smart momma!
Is it time for you to jump on the Natural Health Movement?
This senior portrait session is probably my favorite of all time! Look at this antique car! Kudos to Ethan's momma for having the vision and finding the perfect outfit.
Ethan is the first martial arts practicioner I've photographed and what a fun experience it was! At the time of this photo, he was a 7th Kyu Green Belt in Shotokan Karate. Now he is a 6th Kyu Blue Belt. And he does jujitsu! (That's all greek to me!)
Ethan is a super smart, fun, self-motivated, and respectful young man. Better yet, he knows he is secure in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. His mom shared that Joshua 1:9 is one of his favorite verses:
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
This time of schools being closed, possibly till the end of the year, has to be super stressful on everyone, but especially seniors. Lots of uncertainty about ACT, SAT, visits to college campuses, and all the other things usually done at this time of year. Just one more thing to pray about. And know that Ethan's verse and so many others in the Bible are true and trustworthy.
I think of photography as painting with light. When I taught art I probably said "It takes light to bring out dark" a million times! In photography, light is the key to everything else.
So how do we control light when we're outside? Ah... So many answers, all of them right. But let's just look at some basic rules. (And I also said a million times in my classroom "It's okay to break an art (principle) rule as long as you understand the rule, but are choosing to break it for creativity's sake."
Exposure Triangle. When we take a photo, the camera opens its shutter, lets in light through the lens, the light hits the camera sensor, and the image is captured. We have three ways to control that image.
- Aperture — The hole that opens and closes. We control the size of the aperture (lens opening) by choosing a wide open setting such as f/2, or a very small opening like f/11 or higher. It is a bit confusing. Higher f-stops are smaller, letting less light in. Smaller f-stops open the aperture wider, letting more light in. Another cool thing about aperture size is how it affects depth of field. Love the look of blurry backgrounds (bokeh)? We get that look by choosing a wide open aperture. Good lenses let you go down to f/1.4 or so, but you can get good bokeh with f/4 or higher too.
- Shutter Speed — It's just what it sounds like: how long the shutter stays open. It is usually stated in the form of 1/200 sec, 1/60 sec, 1/500 sec, etc. Shutter speed makes sense: slower speeds let more light in: 1/60 is slower, stays open longer, so it lets in more light than 1/1000. NOTE - It's a good idea to find out how steady you are. My limit is 1/125. Anyhing longer than that and my handheld camera images are blurry. That's why I use a tripod. Another cool thing you control with shutter is action: you can freeze motion with a fast speed, or capture motion blur with a slow speed.
- ISO — When you set aperture and shutter for the shot you want to capture, ISO is the third piece of the puzzle. Simply stated, ISO determines how sensitive to light your camera sensor is: 100 ISO is standard. Remember 400 or 800 ISO film? Not old enough? It's okay. Higher ISOs in the digital age do the same thing: let you take photos in darker situations. But like in the days of film, as ISO goes up, we introduce noise or “grain”. It will appear as tiny spots in the final image. But that is manageable in post-production. To a point.
Before we move on to anything else, this lesson is foundational. Get your camera out and start playing with it. Be bold.
When you have a photo you're proud of, please post it to your Facebook or Instagram and tag me: @pbhensley on both. Use the hastag #learnphotography if you want to join a pretty cool community of artists.
Come see our products
Canvas Gallery Wrap Wall Portraits - Turn your images into museum-quality displays with our canvas Gallery Wraps. Archival inks and heavyweight canvas ensure quality and longevity. Your image is printed directly to the canvas and sleekly wrapped around a thick wooden frame. With staple-free sides, tightly tucked corners, and metal hangers and bumpers attached to the back, your Gallery Wrap arrives ready to hang. A satin coating provides UV protection and prevents scratches due to normal handling.
Framed Wall Portraits - Choose from our assortment of frame corners. We have something to match every decor. Framed prints are finished with a black archival backing and hanging hardware already installed. You'll smile each time you walk by your images!
Metal Wall Portraits - Your images are permanently infused to specially prepared metal to ensure long lasting quality. Many sizes and shapes to choose from, including split images (metal murals). Metal portraits are ready to hang when you receive them. Choose from float blocks or holes in the corners. See both in the studio so you will know exactly what each looks like.
Albums and Art Books - Keep your beloved images on your coffe table... if you can. Everyone will want it in their hands so that they can enjoy it again and again.
Handmade Book Boxes - an exquisite way to present and store albums, books, prints. (Or a place to hide your favorite trinkets.) Wrap your box with your favorite image or choose a solid color fabric. The interior lining can be your choice of black or white with a matching pull-ribbon inside for easy access to the book. These boxes are a beautiful keepsake to be treasured for years to come.
Come See Where We Create Our Emotional Expressive Portraits
When you come see our space, we will set your mind at ease and make the process fun and stress-free.
We'll talk about what kind of portraits you want.
We'll discuss where you will display them.
We'll help you create your own customized package of products.
Our consultations, along with our expert photographic skill and attention to detail guarantee that we will create portraits that you will love. We really guarantee that if you don't LOVE them, you don't pay for them. We will re-shoot or refund, whichever you think is right for you.
Call to Schedule a Time to Drop in and Chat
You will love your portraits or we will refund ALL your money.