How is a Headshot like a sports car?
A guy walks up to the concierge at his hotel and announces “I need transportation!”
The concierge starts asking questions: “Where are you going? How quickly do you need to arrive? Do you have a budget? Would you prefer the scenic way?”
He responds “I just know that I need transportation! I don’t want to spend a lot. You’re the professional, can’t you just make the arrangements?”
Clearly the concierge is left without enough information. Should he rent a bike for the man to tour the historic neighborhood of the hotel? Or make plane reservations for him to jet off to a business meeting in another country? Would renting a car suffice? Would he prefer an economy car for his budget or a luxury car to impress clients? Maybe a train reservation would allow him to work or see the sights along the way. There are a lot of differences between a scooter and a sports car, but they both count as “transportation”.
We get lots of calls from people who “Need a headshot” or “Need a portrait.” But like the concierge, we need to ask some questions to understand what that means for each person.
“Where are you going?”
We want to know what you are planning to do with these images. If you are starting a profile on a new on-line dating site, you probably want your image to show you as fun, approachable, and sexy. But that might not be the same image you would pick to give your mother as a Christmas gift. If you are applying for an internship with an investment firm, you probably want to look business-like and responsible not care-free and creative. But if you need a headshot to go with an application to be an artist-in-residence, “business-like” is probably not that helpful.
“How quickly do you need to arrive?”
In a literal, time-sense, if you are in a hurry, we need to know. Waiting for the perfect weather to do an outdoor session is a waste if the internship application deadline is in two days. But an architect might want an executive portrait in front of her masterpiece. Then the right weather and natural light will make all the difference.
Less literally, and more in keeping with the sense of the analogy, we want to know how flexible your requirements are. If you have very specific needs like a headshot on a white background for the company website, we will do that. But often the need is for an image that can help you sell yourself, to support your brand. Getting to that ideal may be a little more round-about. We will spend some time talking and brainstorming with you to plan a headshot session designed for your goals. We can use location or backdrop to set a mood or illustrate an accomplishment. Then during the session, you will be able to review images as we go to fine tune the plan. Sometimes a slightly meandering route gets you to an even better place than a direct one.
“Do you have a budget?”
Of course you do. Nobody wants to spend more than they have to. But if you have called us, you already decided that a professional photographer has a valuable skill that makes his photos different from your selfie. By the same token, you may only need our most basic headshot package. We created that package to suit most people that need a couple straightforward headshots to meet a few needs. However, if you are an actor, you need a professional portfolio of images to show a wide variety of styles and emotions. Skimping on the cost of a more involved portrait package could mean losing out on an audition.
“Would you prefer the scenic way?”
Even if you only need a basic headshot, we want to have some fun with you. We will get you where you need to go (the headshot HR is requiring for the website), but we’d like to take a little time to get creative. To try different poses, maybe mix up the lighting, play around in post-production. Some of our favorite portraits were not the ones the client bought, but the ones that we all had some fun with. Then you can turn a suitably professional headshot image in to your HR department and keep the funky image that captures your goofy sense of humor or your flair for the dramatic.