I hear the same phrase from almost EVERY SINGLE CLIENT... they think it's just them. They think they are different from everyone else; but really - they are not alone in their thinking: "I am horrible at taking pictures".
It is really rare to get a client who loves getting their picture taken - and then loves every single picture. And this is with all of my clients, not just head shot clients. I hear clients telling me, "I am awkward in front the of camera." or "I don't have any good pictures of myself that I like."
First, let's be real, everyone has insecurities, even if you don't voice them to me right away, everyone has them. I have my own insecurities too - so I understand!! Second, don't beat yourself up about having insecurities - it doesn't help to dwell on it. If you feel better about being upfront about what you are nervous about, it can prove to be helpful as I'm shooting.
You would think that hearing these kinds of phrases and stories, would make me nervous and intimidated to work with new clients. But I have a secret weapon - I'm a ninja at making people feel comfortable around me.
I can talk to anyone and make them feel at ease.
Also, by proof below, you don't have to smile with showing your teeth, to have a great head shot photo:
By looking at these pictures, would you have known that they felt awkward in front of the camera? Probably not; their smiles are authentic and their eyes are sincere - just like a good head shot photo should be. What you don't see, is that I am talking... a lot - really the whole time; and we do a lot of laughing (at my stories... and the crazy things that seem to only happen to me). But I have found that by telling embarrassing stories about myself - makes me human to people that don't know me. I'm not just a stranger with a camera in my hand asking them to be authentic and approachable - I'm a friend goofing off with them.
So don't expect me to act stuffy and "business-like", I'm not. It's not in my nature to pretend to be anyone else than me. It's good to note that I'm not a traditional head shot photographer. I don't have a studio, but I have a lot of great places that we can go to show off the real you. I typically work with small business owners, so I do photos that are considered "modern head shots" - in an environment that speaks to your personality or to your business. I'm not a fan of backdrop head shots. (sigh), I can do them... but just like you show your best self when you're having fun, I show my best work, when I'm having fun too. And those aren't as fun for me. (Just being honest).
If you are ready for a REAL head shot experience that you'll actually enjoy - then first read through these FAQ, and then shoot me a line. I look forward to meeting you!!
Q: How much?
A: Heads shots start at $125
Q: How long is the session?
A: Sessions last from 30-45 minutes.
Q: Can I have a shorter session for less money?
A: No, like the blog above talks about, most people come to me nervous about getting a good head shot image, so in order to get a great photo that you'll be happy with - comes with spending a little bit of time with me.
Q: Do you have a studio?
A: No, I shoot on location only. But I have indoor and outdoor locations that I can tell you about.
Q: How do I pick my photos?
A: I will be showing you the back of my camera throughout the session, so you are choosing what you love and we are deleting what you don't like as we go. At the end of the time, I will review what we have left with you - and then edit those images and send you ALL of those photos.
Q: How much editing will you do to the photo?
A: I do quite a bit - more than you think I do: besides the basics lightening and color correcting; I will brighten your eyes and teeth (if they need it), I will remove facial blemishes, and and fly away hairs. If I think the angle makes you look bigger than you actually are, I may slim your face just a tad (not enough that it's noticeable when you look at it). If you want me to do something special, you need to ask. If it's labor intensive, there might be an extra fee.
Q: When can I expect these photos back?
A: I can usually turn head shots around pretty quickly - within a week. But it depends on my season. Fall is really really really busy. If you need a rush on them, then there will be a rush fee of $75 - and then it can be a 2 day turnaround. If you need a same turn-around, it's an extra $175.
I've been in business for almost 8 years, and I'd like to teach you how to make sure we get authentic smiles from your kids - without having to bribe them.
First, I'm going to say something that you may or may not agree with: Authentic smiles don't always have to show teeth. Actually, if we want to be real - smiles come from your eyes, not your mouth. You can see it in the two pictures above - the little boy
(1 years old) is highly amused with me; and the girl (about 10) is completely content and quietly confident. The smiles are present, but not as obvious... still, these pictures are showing a different side to their personality. They are real kids, showing their real personalities.
Second, they don't always have to be looking at the camera, for the picture to be a GREAT photo. Especially when siblings involved... when they are naturally interacting with each other - delighting in each other's presence - that can be more valuable than when they are perfectly posed (not looking natural at all).
My repeat clients know something that my new clients don't - so I'm going to let you in on a little secret. When it comes to working with kids, I become a big little kid - with a big personality. I have no shame about making the weirdest noises - I can alter my voice to sound like a 3 year old, sound like an alien spaceship, I can sing out of tune in a southern accent (and have a character to go along with most of the voices), I can meow like a cat... and so much more.
I make up the most random stories - about squirrel ninjas and transformers and faeries... and I don't care if the adults think I'm crazy... because I will capture the most authentic smiles and personalities from your tiny humans. I will do anything to get the real smiles and real personalities, even if it means making a fool of myself.
My sessions start very relaxed; and in the beginning, I let the kids be in charge - I make them my "art director". I tell stories, and play games... and I run a lot. Because when your kids are having fun... it will show up in the pictures.
Unfortunately, in writing this article, I realized that I'm guilty of trying to get my mom and my aunt (mom's sister) to smile on cue - even though they are adults, they don't naturally smile for pictures. And when we (my siblings and I) sternly tell them to "smile! No, smile for real" - it's just as hard for adults to smile genuinely as it is for kids. Instead, tell a funny story, tell a memory, sing a song or say something worth laughing at. In a future blog post, I'll share my top go-to strategies to get kids to smile AND look at me in photos.
So, if you are looking for everyone to be posed just so, with everyone looking in the same direction at the same time - with perfectly crafted smiles that will all happen on cue...in about 30-45 min. I'm sorry, but I'm not your photographer. For the parent that wants to stand behind me and constantly beg their kid(s) to smile a "real smile"... and do so by threatening to take away a promised treat for "behaving". I'm not your photographer. My sessions aren't like that; as you can see, I still get the photos that show off your kids and family - I just do it through play.
At the end of a session, my biggest compliment is from the kids - when I get an impromptu hug from the kids (if they are younger) then I know that I did a great job... More than just the photos, your kids will cherish the experience as much as you cherish the photos. That's the kind of photographer that I am.
I will take the time to make sure your kid(s) feel special and listened to. You won't have to bribe them to behave, nor will you have to ask them to smile... because they'll be having so much fun that we'll get their real smiles and their real personalities. And yes, I'll still get that awesome family photo. It may not be "perfect" but it will represent your family at this stage in your family's life. Meaning, why would we want kids to play a different part than who they really are - the imperfect pictures are how we best remember these fleeting life stages.
A girl with a camera, trying to be creative out loud. I keep my clients as friends; and believe in endless possibilities.