I have a lot of professionals, young and old, telling me they want a great picture that portray them as a professional. “But where do we go? Who can help us?” they ask. If I am listening correctly, it is a loaded question. It doesn’t feel quite for a director, VP or CEO to walk into a bridal studio for their professional headshot. Imagine walking pass rows and rows of white gowns and taking photos in a studio that’s purposed built for twenty-something love birds. The only other alternative is go somewhere where passports photos are taken. But have you seen how they are done these days?
Professionals don’t want a run-of-the-mill solution. The traditional options may not be the best fit to the needs of the professionals. They want to be served in a dignify and professional manner, and walking away with photographs that present them professionally. Photographing twenty-somethings and photographing corporate require vastly different approaches and people skills. Contemporary professionals do not want to be seen as arrogant, stuffy and boring. They crave the image of confident–not cocky–and approachable leader. I’ve been mauling for a solution and I think I might have found one.
I have been photographing headshots for a couple of months now. As the name suggest, a headshot is a picture of your face usually cropping off at the shoulders. A headshot focuses on you and your personality, not your body, outfits, timepieces, jewelries.
My rule for professional headshot is simple:
#1 No Double Chin
#2 Portray confidence
#3 Portray friendliness
“One chin per person” has always been our motto. I cringed seeing many of the photos used during the campaign of the General Election. The lighting was flat, the posing stiff, the expression tentative, and double & triple chins were for all to see. Is this the best way to present everyone?
I admit photographing people is very challenging. My subjects are fine when we chat, yet the moment I lift up my camera, they froze like deers staring at the headlights of an oncoming freight truck! They start to talking to themselves, “Am I looking stupid? Will my double chin show? Will he lose his patience like the other photographer did? Oh I hope my crooked teeth does not show.” Notice how badly we judge and beat up ourselves when we stand in front of a camera? Can we understand how much letting go of control to a stranger freaks people out?
So my job as a photographer is more than merely posing people, getting the lighting correct, but more importantly helping my subjects to forget they are in a shoot and coaxing them to consciously and unconsciously cede control so I can take great care of them and create amazing pictures for them. It is a complex and challenging job, one that I enjoy immensely and very good at.
Tomorrow, I am photographing professional headshots for FREE at PIHex. Anyone can walk into our photography set and get a free shot. I will spend 10-15 minutes with each person so you can experience what is like to be photographed professionally. Most of you do not have a better picture than the one I will create for you tomorrow, I am confident. Most importantly, you will walk away with spring in your feet and a kick ass photo for your FB page.
See you tomorrow:
PIHex, Sabah Trade Center (Likas)
Pls wear office/formal attire