Guest post by Amy Donovan, Photographer.
Recently while stopped at a traffic light, I noticed a huge sign for a man campaigning in the current local election. There were many, many election signs as it was along a main road at a busy intersection. It wasn’t the size of the sign that stood out to me though. It was the photo. Instead of a stiff and rigid typical headshot style photo, the image was more casual. Not shot with an iPhone in someone’s kitchen casual, but the kind of casual that made me feel as though I could in fact approach this man, tell him my concerns and feel as though he actually has my best interest at heart. He was standing amid the colorful fall leaves, not against a typical business type backdrop. He was wearing a grey knit sweater instead of a stuffy suit, he was smiling genuinely as though he was having a great time, not with a forced ‘picture’ smile. I don’t live in his district, but if I did, I am certain I would need to find out more about him and what he stands for.
No matter what your business or niche is, this is the kind of photo you need. You need photos that draw people in and makes them feel confident in you before they have ever heard your voice. A photo that makes people want to get to know you. How can you get these photos? Well, it’s not hard at all, let’s get started!
How do I know I will like the photographers work?
The very most important thing you can do when you are researching your photographer is to find someone whose style you like – and then make sure you are able to communicate with them. If possible, meet with them in person and show them examples of what you have in mind. Show them your branding and where you want to go with things. Don’t assume that they know exactly what the vision is in your head. If you want bright, airy, welcoming images, or if you want bold and punchy impactful images, the photographer must know. It can be helpful to show your photographer samples of what you have in mind, but keep in mind that asking to do exactly what you saw on Pinterest is limiting and challenging for both of you. If you have chosen the right photographer for the job, they will have ideas of their own that will wow you, if you have defined your vision to them.
Ok, so what do I actually need to ask for?
Excellent question! While you don’t want to micro manage every image that the photographer takes, it is helpful to them if you give them guidelines for what you need. If you are looking for lots of website images, those will be different than what you will want on your business card. Are you going to need to print these? Use them in print advertising? Social Media? Each of these formats will have different dimensions and need different amounts of cropping space. The easiest way for you to get what you need is to let your designer communicate directly with the photographer. If you are doing those things yourself, then make a list of exactly what you need the images for so you don’t find yourself wishing you had more wide images than vertical, and you know you have a variety of images to fit the spaces you need to fill.
Where on earth should I have the photos taken?
With your vision communicated to the photographer, it’s time to select the location that you would like to use for your photos. Don’t limit yourself to backdrops or studio set ups. Remember, our goal here is to draw potential clients in by creating intriguing images. If you have a well put together workspace that you love, then by all means, you have the ideal situation so have the photographer come to you. If you are like lots of Work From Homers, then your office might be a corner of the dining room table, a desk in your bedroom, or a room that doubles for crafting in the basement. It might even be your local coffee shop. Use your imagination. If, in your mind, someday you will work from a bright and well decorated modern space, then look for one. Check within your circle. Someone will know of a loft or a great urban feeling hotel room that could easily work for you. Keep in mind though, not all photos have to happen indoors. The most welcoming images I can think of are with cable knit sweat wearing people on a trail with a blurred background and a smiling relaxed face. Think of it, what looks more inviting than an image of someone in a coffee shop, mug at their side, laptop open, hard at work while the sunlight order cymbalta 60 mg online streams through a window. You don’t need to show your reality – you present yourself in the best way you have means to. Who knows, someday you might own that coffee shop, and live in that loft!
But I have nothing to wear!
You know what? You probably don’t. You may have a closet full to bursting with outfits you love (which are well loved and well worn) and outfits you loved but don’t wear (and there is always a reason why). If you are investing dollars into custom photography, invest some in yourself too in preparation for your shoot. Keep the color scheme you are working on in mind. What colors are in your branding? What colors go well with them? Go treat yourself. Pick out a complete outfit or two that you feel fresh and great in and then jazz it up with some accessories. Even if you couldn’t’ walk from your desk to the coffee pot in a pair of high heel shoes on the best of days and prefer to do business on the couch in ripped yoga pants, bring a pair of heels anyway. Something about wearing great shoes in photos screams confidence. And that’s exactly what you need.
Where do I put my hands?
Rest easy, you have chosen a professional photographer for a reason! They will tell you exactly where to stand to give you the best look in the photos. Photos are more about light than you realize so you can anticipate moving forward or backward and tweaking your head position quite a bit to make sure you get the absolute best angles. If you feel like you are doing the hockey pokey, then they are doing something right – fear not. Of course, it never hurts to bring a favourite coffee cup, your phone, iPad, a notebook, some stationary, and some work materials with you. Keep the colors in mind of course as you do want them to compliment your branding, but holding something is often a great thing to ‘do with your hands’ when the photographer has that look in mind.
What should I do with my hair?
Nothing. Don’t do a thing. Drive yourself to your hair stylist and ask them to handle things. Think of all of the times you have tried to make your hair perfect for anything and how worked up you were by the time you got it nearly right. There is always a curl with a mind of its own that won’t go in the right direction and you end up in a sweat trying to make it cooperate. Don’t, just don’t. Have someone else take care of this for you. Have someone else do your make up as well. A professional makeup artist isn’t nearly as expensive as you think, but someone with training will know exactly what to do to make you camera ready. You will end up flawless and feel confident when you look in the mirror, instead of full of anxiety because one of your eyebrows doesn’t look anything like the other and your eyeliner just doesn’t’ look right.
Ok, I think I am ready! Is there anything else I should know?
Prepare in advance, and then relax. Do not show up to your photo shoot with 17 outfits that you picked out at the mall the night before. Select 2-3 outfits, try them on, make sure they fit and you feel good in them. Things that are too big look as bad as things that are too small. And things that are too busy, well, they just look, busy. Choose classic pieces, iron them, put them as outfits on hangers with their accessories and then forget about it. Pack your office accessories in a box or basket you can carry easily and won’t forget. Get a good night’s sleep the night before your session, drink plenty of water and don’t fret about anything. If you feel relaxed and confident when you walk into your photo shoot, that’s the image you will convey in your photos. Your photographer will want you to connect with the camera and not just pose. If you know from the beginning that you look good, then you will feel confident. When you feel confident you will look your absolute best because you will see it in your smile and in your eyes. It is that confidence that you want your clients to see.
Amy Donovan is a quick witted and vertically challenged photographer who lives in Paradise, Newfoundland. She has been a full time professional photographer for 7 years and works throughout Canada. She shoots weddings and portraits but her first love is making woman realize how beautiful and special they are when they see her for Boudoir photos.
Amy enjoys traveling with her family, trying new foods and people watching – her best days involve all three. Follow her at AmyDonovanPhoto.com or on Facebook here.