Why Hire A Headshot Photographer
Why hire a headshot photographer? The reasons are simple, you hire a professional because they do a better job than you can do yourself. There are some jobs that you might think that you can do yourself but you should put down the camera and hire a professional to photograph your company headshots.
Photography is somewhat subjective but there is still a sliding scale that positions photography within a range of good and bad. Pick up a copy of Vogue, have a look at the advertising and you’re looking at the ‘good’ end of the spectrum. The opposite end of the spectrum, the bad end is somebody taking a picture with a phone. Everything else exists between the two positions.
If you are planning to use headshots on your website then you’re using them as part of your marketing strategy. You’re using the headshots to sell and much like the Prada ads in Vogue, if you want to strike the right tone with your customer then you need to hire a professional.
Let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be using the same international photographers used to photographing the likes of Naomi Campbell or Brad Pitt but it is worth finding a professional headshot photographer rather than letting the office intern run riot with their Instagram skills. The reality is that Steve from accounts is no Brad Pitt so you’re going to need someone that can make him look his best.
You will need to shop around to find the right professional photographer. Find a photographer that can produce images to match your brief. Have a look at his or her work and make sure that it fits with your brand or corporate values. Shop around for the right photographer – a good one will take pictures that stand out. Whereas the pictures that you take yourself will stand out like a sore thumb.
Here are six reasons that you should use a professional headshot photographer.
A professional photographer will help coach people through the process. People don’t enjoy having a headshot taken. It can be an awkward experience for anybody that isn’t used to posing for pictures but a photographer will help. A little gentle coaching to position people to look their best. That doesn’t mean the photographer will ask you to fold your arms and hold a slight sideways pose – that’s a bit old hat now. Instead they will subtly position you into a flattering pose. He or she will put people at ease to help them feel more relaxed.
The basis for all good photography is lighting. Forget the camera that you use, the first thing to do is to get the lighting right. After all the word photography derives from ancient greek; phōtos meaning light and graphé translate as drawing – drawing with light. This doesn’t mean that a photographer needs to bring masses of studio lights and flashes. Instead, an understanding of how lighting works and how to manipulate it for the benefit of the photograph will do just fine.
Most office lighting is designed to help people see what they’re working on. Great for typing on a computer but not great lighting for a headshot. This is where the photographer’s expertise comes into play.
A headshot is exactly that, a shot of your head and shoulders. Nobody cares about the office background. One of the common mistakes that people make is taking a picture that includes more of the background than the person being photographed. There are other nuances that include the positioning of the person within the frame. Where a person’s eyes should be in relation to the top and bottom, left and right of the picture that also need to be considered. The devil is indeed in the detail and it’s details like this that a professional will help with.
A professional photographer will have years of experience and will be able to understand your brand guidelines and translate them into a style that works for you. Helping you with everything from the background to the clothes that your people wear in the photographs and the overall look of the photograph.
Once you’ve got the lighting right, you’ve correctly framed the picture and put your subject at ease, it’s time to start shooting but that’s only half of the job. After the picture has been taken, it’s time to start editing. No I don’t mean applying a filter, I mean editing.
The editing will create the beautiful imagery that will impress and build trust with your customers. It’s the final element to make your headshots look professional. Of course the edit can remove some of the unsightly elements of the photograph by getting rid of spots and blemishes but editing will also go further, creating a more flattering look by working on skin tones, and making the image pop.
A well edited picture presents quality. It will make the headshot stand out and help the people being photographed look great. Good editing will present your brand as a serious business that doesn’t cut corners.
There are more important things that a photographer will bring as mentioned above. Experience, creativity and skill all come before the equipment, however, you’ll still need more than the interns entry level DSLR. Lighting, backgrounds, the editing software are just some of the things that a professional headshot photographer will provide. And the reality is that it’s cheaper to pay a photographer than it is to hire or buy the equipment. So when you include the knowledge that comes with your photographer you’ve probably got a pretty good deal.
In summary, if you’re thinking of updating your headshots then you should employ a professional to take the pictures, otherwise you should forget about it. No headshot is better than a bad headshot.
Lizzie Tschornow is a Photographer for Photoheads, a London-based company specialising in commercial, events, editorial and product photography with a proven track record of successful shoots and satisfied clients.