Last year, our friend had a headshot shoot with us as part of our training to become an associate photographer of Peter Hurley. The headshot session lasted for around 15 to 30 minutes and in all this time we have been doing headshot photography, this is a pretty good time allotment to get a proper headshot done. Why is that? Here are some reasons why:
1. All technical aspects need to conform to the unique face of our client. We adjust the lighting and other technical aspects to suit the client's face and complexion. Imagine going to a make up artist who would apply the same colour hue to each face put forth in front of him or her. We adjust light settings to ensure it complements our client's strong features and take the attention away from the features he or she would rather not be noticed.
2. We look at all possible angles of the client. Believe it or not, there are angles that can make one look older and even bigger. We suss out all angles to see which look best for our client.
3. It takes time for the client to warm up in front of the camera. To be honest, perhaps the "best" can certainly be achieved within seconds. More often than not, the client who has the ability to do this has had some modelling experience. But most of our clients freeze (like we do) in front of the camera. We give everyone ample time to feel comfortable in front of the camera to get a natural yet confident expression.
4. Once we find the best angle, we find the best expression that fits our client's objectives. Finding the angle is one thing. Drawing out the appropriate expression is another. There is no cookie cutter approach to this process as every client will have different target audiences in mind and have different approaches to their facial expression. The key for us is to coach and direct our client and ultimately, find the expression that best connects to the audience of our client.
After going through a headshot session with us (this was done more than a year ago as of this writing), this was the best image that represented our friend. She is a smart and confident young professional. The lighting, the expression, the angle were all tailor-fitted for her face, complexion and profession. Hence, this is what she chose and is being used for her LinkedIn profile.
Now this same friend was recently informed by their office that their profile photos were to be taken on the same day of the announcement. She was quite gutted because she felt unprepared (hair, outfit, etc) and had she known, she would have referred us. Whether my friend and her work colleagues were informed that this was a headshot session or not, she did not say but this much she told us, it took the photographer only 23 seconds to complete her session and this was the best among the lot.
Notice the difference in expression, angle, facial colour, and posing. Time does make a big difference in getting the best headshot image that properly represents our clients.