By Emeka Ikechi, Director, Vanity Studios
Is it time for you to have a new headshot or other images taken for your business website, social media and marketing materials? If so it will be good to plan ahead and consider booking a professional photoshoot.
When you invest in a photoshoot what do you need to consider so that you get what your business needs?
Be clear on your goals
Are you looking for a slick, professional headshot for your business, for example? If so, think about where you will be using it; on your LinkedIn profile, your company website, printed marketing materials. Then decide what you want these pictures to say about you. If you are a Financial Director, you may want to look serious and responsible. If you run a creative consultancy, you may prefer your look to be more arty.
If you have a particular look or looks in mind, bring a photo from a magazine to illustrate it so the studio can get it right.
What we don’t recommend is practising! The point of going to a professional studio is that they have the experience to help you get the look you want and if you are too stiff with a practised pose, you are unlikely to get the best from the process.
Decide what to wear
Pick a selection of clothes that will help you achieve that look you want. We recommend bringing several changes of clothes and ones you can mix and match to create different looks. Four “looks” is a good number to work towards.
For work / business shots, we still recommend you change tops to give variety and allow for more formal or casual looks depending on where the shot is being used.
On a practical level, with head shots particularly, try not to wear anything that is too similar to your skin tone, as you are in danger of blending into your outfit and, conversely, don’t wear anything too patterned as it’s distracting.
Ensure you have plenty of accessories to match your outfits. Some understated jewellery for the business shot maybe, but big, bold earrings if you want some fun shots as well. And that’s not just for the ladies, chaps, bring your most outrageous retro trainers if you want to or a statement hat.
Consider using props
These are slightly less useful for the corporate-style shots, although if you have a hero product that might work in a shot or two, it’s worth considering. Of course, if your product is something you wear or use that makes it easier to fit into your pictures but do remember to have some shots that are just you, with no promotion. There will be occasions when you want to use a headshot where you don’t look too salesy.
As you can imagine props work really well with family shoots, particularly if you share a common interest; books if you all enjoy reading, for example.
Should you wear your glasses?
Glasses are far less of an issue than people tend to assume so, if you are a wearer of glasses, do bring them along. Glare is seldom an issue – remember these are professional photographers who know how to get the angle and lighting right.
For some people, glasses are very much part of their identity and others may need them but prefer how they look without, so it’s very much a personal choice. What we tend to do is take poses both with and without glasses and when the shoot is over you can choose which pictures you prefer.
Hair and makeup
Firstly, make sure you check with the studio whether or not hair and makeup is part of the package. I would highly recommend that you choose a studio that includes this. And if they don’t include hair and makeup, ask them for guidance as to how you should prepare before you arrive.
Where these are part of the package, we advise arriving with clean hair that has no styling products in and no makeup. That way the stylists can start with a blank canvas and create the look you want. We do suggest you have makeup applied for the shoot, as the lighting is pretty strong, so you could look washed out without any. However, you can choose to look very natural or have heavy makeup or anything in between.
Men should also arrive with clean, non-styled hair and, for the shoot, we do suggest at least having some powder applied because of the lighting and to mask blemishes. It is completely optional and the makeup artists will work with you to ensure you get the look you really want.
Selecting the final images
The photographer will take a lot – and I mean a lot – of pictures. So, at the end of the shoot, there will be an enormous number of images to choose from. Generally, studios will have a “viewer”; someone specifically assigned to go through the shots with you and help you choose the right ones. Remember what it is was you wanted in the first place and be sure you have those shots ordered – it’s crucial you leave with what you wanted in the first place. You may also find there are other shots that you really love and these are a real bonus from your experience.
Relax and enjoy the shoot
I can’t stress this enough, that your photoshoot should be fun! We have a lot of clients who are very nervous when they arrive, often they hate having their photo taken. The preconception is often that you will feel awkward but if you choose the right studio, it will surprisingly different.
We offer Prosecco on arrival and the whole process is very comfortable. Good studios will have great makeup artists and hair stylists so you can relax while they work. Highly experienced photographers are highly experienced will advise you on where to stand, how to sit, which angle to put your head at, where to look, etc. There’s lots of chat and direction and we find that even those who are not used to taking instruction enjoy being guided by the professionals.
Think about your goals and what you want to achieve from the photoshoot. Then choose a good studio and enjoy the process of creating the images you need for your business with your photographer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emeka Ikechi is Director of Vanity Studios, a contemporary studio for photoshoots in the centre of Shoreditch in London. Since 2009 Vanity Studios has been providing clients with high quality professional photos and an excellent photoshoot experience. The team of photographers and make-up artists ensure each client receives bespoke photography that meets their requirements.