Category Archives: headshot

Outdoor, Open-Air Profile Portrait Photographs

Outdoor Open-Air Profile Portraits the Benefits of Getting Out

A greater awareness of space might be one of the lasting legacies of the COVID crisis. Not the ‘space’ which Captain Kirk urged us to boldly got to, I mean the space around us, open air and light, the breeze in your air and sun on your face. Not just the first, crucial two metres.

After being stuck indoors for all that time, anything and anyone outdoors can look more appealing. So a profile picture shot in the open air is almost sure to have a positive, open feel. In a park, the countryside or the garden there’s an association with nature, growth, development, the environment and sustainability. In the town or city, the tone is cutting-edge, cosmopolitan, modern, youthful, fashion-conscious or gritty.

Outdoor, open-air profile portrait photographs are just more interesting than those taken in a studio. (Believe me, I’ve taken plenty of dull studio portraits!) But shooting in a studio with flash has one big advantage – control. You can guarantee the subject will be getting a good profile portrait photograph after the session, and the photographer can know before the session starts what the picture will look like. That can not be true of a photo session in the open air, there are too many variables.

So how can we reduce the risks implicit in booking an outdoor profile portrait photography session? Forethought is the answer, thinking it through, discussing and agreeing on the options, depending on the conditions and locations found on the day.

Weather

With the best will in the world, you can’t shoot in the rain, snow or wind. If the forecast looks bad, postpone in good time to a later date.

Light

Daylight can give lovely, flattering soft light. Sunshine give harsh deep shadows and a squint.

Background

Whether it’s a natural or urban background, it should be thrown out of focus to avoid being a distraction. It can also give depth to the image or provide a frame around the subject

Other people

A busy location reduces control and predictability, passers-by might make the subject uncomfortable or clutter the background.

Time of day

The light changes as the sun moves across the sky affecting its nature and direction. The number of people and the amount of traffic will vary according to time of day.


Headshot Photography

What Colour Should I Wear for a Photo Shoot?

It’s not just the colour – there are as many ‘right’ ways to dress for a profile portrait photograph as there are people to be photographed. When I take a booking for a profile portrait shoot, I’m sometimes asked, ‘what shall I wear?’ I tend to hedge around the question with my answer, because I don’t really know. I’m not a ‘snappy dresser’.

Own Your Style

So I sat down with Jacqui O’Connell of Soul Dresser. Jacqui helps people find their personal style, and she was going to help me formulate a more thoughtful answer. “Firstly, people should own their style. They should dress so they feel comfortable for the shoot, or they won’t come over as best they can.” That immediately sounds like the nub of the matter – you’ve got to be comfortable before you can be relaxed, and you’ve got to be relaxed before your can feel confident. Jacqui continues; “People often fall out of love with getting dressed, but choosing what to wear should be fun and exciting, you should be able to look forward to people’s reactions.” You should look forward to people seeing your new profile photograph too. What ever your reason for wanting a new picture, you should also know what reaction you want to provoke from anyone seeing the picture.

Are You Gold or Silver?

So I asked Jacqui for the single most important thing to think about when dressing for a photographic shoot. “Start off by getting your colour right, we all have a seasonal colour that’s right for us. Firstly, are you warm or cool? Does silver or gold work best for you? Gold is warm, silver is cool. Autumn and spring are the warm seasons – deeper colours will work best. Winter and summer are cool – bold colours can work well.” Jacqui could see I was already lost, she suggested finding an online resource to help decide. “Most people know, but don’t put a label on it. It’s often the colours that you’re most drawn to. The thing is, wearing the wrong colours, especially near the face will be a distraction because they don’t really work.” Jacqui thought I was probably autumn because I wear deeper, warmer tones.

Colour and Comfort

‘What should I wear for the photo shoot? Now when people ask this I can offer a really practical piece of advice – know your season. Choosing the right colour can actually make you feel more comfortable in front of the camera. The context of where the picture will used is vitally important too, as is the occupation of the sitter and what their client would expect to see, but we need to use all the tools we have to connect – getting your colour right can be one of them. As Jacqui says; “There’s a style for everyone, find it, own it and you’ll really shine.”

Jacqui O’Connell, Soul Dresser http://souldresser.co.uk/ 

 

A Bad Profile Picture is like a Limp Handshake

Displaying the wrong profile picture to your social network can make an even worse impression.

bad-profile-pictures
Friends will see the joke behind your new quirky profile pic, but new acquaintances will take it seriously. So with the quirky quashed, how do we avoid giving anyone an opportunity to make an unintended judgement about you? Don’t think that you can get away with not posting a picture at all, that’s like refusing a handshake all together.

Basing any judgement on a photo alone is unreasonable and liable to show prejudice. However we’re programmed to measure and assess other people from any cue we can, so it’s difficult to be unaffected in how we treat the person behind the profile.

But we can use social networking images to steer the impression people get of us. Good pics give people a chance to put a face to the name, to confirm that you are the witty charmer they met last night and not the sweaty bore. If someone’s thinking of offering you work, won’t they first want to check you out? Do you look like someone they could work with? Are you more or less like them? And when did you ever hear someone say; ‘I’ve got a great memory for names, it’s faces I struggle with’?

Your face is your logo. In the age of the biometric passport the picture’s not your only identifier, but across a range of social media websites your mug shot works just the same as a corporate logo. Just think how much effort companies take to get a logo right, and then how much they use them.
bad-profile-pictures-please
So here’re some steps to looking the best you can.
– Welcome the attention of the camera, remember it’s your potential life partner or new client you are greeting. So no pressure!
– Nervous now? Try closing your eyes, think of the person who loves you the best, imagine them standing in place of the camera, open your eyes and give them your warmest smile.
– A gurning smile is not warm.
– Show you’re trustworthy by meeting the viewer’s eye directly – which means looking at the camera.
– Clothes still count, dress appropriately for your line of work and look like you care, Facebook pics can be casual and LinkedIn formal, so perhaps pitch it in between.
– Make an effort with your grooming, but if you’re not a model don’t try to look like one. And men, comb your hair!
– Get someone else to work the camera for you, but tell them to fill the frame with you.no-more-bad-profile-pictures
– You don’t need lots of megapixels, but if you use a camera on a phone make sure there isn’t a greasy thumbprint over the lens. And they’re worse than tummy buttons for holding on to fluff.
– Plenty of light, the camera can’t work well without it, but not direct sunlight. Sunshine will make you squint, put you in silhouette or cast unsightly shadows.
– It’s behind you! What is? The thing that’s taking the attention away from your face. The plainer the background the better.

If you don’t want to get shot, don’t hand out ammunition!

More on headshot photography