Is Uncle Bob's camera holding back your business?
There is an old saying in the professional photography world that everyone has an Uncle Bob, someone in the family that has a “decent” camera and is “pretty good” at using it. It’s the reason very often given by people and businesses not to pay to have professional photographs taken of themselves, their family or even their business – "Uncle Bob can do it". But is that really a good decision? It depends……..
Uncle Bob might be good, but is he good enough? Think of personal portraits for example – 99% of the population when asked would probably say something like – “oh I am not at all photogenic, all photographs of me look terrible, I hate having my photograph taken……”. Why do people say this – sometimes it's personal insecurity, sometimes it's modesty but it's often based on the images they have seen of themselves taken by the likes of Uncle Bob or maybe selfies taken on their mobile telephone.
What are business headshots?
Now it's one thing to have average quality personal portraits for the family album, but not when it comes to business. Professional quality headshots should not only be technically perfect but they should convey the personality of the person – they need to create a feeling of approachability, trust, professionalism – make the customer feel that it is someone that they want to do business with.
What is the purpose of a headshot?
So many business websites don’t have headshots of the owners or the staff, why not? It’s the greatest asset the business has, its often the key differentiator with the competition, especially in the service sector. Many times the answer is because they don’t like themselves in photographs – or at least the ones they have had taken so far – probably the ones taken by Uncle Bob! In some cases those businesses that do have head shots on their web site, they are of average quality – maybe inconsistent backgrounds, inconsistent colour style, inconsistent or awkward cheesy poses. It shouldn’t be like that.
Coaching and styling
It takes a lot of skill on the part of the photographer to produce the kind of headshots that create feelings of trust, approachability and professionalism that business web sites need. Having high quality equipment is not enough, it's knowing how to use it, knowing how to light a subject, knowing how to finish the image with careful natural retouching and above all having the experience and knowledge of how to make the subject feel comfortable with themselves. Knowing how to coach and style the subject during the shoot is so important.
The reason that most people don’t feel good about photographs of themselves is probably down to the photographer and not themselves. The experience in the hands of a trained professional should be an enjoyable and uplifting one, not a daunting task.
Why your business needs headshots
Every business needs to make the best use of its assets, its people. Does your business web site have great images of its people, are you maximising on your best asset? Head shots are a proven way to add the important personal connection for customers in today’s remote electronic world, they are a key investment for all businesses.
Choosing a headshot photographer
How to choose a professional headshot photographer – top three tips.
1. Take a look at their web site, is their work to the standard you want – can you see consistency, can you see styling, does the retouching work look natural, do the subjects look engaged, approachable, trustworthy, friendly – or do they look scared and nervous?
2. Does the photographer have professional training or are they enthusiastic hobbyist photographers. There are some brilliant hobbyist photographers out there but be sure that they really know how to make the exquisite quality head shot images that you are looking for – it is a specialist area.
3. Could you work with this photographer – check out any references or testimonials from people that have used them before. Talk to them and get a feel if the chemistry will be right between you.
One of my elected subjects during my photography studies at college in the UK was fashion - learning how to light subjects, how to style images, how to bring out the best in the models by putting them at ease and feeling relaxed. It was an excellent foundation for my commercial business - Henning Photo AS based in Svelvik, Drammen, Norway.
Since completing these formal studies some years ago, I have continued to hone my skills in these areas through many personal professional development courses and through working with clients at all levels from the small business owner to the staff of large commercial organisations. Today I offer my clients the benefit of this training and experience to help them promote themselves and their business through producing high quality head shot photographs they are proud of.
Don’t call Uncle Bob, talk to us today - Andrew Henning (English) or Unni Henning (Norwegian), we are based in Svelvik, Drammen not so far from Oslo and let’s discuss how we can produce the quality images that your business deserves and let your customers see the great people they will be buying from.
Henning Photo AS - www.henningphoto.net