Posted on December 22, 2016 by under
Wishing You All a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
Posted on November 30, 2016 by under
How Makeup Can Help You to Project the Right Image for Your Business.
In my previous post, I talked about how to choose outfits that work well when being photographed. When you’re having your business headshot taken, the last thing you want is for your clothes to scream out for attention; the focus of the image should always be your face and personality; everything else just plays a supporting role.
Makeup for Your Business Headshot
That said, the addition of some subtle makeup does add the finishing touch to a portrait, creating a polished and professional look. I’ve been using a hair and makeup artist for all of my women’s portrait sessions since the very beginning and have come to really appreciate their expertise and skill in creating beautiful, flawless makeup that’s absolutely appropriate for a business headshot.
“Will I End up Looking Cakey?”
I think that one of the concerns which many women have is that they’ll end up looking cakey or fake, but that’s absolutely not the case and a professional makeup artist will always take the time to listen to a client’s concerns and requirements. I also make sure that you see what’s being applied at regular stages and I encourage all women to tell us immediately if they want something changed or aren’t happy about anything – after all, there’s nothing worse than just sitting there and feeling that you can’t say a word!
Marijelle Moreno prepares our client for her business headshot session in Guildford.
How Lighting Affects Makeup
However, it’s equally important that I let my clients know that they will be wearing more makeup than usual; that may sound contradictory given my previous comments, but both natural and artificial light have a knack of soaking up colour and if we don’t apply enough product, it just won’t show up in the photographs. It’s always surprising when I take that first test shot and we review it on the back of my camera; whilst it looks to us as if our client is wearing enough blusher/lipstick, the colour will often have washed out in the photos and so we need to apply a little more.
A Real Life Example
For this particular client who wanted a natural look, Marijelle Moreno first prepared and primed her skin, which is the most important stage; she then subtly enhanced her eyes, brows and lips, to add just a little definition and finished with a soft blush to give a healthy bloom of colour. The result is beautiful – she looks radiant, professional and confident – and every inch the business woman.
Looking relaxed, friendly and approachable, which is exactly how she wanted to appear in her business headshots.
A lovely shot using the abundant natural light in this room.
Being able to take some photographs outside was a real bonus. I love the way the autumnal colours work with her top and her hair.
Posted on November 2, 2016 by under
How to Look Great for Your Business Headshot
One of the most important conversations I have with my clients before they book a business headshot session with me concerns what they should wear. I’ve photographed thousands of people over the past 22 years and have seen them turn up in all manner of outfits, and not always the most suitable; from checks mixed with stripes and spots to strappy summer dresses, baggy jackets and droopy cosy cardigans, I’ve seen them all. But what may look appropriate for a night out, a day on the beach or a morning’s shopping won’t necessarily translate that well when worn for a business headshot.
Choose Your Outfits Well
This is why we always discuss outfit choices in great detail and I send all my clients an in-depth guide as to what works and what doesn’t work in terms of clothing for business headshots. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I think everyone should turn up for their portraits in a formal suit – sometimes clients don’t work in the type of business that demands a very corporate look. However, there are still certain “rules” that can make the difference between conveying the right or wrong impression. So here are a couple of tips for ensuring that you’ll look your best.
Don’t Be Afraid to Wear Colour
Looking professional doesn’t mean you have to stick to sober colours, and yet so many professional women I meet wear black suits: black can look great, but it does need to be worn with care, otherwise it can be very draining, especially when worn near the face. If you must wear black, my advice is to always ensure that you combine a black jacket with a brightly coloured top – the contrast will help to lighten the whole effect. Black-on-black on the other hand can make you look wider than you actually are because it creates a solid block of colour with no definition.
Alternatively, a coloured scarf (as long as it’s not too large) or some jewellery can help to break up what the camera will see as a large dark expanse.
If you’re in the type of business that doesn’t demand a suit, why not choose a top or a dress in a striking shade, like this client whom I photographed recently? I love the different blues which enhance and bring out the colour of her eyes. And the olive green blouse complements her hair colour beautifully.
Avoid Busy Prints
I’m a big fan of prints, but not for business portraits. Plain, solid colours have far more impact without drawing the eye away from your face; the last thing you want when someone’s viewing your profile on, say, LinkedIn is for them to be distracted by the pattern on your shirt or dress. Outfits should complement your appearance and not compete for attention with your face.
I love helping women to look their best and feel confident in front of the camera, so if you’re thinking of updating your business headshot, then why not give me a call on 01483 571119 or email me at email@example.com. We can have a chat about the options available and what’s involved, and there’s no obligation to book.
Posted on October 6, 2016 by under
Mother & Daughter Portraits, Guildford, Surrey.
Finally, I can show these photos from a lovely mother and daughter portrait session that I photographed back in July. The reason I haven’t posted sooner is because the photos were taken as a surprise birthday gift for this lady’s husband, so I thought it safest to wait until after the event, just in case!
I first met the lovely mum who booked this session when she came along for a 1-1 photography tutorial with me. At the time she’d mentioned wanting to have a portrait session with her daughter and so, on her birthday this July, which happened to be one of the hottest days of the year, we got together to make it happen.
I really wish now that I’d photographed the room when we’d laid out all their clothes, jewellery and accessories, because there wasn’t a clear surface left in the place, and that wasn’t counting my gear and all my makeup artist’s stuff too; I think they brought pretty much the entire contents of their wardrobes, so there was no shortage of choice.
After having some pampering time with hair and makeup artist, Marijelle Moreno, they both took it in turns to have some individual shots done first, and then we got them together for some lovely mum and daughter images. I love the outfits they chose to bring along and their beautiful expressions.
This is something I would encourage all mums to do, as I don’t think they’re often quite as keen to step in front of the camera, but they really should. And what a lovely way to spend some time together, with the added bonus of having a really special memento of the day too.
You can see at the bottom of this post the gorgeous boutique box of matted prints which they ordered, together with a personalised USB drive of their favourite shots. In our digital age, I’m a firm believer in providing my clients with beautiful prints as well as digital images, so they have the best of both worlds.
If you’d like to book a Couture Portrait session with me, then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 01483 571119 for an informal chat.
The perfect combination of dramatic eyes and lips, with rich blacks.
Posted on July 26, 2016 by under
Pixels Versus Print. Why Photographers Love Printing Their Work
We live in a world where we expect instant results: our phones, cameras and tablets allow us to capture moments and play them back and share them immediately – and all for free. The digital world has allowed us so much freedom to create and send images around the world instantly so that they can be seen by anyone, and I for one would never want to go back to the days when I was just starting out as a photographer and had to shoot on film and wait days to see the results!
However, one of the downsides of digital is that a lot of the time we only ever see images on our screens; and despite the ever-improving quality of our digital devices, there is still a huge difference between viewing pixels and viewing a piece of printed art.
Professional photographers don’t just take pictures: once the client’s session is over, many hours of editing and post-production go towards creating the final image which is stamped with that photographer’s particular style and forms part of the reason why the client has booked them in the first place.
Viewing an image on screen and in print are totally different. To fully appreciate the depth and richness of an image, print trumps pixels every time. Here are some images from a boudoir shoot album which I created for my client and which was produced by the amazing Folio Albums, a British company who make albums for professional photographers only.
The attention to detail, combined with the highest quality materials, mean that each album really is a work of art and forms the perfect showcase for a client’s images. There’s also the wonderful tactile quality which really adds to the whole experience. This one was produced in a beautiful black leather and the images were printed on fine art paper which really makes the colours stand out. Each album is beautifully packaged and comes with its own TLC guide on how to take care of it so that it will last for many years to come. Have a look at this video where Folio Albums founder, Stewart Randall, talks about the ethos behind the company.
Posted on July 5, 2016 by under
Boudoir Photography, Guildford, Surrey.
A boudoir session is something very special, and when a woman books it can be for any number of reasons; the most popular are to celebrate a milestone birthday, especially a 40th or 50th, as a pre-wedding gift for a bride to give to her husband-to-be, or simply as a self-esteem and confidence boost. Whatever the reason though, it’s always, first and foremost, for the woman, helping her to reconnect with her feminine side, increasing her confidence and generally making her feel good about herself, both inside and out.
All my boudoir sessions take place at a beautiful boutique hotel in Guildford. I work with some incredibly talented hair and makeup artists who are experts at making women look and feel special by enhancing their natural beauty.
I love clients to bring along at least 3 different outfits, comprising a mixture of looks. And it’s definitely not the case that a boudoir session always has to be about wearing sexy lingerie or even showing as much skin as possible: the ones from this session were a good mix and we started with some lovely shots in a very simple outfit, worn with a cardigan and a denim jacket on top; these are also great to get women feeling relaxed and comfortable about being photographed.
This session was so enjoyable and the day went really quickly. Here are some of my favourites; there were so many that I loved and my client has very kindly allowed me to share them to show other women exactly what’s involved and why they should book.
Get Your Free Guide to Boudoir Photography
If you’re thinking about booking a boudoir session, but are feeling a bit nervous or unsure, I have a free guide to boudoir photography which you can download when you make a booking or enquiry. Inside, you’ll find answers to lots of the most common questions that women ask, and I hope that they’ll go some way at least to making you feel less apprehensive about booking!
Photographed at the Mandolay Hotel, Guildford
Hair & makeup by Marijelle Moreno
Posted on June 27, 2016 by under
Business Headshots, Guildford, Surrey
If your idea of a business headshot involves studios, lights and formal poses, rest assured, it doesn’t have to be that way.
I tailor each session to my client’s specific requirements. Part of my approach involves using a variety of backgrounds and the other week, despite the rainy forecast, we managed to slip outside for a few minutes.
My brief was to create some portraits that could be used for a LinkedIn profile and also for general marketing and social media.Working with hair and makeup artist, Marijelle Moreno, we created three completely different styles; these were based around a selection of outfits which my client had brought along, and information she’d given us as to the sort of look she was after, based on her business; not too “corporate”, but more relaxed and informal. When I saw what she’d brought, I just knew the bright pink against the green of the trees would work well.
And as for the lighting, the overcast conditions were perfect for creating that lovely soft light that wraps around the face to lend a beautiful luminous quality to the features. So much easier to work with than bright sunshine.
Indoors, I chose the soft window light and a reflector to bounce the light back onto her face to give both depth and shape to her lovely bone structure.
As you can see, a headshot definitely doesn’t need to be boring, and if your business has a more relaxed identity, then I can tailor the images to suit your personal style, thereby offering a much more bespoke service.
Here are some of my favourites from our morning.
If you’re not happy with your current business headshot or if you don’t actually have one you can use, then why not get in touch by filling in my enquiry form. Alternatively, you can call me on 01483 571119 or email me at email@example.com and get some headshots that will really do you and your business justice.
Posted on June 2, 2016 by under
Business Headshots, Guildford
Research by LinkedIn reveals that a business profile that’s accompanied by a photo is 7 times more likely to be viewed as a page that doesn’t have one, so it’s definitely worth investing in getting it done properly. No longer is it acceptable for a business headshot to be a selfie, or a holiday snap where you’ve chopped off the other person who was standing next to you!
And the more you can plan and prepare for your business headshot session, the better the results: for my female clients this means that one of the most important aspects is their consultation where we decide what outfits will work best, the hair and makeup style they prefer and any accessories they want to bring. I always use a professional hair and makeup artist to give a really polished look.
This lovely client was an absolute joy to photograph and we had a very enjoyable morning; as you can see, she’d brought along three striking outfits in some beautiful colours which really complemented her. Wearing lots of black is definitely not the only option just because you’re dressing for a business portrait; apart from being very draining, it also absorbs a lot of light and can be quite challenging to photograph.
Hair and makeup was done by the very talented Marijelle Moreno who managed to create a different look for each outfit – thank you! All shot using natural light only – my favourite type of lighting.
Here are some of my favourites, although it was very difficult to choose. If you’re thinking of getting some business headshots done, then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to photograph you!
A perfectly coordinated and professional look, with just a little black.
Often, all that’s needed is a pop of colour to bring an outfit to life.
A change of location and lighting adds variety.
Posted on April 6, 2016 by under
How to Smile in Photos – Are You a Rictus or a Duchenne?
When you smile in photos, are you a Cheshire Cat or a Mona Lisa? A successful portrait is all about expression: sure enough, you can create the most beautiful light, have the perfect props and outfits, and yet if the person’s expression is not right, all your time and effort will have been wasted.
“A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.” Charles Gordy
The genuineness of someone’s smile is actually centred around their eyes, although the mouth is involved too: but this is contrary to what many people seem to believe when they’re in front of a camera – the teeth are bared and the eyes are often blank in the classic rictus grin! So if you hate your smile in photos, it could simply be because you’re trying too hard. When someone smiles naturally and spontaneously, both their mouth muscles and the muscles around their eyes are engaged to varying degrees. Named after the 19th century French neurologist, Guillaume Duchenne, the Duchenne smile, which involves both the eyes and the mouth, is how we distinguish between a real smile and a fake one.
The Eyes Have it. Three Beautiful and Different Smiles Captured on a Fashion Shoot.
For a photographer this distinction is crucial. If I were to photograph my clients without giving them any direction or prompting, the “say cheese” fake expression is what they’d give me: it’s what most people think they need to do when they’re being photographed, and sometimes it can take quite a while to convince them otherwise.
Just Don’t Say “Cheese”. How I Get a Genuine Smile from My Clients
The first thing I get people to do is relax their facial muscles. When they’re being photographed, their faces will have a tendency to tense up as they prepare themselves. By getting them to relax I can also observe what they look like at rest, when they’re not emoting.
I then have the choice of either making them laugh, which is the quickest method, or directing them to look at me and smile with their eyes; I might also get them to think about their favourite person or place, since what’s going on in their heads will be reflected in their facial expressions.
The Three Phases of a Smile
A smile is actually composed of distinct phases, so it’s important that I press the shutter at just the right moment, depending on which type I’m after.
- The Laughing Smile. This is the first phase, which you can see in the left-hand picture. Here, the subject’s eyes and mouth are fully engaged in the act of laughing.
- The Relaxed Smile happens when the person has just stopped laughing, and the mouth has relaxed a little (right-hand picture).
- The Eye Smile. The final phase is the most tricky to achieve, but it’s one of my favourites, since here it’s mostly about the eyes and only a little about the mouth (centre picture). This is when I’m directing my client the most; getting her to look at me with intention and emotion, projecting that emotion in her eyes, with just a hint of a smile in the lips. It can be a really soulful and intense expression which speaks volumes.
So next time you’re in front of the camera, don’t forget to think eyes and then mouth, rather than the other way around!
Posted on March 31, 2016 by under
Headshot Photography, Surrey
Do you think of yourself as a brand? And if you do, how are your business values reflected in the image that you project to the outside world? Are they aligned and consistent?
Business headshots are very much centre-stage now that there are so many social media platforms out there, and as business professionals we need to ensure that we manage our profiles so that they work hard for us. This is why I recently changed my portrait to reflect the type of image which I now create for my clients.
Earlier this year, I did a headshot photography session for Sara, the founder of Bar des Arts in Guildford, and also the owner of a business training consultancy. Sara needed some new portraits for both her website and also her LinkedIn profile, and so we discussed in detail beforehand what hair and makeup style she wanted and also the type of outfits that she’d like to wear. This pre-session consultation is crucial as it prepares the client, the photographer and the makeup artist so that on the day we know exactly the type of look we want to create and don’t end up wasting valuable time.
I worked with hair and makeup artist, Marijelle Moreno, who created a lovely polished look for Sara, and two elegant hairstyles. Sara had brought along an L K Bennett dress in a very striking royal blue and also a chic black and white top which looked very professional.
I love both these looks and the colours of the dress and scarf look great. I also chose to pair some blue earrings with the black top to lift the look a little and add a discreet but essential pop of colour.
The vibrant blue of this LK Bennett dress really works for Sara’s business headshots
Ringing the changes with a different hairstyle and a smart, business-like top.
LinkedIn research shows that if a page has a profile picture, it’s seven times more likely to be viewed as a page that doesn’t have one; food for thought if you’re currently not making the most of yours. All my personal branding sessions for women include the services of a hair and makeup artist and the use of a lovely indoor location in Guildford. If you’d like to refresh your online image, then I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me on 01483 571119 or drop me a line at email@example.com.