Just like every artist, I am sometimes critical of myself. Am I on the cutting edge of photography? Are my headshots just as good, or better, than other headshot photographers? Do they look different, or do they look like everyone else's headshots. How does my "look" or style compared to other photographers? What could I be doing better?
I am always looking to improve myself as a photographer and as a person. Once in awhile I try to improve my business by looking at what other photographers are doing in my field – specifically with headshots. But lately, I noticed something interesting…
Where are all the REAL people?
Some photographers have amazing headshots in their web portfolios of men and women who are basically models. 20-something year olds with no gray hairs, no cellulite, no wrinkles, and no bags under their eyes. How hard is it to make a model look good?
Don’t get me wrong, photographers who make a livelihood taking pictures of models and celebrities have their work cut out for them. I’m sure models get cellulite and pimples, too. But, it's important to note models and celebrities already know exactly how to avoid the double chins, which side they photograph best on and how to "smize" properly.
My clients usually range between 20 and 60 years old. They are all beautiful, but in general, they all absolutely hate having their pictures taken. Most of them ask me for clothing advice, makeup advice, and even smiling advice.
My average client doesn’t take selfies.
I have some clients that already know exactly what they want to wear, down to the last accessory. They are polished and poised and they make my job super-easy.
What I love, though, is helping out the people who think they aren’t poised or polished. Some people think they don’t smile well. They hate their arms - or maybe their necks. Shoot, some people hate their ears!
I should really put a notice on my door that reads:
Welcome to Alimond Studio.
This is a judgement-free zone.
In here, you’re gorgeous.
Leave your baggage at the door.
My job as a headshot photographer is to show my clients that photographs aren’t scary. Using the proper lighting, angles, and backgrounds can make every person photogenic. The real magic comes from feeling relaxed though. Your headshot photographer needs to make sure you look like you. Your natural smile won't show, though, if you feel at all awkward or uncomfortable. My goal is to make my clients look like themselves, but on the best day of their life. That means every person will be stunning – but in a professional way.
I want my clients to look fresh, put-together, approachable, AND professional.
Although it’s fun to take modeling portraits, I love that my clients come in every shape and size. Every day is different, and every day is exciting.
Not only are my clients diverse, but they are all looking for something unique. Do they want to look well-educated? Thoughtful? Fun and spontaneous? Artsy? Their headshots have to match their goals.
There’s nothing wrong with the photographer who makes the 20-somethings look amazing – especially when you are an amazing 20-something yourself! I’m just saying that when you are in the market for a headshot, find the photographer with a portfolio full of people who actually look like you.
Oh, and I’d never put that sign up - I love all the baggage.