Friday, September 5, 2014

What are you saing with your headshot? (part 2)

Today, we're talking about author/writer headshots. If you missed part 1 in this mini-series you can find it [here].

If a picture is worth a 1000 words...what are you saying with your headshot?

Dos and Don'ts of a good headshot session

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner
Hopefully I convinced you of the importance of a great headshot in part one - now on to the logistics.
What happens when you go to get your headshots taken? 
To break it down, here are some definite dos and don'ts when thinking about your headshot session:


Wear something that makes you feel comfortable
This is so important! You want to feel comfortable and look your best. Plan out what you will wear in advance (see below for some easy guidelines) and make sure that it's uniquely you. The best bet is to have something casual and something more dressy/business casual. Maybe that's adding or taking away a jacket or outer layer shirt.

Make sure there are a mixture of photos smiling and not smiling
You may prefer to have all of your photos smiling or all not smiling, but try taking both types of photos. Sometimes you won't know what you like until you see the final product.

Take the time to put on makeup
Women: Make sure you take the time to apply makeup. You don't need to go over the top, but photos can wash out your complexion. Even if you don't typically wear makeup, it's a good idea to ask a friend to help you. Even a little makeup can go a long way to making you look professional and pulled together.
Men: Makeup may not be necessary, but make sure to trim those pesky nose hairs, pluck your eyebrows, and maybe apply a little chapstick to make sure your lips aren't chapped.

Corrine from I Said Hello Hurricane
Feel confident
This is a BIG one. I know that so many people struggle with being in front of the camera. Maybe they think they aren't photogenic or they would rather hide behind something than have their photo taken. These people are typically extremely critical of what they look like and are very hard to please with photos of themselves. I get it. I really do.

Let me challenge you with a few thoughts:

...Your nervousness/anxiety in front of the camera will come across in your photos. Oh, great! you're thinking, Then there's no hope! This isn't true. A good photographer will do their best to make you feel as comfortable as possible when taking your photos. They will give you poses, assess your posture, and give you tips to looking more natural. BUT, they can't do all the work. It's important for you to head into this session with a positive attitude.
Don't think: "I will never look good" or "I hate all pictures of myself". Thinking like that poisons your perception of yourself and will prejudice you against any and all photos no matter how good the photographer is. 
...What are your expectations? Are you expecting to look 10lbs lighter than you are? Do you think those wrinkles will disappear? Yes, Photoshop does do some amazing work, but let's be honest. People aren't perfect.
No photo will ever make you feel better about yourself if your perception isn't accurate in the first place. 
You will look at a photo and see what you want to (the grey hair, the extra wrinkles, the not-so-perfect jaw line etc.). If this is why you don't like having your photos taken, then the issue is more than skin deep. So...

...Place your worth in more than an image. You are you (I know, a duh statement). If you aren't happy with the face you see, ask yourself (and more importantly, ask the Lord) why that's true. If your dissatisfaction is based on heart issues, no photo will ever make you happy no matter how much you weight or how photo-shopped your face is.

**Hear my heart here: I'm not saying that there aren't any bad photos taken. I'm not saying you shouldn't be picky as well. Some images will make you feel better about yourself and that's natural, but please be on guard in your heart about your attitude toward your self image.

Cody | Headshots
Though your author/writer photos are a big deal, they should not be anxiety-inducing! If you've chosen a photographer who's work you like, chances are the images will turn out as good, if not better than those photos you've seen. Rest in that, and enjoy the session!

Forget - photographers are people too
We may seem enigmatic and mysterious, but we're not. Haha, okay, maybe some of us are, but we're people too. What's more likely is that your photographer doesn't like being in front of the camera just as much as you! Strike up conversation with your photographer and get to know them as a person, which may help you feel more comfortable with them and therefore more comfortable during your session.

Forget to smile...I mean, really smile!
None of this fake smiling! Your readers want to see the real you and your real smile. That may take some extra work on your photographers side, but hopefully they will be able to coax a genuine smile from you.

What to wear 

Here are some guidelines for you to consider when planning out what to wear to your headshot session:
  • Comfort: As I said above.
  • Colors that compliment your complexion: Check out this article!
  • Jewelry: If you would normally wear it, add it!
  • Glasses: I'd recommend a few photos with and without your glasses, but I go by the same rule as jewelry - if you normally wear them, then keep them on.
  • Shy away from very pale colors or white: These aren't great options for photos and can wash you out.
  • Come prepared: This may mean bringing an extra jacket, sweater, or shirt to put over what you're already wearing to give you 2 separate "looks". You can also add/take away scarves or hats.
  • Be YOU
Well, there you have it. Some (albeit lengthy) suggestions. If you have any questions about this, feel free to comment below or contact me via the form to the left. Check back tomorrow for part 3 where I'll discuss being you and common copyright misconceptions! 

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