Does your Headshot reflect who you are now?

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I have a confession to make. I’ve been stalking you. If I know you or recently met you, I have checked out your social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram. And I’ve seen your outdated profile pic. You know the one — you took it back in 2012. It was probably a good hair day, you were 7 years younger and maybe a few pounds lighter. You liked that image so you haven’t updated it since. And that’s if your profile pic isn’t a funny cartoon character or one of your cat. Or a snapchat photo with lots of filters to make your eyes sparkle and your skin look flawless.

Believe me, I know what it feels like to be uncomfortable in front of a camera. But as a Headshot photographer, I try and put myself in front of my own lens as often as possible. And in the last few years of taking selfies I have become a lot more comfortable with the idea and the process.

Just so you know, while I recently lost about 30 lbs, I didn’t wait until the weight came off to start taking my studio selfies. I didn’t always like the results but I kept on shooting and updating my profile pic. I got lovely comments for each one, no matter how round I thought my cheeks looked or how many wrinkles I saw accumulating on my face.

I took this image of myself a few days ago. Did I do some photo retouching? Sure did, and I’ll do the same for you — my goal is to show your best self in your new headshot and if that takes a little Photoshop, well, that’s what I’ll do. Will you look 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter? Probably not.

You know that the clients you are hoping to attract want to see the person they are going to interact with, not your smiling self from 10 years ago. And your friends and family? They know you don’t look like that anymore (and most of them still love you anyway.)

So be your best self — the one you are now. And let me capture that best self in a great headshot.

It takes a Village

I have moments during the course of my day when I’m completely overwhelmed with gratitude for the people I have met who help me in my journey as a professional photographer. It was after one of these moments when I submitted a photo for review on a webcast and got some brilliant feedback from a mentor over at Peter Hurley’s Headshot Crew that I thought I should share my tribe with all of you.  

This is my list in no apparent order:

Exist in Pictures: A Headshot Photographer in front of her own camera

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I’m going to out myself and you may or may not be surprised at this revelation.  
I am a Photographer who Hates to be Photographed. My mentor, Master of Headshot Photography, Peter Hurley, refers to this condition as "PAS" or "Picture Avoidance Syndrome."
And I have it bad.

Despite the seriousness of my case, these days I put myself in front of my camera more and more. When ideas about lighting pop into my head I’m often without a human model to test them on. So I set up my camera and lights and grab my wireless remote. Then I submit myself to the same directions and commands that I use with everyone who sits in front of my camera. (Yes, I actually say this out loud.) “Push your face out towards the camera. More. No really, more. Drop your chin a touch. Now raise it a tiny bit. Stop looking so miserable.”

Trying to get a reasonable and genuine expression when you are taking a selfie with no one else in the room is challenging.  After taking shot after shot and realizing that I looked less than sincere in most of them, I resort to listening to YouTube videos of comedians in order to get something close to a reasonable smile.

And now I have to publicly and sincerely apologize. Because what I ask of you when you come to me and step in front of my lens is hard work. It feels completely awkward. Uncomfortable even.  I know because this because I subject myself to the same process when I’m testing my lights and getting ready for a shoot. I do it this way because it works. It works to get you the look you want in the images I take for you.

I hope this makes you feel better about stepping in front of my camera. It is much easier for me to help you look your best in your images than it is for me to get a decent selfie. For one thing, you and I develop a connection during our photo session. The smile you give me and your look of confidence is a result of how well we connect.

My goal when I get you to step in front of my camera is to make you feel good about yourself and the images we make together. I hope you consider letting me work with you to produce images you will feel proud of sharing and posting — on Facebook, LinkedIn, Tinder or just to print up and send to your Mom.

Shoot me an email at suepeaphoto@gmail.com and let’s set up a time for you to come in and get a new image you can use for 2018.