Five Minute Professional Portraits
Quality professional portraits / portraits can be photographed in as little as five minutes. Difficult to believe? Well consider the following: When Charlotte-based photographer/ film-maker Kent Smith photographed President Obama (click here to view Kent’s blog and website) at Pinehurst, its unlikely that the President had time to stand idle while Kent fumbled around and played 20 questions “Well Mr. President, uhh, how do you want me to photograph you? Oh darn, hang on Mr. President, I can’t find the correct lens. Uhh, Mr. President, do you mind waiting around while my assistant runs to the nearest camera store and rents one?” Doubtful. I’ve met Kent. He is exacting, experienced, and composed. His photo session with the President lasted less than five minutes. He produced the following image:
Behind the scenes
Your time is valuable and no one understands that better than the person behind the lens. For this very reason, the overwhelming majority of work is conducted before you arrive at the location, and after the shoot is completed (post-production work). This means minimal time commitment from you (as little as five minutes) so as to not interrupt your busy schedule.
Lighting and equipment
An adroit photographer conceives, creates and tests the desired lighting conditions as well as knows what poses to evoke prior to clicking the shutter. The client’s personality, the message they need to communicate, stature, demeanor, etc. are all elicited during the photo session. The camera and other photography equipment become extensions of the professional headshot photographer’s body. Failsafes are instituted – cameras, backup cameras, a profusion of batteries, SD cards, filters, etc. are an arm’s reach away. Before hitting the shutter button, the business headshot photographer knows how the final image will look – the perspective, the bokeh (amount of background blur), the composition, lighting, background, etc. After the shutter clicks a few times, a dance begins to transpire between the client and the photographer. The photographer guides the shoot – sometimes subtly, sometimes conspicuously – anticipating a few throwaways (images that ultimately will be discarded) as well as the keepers.
After the shoot – Retouching
Most (if not all) professional portraits photographers offer retouching services (e.g. Photoshop) for your images. The photographer can correct for any blemishes, wrinkles, crows-feet, smile lines, stained teeth, dark areas under the eyes, etc. Basically s/he can make you look 5 to 10 years younger. Having said that, there is such a thing as too much editing. While it’s nice to look a few years younger without having to invest in plastic surgery or some fad diet, making one look like a chinadoll is not a desirable outcome. Skin has inherent imperfections and texture. These and other subtleties make us unique. When overcorrected, our professional headshots begin to appear mannequin-like and plastic.
The headshot session should leave a favorable impression in your mind. If your session starts to drag on, or your headshot photographer is in a foul mood, call attention to this, just as you would with any other service you consume. Your portrait session should be a fun, engaging experience. It will be quite a memorable day for you!