Thursday, April 6, 2017

You Gotta Get a Professional Headshot

Today I went to Brian McConkey's photography studio to update my headshots. Brian last did my photos over six years ago and I love them, but they don't really represent the way I look now. As writer who promotes the joys of mid-life, I think it's only fair that my photos reflect my current age.  A general rule is that you shouldn't use photos that are over five years old, so hey,  I had a good run with my six year-old pics and my 47 year-old face.

At the shoot with the winning team of make-up artist
Megg Clement and photographer Brian McConkey
These days, everyone needs a professional headshot.  With corporate websites and google searches and networking sites liked Linkedin - not to mention social media - the first impression you make is likely to be online. Who doesn't do a little web sleuthing before meeting or hiring (or dating) someone for the first time? Getting a headshot taken isn't vanity, it's an important part of your professional and personal image.

I use my headshots for several things. On my blog (new photo coming soon) I want to show readers a fun, approachable image and make my website look more professional. As a freelance writer, my photo is often published on the contributors page of magazines, so I want to look smart and current. And, as a corporate trainer/speaker, I want new clients to see that I'm poised and polished so they'll feel comfortable booking me to their events.

Family snapshots or vacation photos just don't cut it. A photographer will do things with lighting and focus and angles (and some gentle retouching) that work magic.

I've worked with Brian three times now (he calls me a hat trick client) so obviously I love his work. I always use his hair/make-up artist as well (thanks Megg Clement!) because applying make-up for photography is a specialized skill set that I don't possess. It's worth the money, hands down. Another tip:  even it you're doing a simple shoot, bring more clothes than you need and focus on the waist up. Bring a variety of colors, necklines, sleeve lengths and accessories and let the pros help you choose what to be photographed in. Shoes don't matter much because they're rarely in the frame.

I'll be able to check out the results from today's shoot online in a day or two and I'll share my final picks here soon. But for a trip down memory lane - here are my headshots from 11 and 6 years ago. Man, time flies.

photo by Brian McConkey 2011
photo by Brian McConkey 2006