A business headshot is more important than you probably realize. It’s what people see before they meet you. It’s what they look at to gauge trust. It’s a photo that’s often the deciding factor between you and your competition. Yet, despite the importance of the business headshot, it’s treated like a third class citizen. Most of the time they’re seen as a total inconvenience to have done, or as a needless expense by an employer.¬†Here at Spectacle Photo, we’ve taken a countless number of headshots for people coming from every profession imaginable. That experience has taught us some things, and we have a pretty good grip on what can make headshots either rise to glory or sink into the mire of mediocrity. We’re constantly hearing horror stories from our clients about their past headshots, and I want you to avoid the many pitfalls that lead to an embarrassing/unusable business headshot. These are our 5 essential tips to follow if you want to look fabulous and impress the masses with your headshots:

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Captain Kid

About a month ago, Rich Johnson took his family to Disney, so naturally, they hit up the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. If you’ve ever been to a Disney park you know that every ride dumps you out in a gift shop, and if you’ve ever been on the Pirates ride you know that it has the best gift shop Disney has to offer. It’s full of cool stuff, ranging from gold doubloons to hook hands. As Rich and his family were browsing his son pointed out an awesome pirate coat on one of the racks and started going on and on about how awesome it was. Rich picked it up to check it out, and it was actually really cool. It didn’t say “DISNEYYYY!!!!” or “PIRATES YOU WENT ON THE PIRATE RIDE. DISNEY. DISNEY AND PIRATES.” on it, and it was made out of really high quality materials. The best part? It was only $50, which is an almost unheard of price for a jacket over at The House of Mouse. So he bought it. Rich’s son loved it so much he wore it every day after, and spent every moment he could pretending he was a pirate. As Rich watched his son fight off devious smugglers in his backyard, he knew he had to get some photos of this time in his sons life.

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There’s this perceived notion out there that just because someone claims to be a photographer, they are one. It’s a touchy subject, especially within the photography community, because photography is an art form. But hey, just for now, lets assume it’s true.¬†Anyone who claims to be a photographer actually is one! Now that we’ve put that argument aside, you should know that that warm and fuzzy title comes with strings attached. One of those strings is called “criticism”. Art, as I’m sure you’re aware, is a subjective field. Unfortunately, this has come to mean that anyone who creates any piece of garbage and calls it art suddenly becomes untouchable. Anyone who then criticizes said art is immediately called “mean” and a “bully” if their criticism goes anything beyond giving helpful tips to the creator. Saying things like “This is an excellent try, and next time it would be even better if you used frequency separation instead of the blur tool.” are wholly acceptable, whereas “This photo is terrible. It could’ve been good in some capacity if you’d only watch a tutorial and learn how to use the right tools to enhance your image instead of burying it under a landslide of awful.” will cause a public outcry. After all, they tried, right?

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The biggest struggle our photography studio had this past year was figuring out a digital storage system that allowed us to actively work on, share, view, and archive our photos. Once you hit a certain storage point, buying invididual WD external drives just doesn’t cut it. We got to the point where we had 20 of them laying around, and we needed to do something about it.

The first thing we did was purchase an 8tb WD My Cloud drive. We figured we could work off of that, and when it got full we’d archive the photos either on a cloud or externals that we’d file away. That worked great for awhile, but eventually we learned that the My Cloud drives time out when you’re pulling a lot of photo files into lightroom. When we tried to import or export a photo file that had more than 400 images we kept running into different errors, all related to drive speed. Also, once they were imported, working off that drive was virtually impossible. The speed just isn’t there, and even the previews in lightroom constantly have to buffer. This was pretty crippling, so our cloud drive is now where we put all of our completed retouched work that everyone in the studio can access to build advertising assets.

For archiving, we use Amazon Drive and physical externals. Whenever we import a project we immediately upload the RAWs to the cloud and an external, that way they can be accessed from anywhere via the cloud, but we also have our own drives where we can retrieve them should that cloud go down.

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