When is the last time you looked at the website of a company you wanted to buy from or book some kind of service with? Probably the last time you wanted to buy something or book a service, right? And if you are looking for a particular person to work with–like a real estate agent, dentist, accountant, etc.–chances are you probably looked at the About Us page to check them out. Then, you most likely formed an impression before even reading about the person, based on their photo. You might not be conscious that you are doing this, but you probably are. (It’s okay, that doesn’t make you a bad person!) Not in the “Are they attractive?” way, but in the “Do they look the part?” way. What we think of as professional varies by industry–someone in a creative field, like an interior decorator, may have a more casual picture than an attorney. But there is still a professional standard we expect from people we may hire, even just appearance-wise.
Regardless of the industry, when you see a business picture of someone that was probably taken with an iPhone, it stands out–and not in a good way. Is that mortgage lender wearing a baseball cap? What’s that, a Fireball shot on the table next to them? And who the hell is cropped out of the photo? Half their face is still in it! I have seen several photos like these on professional websites, which makes me cringe. Your professional photo is the first impression many potential customers/clients may get, so it seems crazy to use a picture that’s more appropriate for Facebook. You could be the best banker/massage therapist/marketing manager in the world, but if you look like you are on Spring Break or at home in your kitchen, you may be giving potential clients reason to look for someone else.
It’s not superficial, it’s professional image. You can get angry about it and blame society for paying too much attention to appearance, but it is part of the whole package of Professional You. Whether you run a company and want to show who your employees are, or you are an independent contractor/sole proprietor with your own website, having a professional photo is essential. In some cases, an “action shot” of you doing your work–training a client at the gym, styling someone’s hair, creating a flower arrangement–may work fine (even then, I definitely recommend using a photo shot by a pro). But a lot of people in the business world need headshots for online presence, marketing materials, business cards, etc. Putting effort into your appearance shows that you take yourself and your job seriously–which makes you more credible to potential clients/customers. I’m not suggesting that you drop $1,000 on an outfit and get Botox for one photo. But also don’t expect your industry reputation and two paragraph blurb to speak louder than a blurry photo of you from your neighbor’s Fourth of July cookout. If a potential client/customer doesn’t know anything about you and that’s the first thing they see, they may not take you seriously.
Hiring a professional photographer and a hair and makeup artist for your photos (and your employees, if applicable) makes a huge difference. A professional photographer knows the optimal lighting, angles, posing and backgrounds for the kind of photo that makes sense for your business. A professional hair and makeup artist knows how to make someone look their best for their professional photo. This applies to both males and females.
Don’t write this off, guys–there is a reason every man on ESPN and in every film, tv show and magazine ad is wearing makeup. For male hair and makeup, it’s all about evening out the skintone, eliminating shine and redness, concealing blemishes and undereye darkness and grooming hair. If you look at a picture of someone who has red, shiny skin and a blemish in the middle of their forehead, those things stand out. And a bald head reflects some serious shine on camera if a makeup artist isn’t there to prevent that. Those things are distracting and look unprofessional, but are easily fixed by a good hair and makeup artist. It’s a quick process–I typically spend about 5-8 minutes on business photo male hair and makeup–but it makes a big difference. And don’t worry, I always have makeup remover wipes with me, so no one ever needs to know what went on…
Ladies, I’m sure most of you already know the difference between being photographed wearing makeup and without it. Having an even skintone, some color on the lips and cheeks, no darkness under the eyes and hair that isn’t frizzed out or greasy looking goes a long way on camera. A good hair and makeup artist can create a look for you (or adjust the look you are already wearing) that is what we call “camera ready.” Because even if your everyday makeup looks great in person–and I’m sure it does!–a good makeup artist will know how to adjust colors and intensity so your makeup shows up beautifully on camera. And while your hair may look like a L’Oreal ad in person, there are some things a pro can do to make it more flattering in photos.
Need more convincing? Man, you are tough. I do a lot of corporate/business/headshots work with talented photographer, Shawn Read, and we wanted to show you why you need us. Between the two of us, we have done shoots for large and small businesses–from real estate agencies to pharmaceutical companies to financial firms–as well as Ivy League universities and nationally known hospitals. Because of confidentiality, we typically can not post photos from these shoots. So we did our own shoot to show you what this Dream Team can do.
Below are Before and Afters of two models (doubleclick to enlarge). The Before pictures show them prior to hair and makeup services. The first After photos show them with hair and makeup that I did, no retouching from Shawn. The second After photos show them with minimal retouching from Shawn. That is the level of retouching he typically does for business photos. Shawn doesn’t retouch the photos to the point that a person is unrecognizable, which is part of the reason he is so in demand in this industry.
So you might be wondering why you should even hire me for hair and makeup when Shawn can just retouch everything. First of all, Mr./Ms. Trying-to-Cut-Corners, it is very hard and time consuming for a photographer to create a full hair and makeup look with Photoshop or similar retouching programs. It would take Shawn several hours more per image to do that (and honestly, those programs don’t allow you to create looks the way real hair and makeup can). So your photos would take longer to get back to you, and the cost would be considerably higher. Higher, in fact, than if you just hired me for hair and makeup in the first place. Photographers are not hair stylists and makeup artists, so even if they could easily Photoshop in hair and makeup for you, there is no guarantee they would know where to start.
Another reason professional hair and makeup is beneficial for business photos/headshots is the confidence factor. Most people don’t love having their photo taken, but knowing they look their best definitely makes them feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Shawn shows people a few of the photos as he shoots, and people always like those unedited photos more if they have hair and makeup done. (I also help with some wardrobe/accessory stuff, like making sure ties are straight, necklace clasps are hidden, pants aren’t tucked into shoes, etc.) It’s a definite team effort. While Shawn is focused on the shot, the lighting, making people feel comfortable, etc., I am able to be a second set of eyes, noticing a piece of paper sticking out of a pocket or hair tucked into a collar. Lastly, when people make their selections after Shawn has completed the shoot (the photos are accessed via his private website galleries) they are more likely to be happy with the unedited images if they have had professional hair and makeup.
Ready to book us? Whether it’s an individual session or a group session, we will work with you and/or your employees to provide you with polished, professional photos. We’ll go to your workplace and will create an efficient schedule so we take up as little of your time as possible. Feel free to check out Shawn’s website, LB Read Photography, http://www.lb-read.com/#!/index and mine, Allison Barbera Beauty, www.AllisonBarbera.com. We can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and AllisonBarbera@AllisonBarbera.com
Have a beautiful day 🙂