Loading...

Book Now

What is a Headshot?

There are many terms in the photography business, and it may seem a bit confusing at first. One such term is ‘headshot,’ which instantly conjures an image in your mind, but is it the right one? No matter what you think a headshot is right now, we’re going to explore them in greater detail. We’ll […]

Who Needs Professional Headshots? Do I Need One?

You might be wondering if your profession requires you to get a professional headshot. Even if it doesn’t, you’d be in a better position if you decide to get a headshot anyway. After all, there are many, many reasons to have a nice, professional photo of yourself taken. Everyone from the CEO to the janitor […]

LinkedIn Photo Tips 2021

Although LinkedIn is a social media platform, it’s unlike any other. Rather than sharing your personal life with your peers, you’ll be networking to find, or remain in, your ideal job. This requires you to think through your profile picture choice. After all, you’re not going to want to post a funny photo, nor should […]

How to Plan a Personal Branding Photoshoot

If you own a business, especially one online, you’ve more than likely heard someone say “personal branding” at some point in time. You may or may not know what the term means. Let us explain. It’s simple: When people refer to personal branding, they’re referring to branding (read: marketing) themselves. So your personal brand is […]

Why a Professional Headshot is Important

You know that old saying “first impressions make the best impressions”? Well, it’s true. Research has shown that it takes people about .10 seconds to judge you based on their very first encounter with you. Furthermore, research also suggests that those first impressions are very difficult to change down the road. So what people see […]

10 Tips for an Amazing Family Spring Photoshoot

Have you taken a look out your window yet? If not, run! Spring has sprung, folks. Budding trees. Beautiful flowers peeking out. The sun is actually starting to feel warm again. That means it’s the perfect time to schedule your family photoshoot! With such beautiful weather, you just can’t go wrong. Especially not if you […]

10 Professional Photo Shoot Tips For Your Photo Shoot

So you’ve decided to do a professional photo shoot with a Chicago portrait photographer. Congratulations! A photo shoot can be a fantastic memory in and of itself as you create photographs that you will carry with you through life and hand down through the generations. But in order to make the most of your photo […]

Market Your Business With Professional Headshots

You know this already, but it bears emphasizing: image is a vital part of any business. We live in an increasingly visual society. Much of the business you do will be online and so the image you portray there may be the only way people can engage with you. They’ll either like it or they […]

Why Hire a Professional Photographer?

It goes without saying—but I’ll say it anyway—cell phones are everywhere. There’s nowhere you can today where you won’t find someone using their phone, whether for business or pleasure. And frequently, whether you’re at work, a concert, or wandering a store, you’ll see people using their phones to take photographs. With the advent of phones, […]

7 Reasons Family Portraits Are Important

You see it everywhere today—people capturing the world around them using their phones, whether it’s a concert, sports event, school play, or any family gathering. To be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with that picture (pun intended). It’s wonderful that people can capture memories so easily and conveniently on the go.  However, when it […]

Tips for the Best High School Senior Portraits

What are senior portraits for high school? Senior portraits are the photographs you take toward the end of your final year of high school, when you are preparing to graduate. Whether you have the portraits done by a photographer contracted by the school or by an individual you yourself hire, a portrait will involve a […]

Building A Compelling Brand With Personal Branding Headshots

Some people overlook the importance of clearly establishing a personal brand. Today’s world is indisputably digital—and every bit as visual. Online platforms are increasingly your first opportunity to create a lasting, positive, professional impression on prospective clients. They’ll be looking at all the little details, and that includes examining your headshot for signs of professionalism […]

Do I Really Need a Professional Headshot?

It’s easy to overlook a headshot. It’s just a picture, right? Why would you need one? Well, the truth is there’s a very good reason why you absolutely need a headshot, ASAP: first impressions. The way the world works today, business is conducted online more often than not. You apply for jobs online. You submit […]

How to Get the Perfect Portrait Taken By a Professional

While you’d think having a professional portrait done should be easy, many people find it nerve-wracking. It makes sense—a portrait is something you’re not only going to share with people but is a memory that you will cherish for a lifetime. And you want that memory to encompass the whole photoshoot! To that end, here […]

How to Make Family Portrait Day Go Smoothly

When you decide to get your portrait of your family and/or children done in Chicago, it’s an exciting occasion! There’s all kinds of work involved in finding the right photographer, and once you’ve put in the work and settled on the photographer who you know will help you craft the perfect family portrait in your local Chicago area, then it’s time for Portrait Day.

Environmental Headshots vs Portraits: Marketing with Photography

Environmental Portraits are portraits taken of a subject in a surrounding; often their workplace, which helps tell their story. They are a great way to give the viewer an insight into the life or work of the subject and are an effective way to market yourself or help define your personal brand.

Data Reveals the Importance of Image in Job Search

A 2005 study by Princeton psychologist Alexander Todorov found that people make snap judgments (impressions) about a person within a tenth of a second of viewing a photograph of their face.

We are Providing High-Quality and Affordable Headshots in the Chicago Area

It’s 2018 and we’re livin’ in a digital world. People want to see who they’re dealing with and it’s important to give off a great first impression. A professional headshot is the most immediate and effective way to do so. Like it or not, people are Googling you and it’s up to you to control your image.

Who Needs Professional Headshots? Do I Need One?

You might be wondering if your profession requires you to get a professional headshot. Even if it doesn’t, you’d be in a better position if you decide to get a headshot anyway. After all, there are many, many reasons to have a nice, professional photo of yourself taken. Everyone from the CEO to the janitor would benefit from being able to put their photo on the company website. 

What Professions Need Headshots?

Aside from the obvious answer of “every profession,” there are some businesses that need a headshot more than others. Remember: Posing for a headshot is not a waste of time. Instead, it allows you to set a professional tone. One image can do wonders for you and your reputation! 

CEOs and Entrepreneurs

If you want to make yourself known in the business world, it’s imperative to get a nice headshot. Whether you’re the CEO of an international company or a brand-new entrepreneur, most people will judge you based on this one image. In light of all that, it’s best to ensure you do it right.

Actors and Models 

Acting headshots are an absolute necessity. If you doubt this, simply try to get cast without one. Even if you’re an A-list star, the odds are high that some casting directors will still want a headshot. Make it easy for them by having several images to choose from. 

Employees 

Every employee needs a good corporate headshot. Not only will this allow their company to put their photos online, but it will also create a nice sense of symmetry. Make sure every employee uses the same photographer and stays on-brand with their photo. 

Public Figures 

Anyone who’s in the public eye understands why a headshot is necessary. Without one, you take the risk of having unflattering pictures used by the media. Instead, stay one step ahead of the press by presenting a professional headshot for them to use. 

Professional Services 

First impressions mean everything for those working as lawyers, real estate agents, consultants, etc. Almost every time they send out a proposal, a headshot is attached. Without it, people are less likely to work with them. For real estate agents, it’s beyond essential to have a professional image. This is because most real estate ads include a picture of the salesperson. 

LinkedIn Members 

Are you actively seeking a job on LinkedIn? One of the best ways to turn the tide in your favor is by utilizing a professional headshot. Without it, you’re going to have a more difficult time getting employers and recruiters to read about your qualifications. LinkedIn has found that members who use a headshot receive nine times more connection requests and have 21 times more profile views. 

Small Business Owners 

What happens if you own a small business and suddenly the media takes an interest in you? This is exactly what you want, but things can turn desperate quickly if you don’t have a headshot readily available. 

Dating Sites

Yes, believe it or not, even people who are using a dating site need to consider taking their profile to the next level. A headshot can make you look more appealing, and it could also lead to more responses. Sure, it’s not actually a profession, but what’s more important to you than finding the person of your dreams? 

Should You Get Professional Headshots?

If you still find yourself wondering, “Do I need professional headshots,” it’s time to start thinking about how much they can accomplish. Here are three benefits to think over:

#1: They Help Avoid Wrong First Impressions

First, no matter how many times your parents told you not to, pretty much everyone judges a book by its cover. In fact, this is a psychological phenomenon called “thin slices.” Second, even when that first impression is wrong, it’s still the one most people go with. This means you need to present the cleanest, most poised version of yourself, and that’s easily accomplished with a headshot. 

#2: They Modernize Your Appeal

Around 70% of hiring managers are using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to prescreen candidates. LinkedIn is the one you want to think about out of these three here and placing a good, professional online headshot will modernize your appeal and give recruiters a sense of who you are. 

Additionally, your LinkedIn photo should represent who you are professionally as much as possible since recruiters will expect this. Being hired is important business, so you may want to consult with an experienced photographer to get LinkedIn photo tips or have professional photos made that meet LinkedIn’s guidelines.  

#3: They Engage Your Audience 

People want to feel engaged by your image. This doesn’t mean you have to have a perfect appearance, but it does mean you need to present yourself in your best light. Working with a professional photographer will put you in the best possible position to let your light shine through – even if you’re introverted. 

Why Everyone Should Have a Professional Headshot 

Now that we know just how important a first impression is, it’s very important to discuss headshots. It doesn’t matter if you’re a corporate professional, an indie author, or a firefighter. The only thing that matters is that you use a headshot that will immediately convey a message about you and your professionalism. 

For instance, let’s talk a bit about personal branding. The first thing to note is that personal branding can also encompass your business, especially if you own it. At the end of the day, the entire intention behind personal branding is to market yourself using the same consistent voice. 

Think for a moment about the last sports star, actor, or singer who spoke out about something in the media. If they chose wisely, it improved their brand. However, those who selected a controversial topic to espouse most likely hurt their personal brand. In turn, this can also harm the brand of anyone who associates with them. 

That’s why so many people who spend a lot of time building their brand choose not to address certain topics. Instead, they allow their headshots and other public interactions to speak for them. If nothing else, it gives them the chance to really think about a topic before they speak out. If you don’t have a headshot, though, you’re allowing people to decide what you care about, and that’s never a good look.

So…Who Needs Professional Headshots? You Do!

The takeaway here is that headshots are recommended for EVERYONE seeking jobs. When it comes down to it, getting a professional headshot is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It will help you open doors in the business world, and it’s also a great way to convey to the media that you’re at the top of your game. Kyle Bondeson Photography understands this, and he’ll ensure you look your best! Book your headshot now.

LinkedIn Photo Tips 2021

Although LinkedIn is a social media platform, it’s unlike any other. Rather than sharing your personal life with your peers, you’ll be networking to find, or remain in, your ideal job. This requires you to think through your profile picture choice. After all, you’re not going to want to post a funny photo, nor should you use a snapshot from your phone. So, what should you do? Read on to find out the best way to get a compelling and professional-looking LinkedIn headshot.

What Should Your LinkedIn Profile Picture Look Like?

Choosing the right photo for your LinkedIn profile should take into consideration your personality and the impression you want to leave.  Generally, the following are essentials for displaying your professional side.

  • Your photo needs to look like you.
  • Your face should take up the majority of the frame.
  • You should be the only person in the picture.
  • Choose an approachable photo with an authentic expression. Confident, competent, friendly, genuine. Be yourself, it will show.
  • Wear what you would wear to work. Dress for the job that you have or want. If it’s a more casual job then you’d look weird in a 3 piece suit, if you’re a high-powered attorney you might consider a tie.

How to Take a Professional Photo for LinkedIn 

Getting the right photo for LinkedIn can be difficult. That’s because the image needs to be professional but also approachable. How do you walk the line between these two criteria? Here’s a few tips for achieving the right LinkedIn headshot: 

  • Choose a Recent Image – The purpose of your headshot is to get your foot in the door, but it’s also to present yourself with how you’d like to be seen: competent, professional, honest, genuine and trustworthy. 
    Let’s face it, most of us don’t look like we did in our 20s, even so, it’s best to avoid using an older photo. You don’t want clients or customers wondering comparing you to a15 year old photo and wondering if they’re in the wrong place. It’s best to present yourself as you are.
  • Dress Correctly – Choosing the right outfit may feel daunting, but there’s an easy way to do it. Simply think about the profession you want and dress accordingly! In other words, if the people who are currently doing the job in question wear a suit, then you’ll need to do the same. If, however, they wear a polo shirt and khakis, you should adjust your look (we’’ touch on more of this later). 
  • Requirements Exist for a Reason – It doesn’t make sense to spend a great deal of time and effort on a profile photo, only to have it rejected. To prevent this, make sure it matches LinkedIn’s profile photo guidelines and sizing when you’re creating and uploading your profile photo – that way, it ends up looking fantastic every time.
  • Don’t Forget the Cover Photo – It isn’t your profile photo, per se, but the cover photo you upload to LinkedIn can cause yours to shrink or change position on smartphones and similar devices. And, you don’t want someone to miss important information about you because they used a different device. Follow LinkedIn’s requirements and guidelines for uploading your custom cover photo, the same way you did with your profile photo. 
  • A Single Headshot is Best – LinkedIn is a professional website, and the focus should be on you. That being said, save the fun group pics for Facebook. A single headshot is best, and you should also ensure that your face takes up about 60% of the frame
  • Use a High Resolution Photo: Use a high resolution photo, although 8MB is the max. Try to avoid small, low-resolution images, which can happen if you try to take a picture of your employee badge. Always use a fresh one instead. 
  • Hiring a Pro Goes a Long Way – A selfie might be great for your social media profile, but the professional nature of LinkedIn requires a more professional approach. A professionally photographed headshot will help you stand out from your peers among potential employers or clients. It gives the right impression and helps to establish your place as a serious candidate.

LinkedIn Headshot Tips 

One of the first things to remember when getting a photo taken is to avoid extraneous details. Rather than doing a half-body shot, focus much more closely on your face. The photo you choose shouldn’t show more than the top 1/3 of your chest. 

Another tip to keep in mind is that there is more than one reason not to select a younger image of yourself. Aside from giving people a red flag, it can also make you look too young for the job you’d like. Remember the common adage: wisdom comes with age. 

Making eye contact is also a major point. But no matter what you choose to do with your eyes, make sure you’re not wearing sunglasses. 

LinkedIn headshots are all about creating your personal brand. Therefore, you want to work with a photographer who is also an artist. Make sure your personal brand shines through in your profile pic. 

Chicago Headshot

What Should I Wear to a LinkedIn Headshot?

Your Linkedin profile photo is the essence of your personal brand, and it is at the heart of the message you want to convey about yourself. Here are some tips on what to wear to a LinkedIn headshot:

  1. No Busy Stripes or Patterns: Avoid busy stripes or patterns since the photo itself is fairly small (400 X 400 pixels). After all, you don’t want anything that detracts too much from the real focus which is, of course, you. 
  2. Avoid Too Much Jewelry: Similar to the effect in #1, too much jewelry can be distracting. A pair of earrings can be a nice and understated touch, but something like a chunky necklace tends to be distracting. 
  3. Layers are Great: Layers look professional and bump up the contrast. Don’t wear too many layers on a hot, summer day, though. You can create an oven for yourself!
  4. Dress for the Industry: Do a little research and dress for the industry you are looking to work in. For instance, find out what the typical dress code is. If it’s business/casual, then a dark suit and tie might be too much. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to be hired by a powerful law firm, then a power suit might be more appropriate. 
  5. When in Doubt, Dress Up: No one is ever going to fault you for being overdressed in your LinkedIn profile pic. Meanwhile, being undressed can give the impression that you are sloppy or don’t take yourself or the job seriously. 
  6. Be Confident, Yet Comfortable: Wear something that you feel confident in. In other words, pick the outfit that you get compliments on every time you wear it. If you feel comfortable and confident then your headshot will reflect that. 

    Additionally, be sure that you feel comfortable in your clothing. You still need to look your best, of course, and you can reach this goal even with the fanciest outfit. If it’s the choice between one suit that’s comfortable and another that’s not, always choose comfort. This will make your image seem more genuine, which is a huge part of getting an interview. 

Can You Use a Selfie For LinkedIn?

While selfies are becoming more accepted on this professional networking site, it is still recommended to have a professional headshot.

A professional photo shows that you take yourself seriously and people will treat you accordingly.

First impressions go a long way. Your profile picture on LinkedIn is a key element to your presence there, and research shows that having a professional picture makes your headshot and profile more likely to be viewed by others. Kyle Bondeson is a professional, Chicago area headshot photographer with years of experience. When it’s time to spruce up your LinkedIn page, be sure to contact us!    

How to Plan a Personal Branding Photoshoot

If you own a business, especially one online, you’ve more than likely heard someone say “personal branding” at some point in time. You may or may not know what the term means. Let us explain. It’s simple:

When people refer to personal branding, they’re referring to branding (read: marketing) themselves. So your personal brand is marketing your business, you, your product, you name it. Your personal brand is what people know you by. Just think of any famous name brand in grocery store, whether toothpaste, shampoo, soda—it’s likely you have a favorite brand and reach for it above all others. There could be an equally appealing product nearby, but you reach for what you know works best for you. Why? Because that brand has succeeded in its marketing. You associate the brand with something positive and continue to consistently buy into it.

You have to deliberately manage your personal brand. It makes sense—if you have a certain image you want people to see, you have to work to cultivate it. There’s a reason major brands come down swiftly on any competitors who do anything that might damage a company’s image. Image is everything in business, and image = personal branding.

So figure out who you and your company are, what you stand for, and what you want people to know you by. 

After you’ve got that figured out, then you have to determine how to get that message across. And one of the best ways to do that is through a photo shoot. You’ve heard it all before—first impressions are lasting impressions. It’s true. You’ve only got a moment to grab a person’s attention with your brand. Once you’ve got that attention, you have about a second for the person’s first impression to register, whether positive or negative. Positive impressions stick forever. So do negative ones. So make those first seconds count! Here’s how.

When you decide to do a personal brand photo shoot, it should be made up of the following:

Funnels

A funnel image is exactly what it sounds like—it’s an image that draws people in. It points them in the direction you want them to be looking. So funnel images are what you want to use on your landing page, especially when you’re launching a product, setting up a new business, etc. For example, a picture of yourself staring directly at the product you’re selling is a clear funnel. It’s guiding a potential client’s eye.

Use funnels on social media. Very definitely use them on sales pages, too. Those images need to be polished, professional, and engaging—which is why you need to hire someone trained to take them, rather than snapping a few pictures with your phone. You can use funnels anywhere you want to continue stamping your personal brand, whether it’s on a blog, on someone else’s website where you’ve been invited to write a guest post, etc.

Headshots

The need for a great headshot is probably fairly obvious, but let’s reiterate it anyway: people want to know who they’re doing business with. Your personal image is connected to your personal brand. So the two need to relate to one another, rather than being contradicting. For instance, if your brand is laidback and low-key, and your headshot is you in a three-piece suit, that’s going to confuse customers. You want things to be seamless in all aspects of your personal branding.

Make sure, when you make an appointment to do your Chicago headshots photo shoot, that you ask for a few headshots. Take at least a couple headshots, for different occasions. While your personal brand might be mellow, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a dressy headshot for certain occasions, so long as your personal brand is still reflected in the shot.

Goal-Oriented

Clearly, you need a goal in order to succeed in business. And knowing that goal will allow you to work with your photographer. Tell him/her what your goal is. What message do you want potential customers to walk away with after seeing your brand? Your photographer’s job is to help you deliver that message.

Part of your goal with a photo shoot should be to convey your values. Customers resonate to a personal brand that has clearly designed and conveyed values. Make sure your photographer is informed about those, so he/she can help you get them across.

Essentially, a photographer will work backwards. He/she will start with your goals and build the photo shoot around that purpose. Remember that you’ve only got a few seconds to make that first impression, so this photo shoot is all about making those moments count.

Use the images from your Chicago professional headshots photo shoot on social media, your business website, any blogs, and any niches that you know possible clients will see those pictures. The more people see you, the more they will begin to feel they trust you, so long as your personal brand consistently lines up with the image you’ve conveying and the needs of your desired audience.

Brands Aren’t Stagnant

Your business is going to grow and change. As such, your brand should develop alongside it. That doesn’t mean you should ever completely throw out what you started with, since that will bewilder customers, but brands are anything but fixed. You consistently grow as a person throughout life. So should your brand.

Let’s be clear up a misconception here: brands aren’t just for people already well-established. Far from it. They begin when a business starts out and follow it through, building clientele along the way.

No question about it—you need to invest in your brand. That includes paying for a professional headshot session in Chicago so you get the absolute best possible photographs. And you’ll occasionally need to do another similar session, as your business evolves. You want to keep things fresh. Always look to the future—toward where you want to get.

We’ll say it again because it bears repeating: professional photos that reflect your personal brand, which convey who you are, what you represent, and what you do are key. So make the most of that session with a trained professional. Use his/her expertise to ensure you look photogenic, approachable, trustworthy, etc. Everyone will be looking at those pictures, whether it’s influencers who can then help promote your brand, bloggers, possible business partners, etc.

Undoubtedly, on a daily basis you have a certain routine. Certain tasks that you can’t skip without paying a price. Make personal branding part of that routine, even if it’s not necessarily daily. Carve out consistent time to focus on it, including that first photo shoot and follow-ups down the road.

You want to reach a lot of people, right? You have something wonderful to offer. That’s why you’re in business. So the more eyes land on your personal brand, the more people you can help. Conversely, if nobody sees your pictures (possibly because you haven’t taken them), your personal brand will never establish itself and that’s a massive opportunity lost to make a difference in people’s lives.

Take the time to get it right. Sit down early on and figure out who and what you and your business are. Contact someone to take your professional headshots in Chicago. Discuss the plan with the photographer. Clue him/her into where you are and where you want to go. Ensure that your photo shoot reflects and establishes your goals. The bottom line is that if you take personal branding seriously, you will see serious results in return. 

I’m a Chicago-based professional headshot photographer with years of photography experience. Please review my Chicago Headshots Photography section for information and samples of my work, and book your headshot session today. 

Market Your Business With Professional Headshots

You know this already, but it bears emphasizing: image is a vital part of any business. We live in an increasingly visual society. Much of the business you do will be online and so the image you portray there may be the only way people can engage with you. They’ll either like it or they won’t—talk about first impressions being lasting. It’s a fact. 

If people do happen to meet you offline, say at a conference, they’re going to want to match your face to what they saw on a screen. If it doesn’t match, they may feel confused and even betrayed. That’s why a headshot is so key. 

Sure, you can take your own headshots, but they won’t have the polish that customers are looking for—when you work with someone yourself, you’re looking for professionalism, right? And part of professionalism is working with the best. A professionally trained photographer provides you with the tools to create a truly stunning headshot that will catch people’s eye in all the right ways. 

It’s important that you utilize professional Chicago headshots in order to ensure you present yourself in the best possible light.

Professional headshots are absolutely an investment that can help drive your business forward. With that mind, let’s talk about how you can make the most use of those Chicago headshots.

1. Tell your story visually

People are curious both about who you are and what makes your business tick. They want to know what led you to start your business and what your ultimate goals are. One way to share part of your story is through images.

Talk to your professional photographer about exactly those things—where you’re starting, where you want to end up. A photographer can help you create the full arc of a story in images. His or her job is to clearly convey whatever message it is you have in mind.

Take a minute to consider that message. Who are you? What is your personality? You want to make sure your headshot matches what people see when they meet in person. For instance, if your headshot involves laidback clothes and then you meet a client while wearing a three-piece suit, there’s a confusing discrepancy. It can throw people off very quickly and lose you a potential customer or ten.

Make sure your photographer helps you get across who you are and not who you think you should be. People respond best to authenticity.

2. Be unique

You are unique—of that, there is no doubt. And so is your company. So make sure you use your headshots to help establish that firmly in readers’ minds. Allow yourself to be inspired by things that aren’t necessarily conventional. For instance, maybe your company plans trips for people. And maybe the reason you chose to start the company is because of a particularly fantastic trip that made you go “Wow! I want other people to have this great a time while they’re on vacation!” Tell that story to the photographer. He or she can help you infuse that excitement and energy into your images.

Or maybe your business is a restaurant. Did your grandmother inspire you to cook a certain cuisine? Again, tell the photographer. Share those memories that inspired you and allow them to be used in your headshots to inspire other people to see the real you. 

It could be specific colors incorporated into a headshot, textures, logos—the sky is the limit so long as you clearly communicate with the photographer. Keep in mind that people want to get to know you. They’re far more likely to engage with a brand they feel they really know. And that’s what you’re establishing with your headshots—a brand that stands out in the crowd.

If your headshot causes potential customers to come over and start sharing a story of their own which they relate to your headshot, you’ve made a personal connection. Nothing is more vital to a business’ success than those moments.

3. Establish your goals visually

Once you’ve established who you are in a potential customer’s eye, it’s important to follow that up with where you’re going. Customers want to follow you on that journey but in order to do so, they need a road map. Your headshot can help create that by setting a consistent tone. It goes back to not wearing one thing in a shot and then being a person who never wears that type of clothing in real life. The way you dress, act, and speak should all be consistent with how you come across visually in your headshot.

Similarly, make sure your headshot doesn’t imply you want to achieve one thing when you’re interested in something entirely different. Tell the photographer your future plans and make sure those are conveyed. Transparency is vital to gaining customer trust.

4. Make a mood board

Before you get your professional headshots done in Chicago, spend some time looking around for visual inspiration to further help you share who you are and what your business is. Inspiration can strike anywhere—online, during day-to-day interactions, in stores, you name it.

When you walk into a photo shoot with a mood board, it immediately helps provide your photographer with clarity. If you’ve got a team helping you, such as stylists or makeup artists, make sure you include things they can also use to guide their work. They can’t read your mind but they can read the pictures on your mood board and use them as a concrete reference.

Mood boards are fantastic for helping create a cohesive vision whether it’s of how you want to be personally portrayed, how you want a business or product depicted, etc. It helps you quickly establish a certain aesthetic that you can then consistently apply. Again, as mentioned before, a consistent tone is key.

I’m a Chicago-based professional photographer with years of headshot and portrait experience. Please review my website’s Headshots and Portraits sections for information and take a look at samples of my work. Then book your session today!

Building A Compelling Brand With Personal Branding Headshots

Some people overlook the importance of clearly establishing a personal brand. Today’s world is indisputably digital—and every bit as visual. Online platforms are increasingly your first opportunity to create a lasting, positive, professional impression on prospective clients. They’ll be looking at all the little details, and that includes examining your headshot for signs of professionalism and trustworthiness.

Yes, it can be a little unnerving to realize how important a good headshot is, especially if you’ve never before considered it. But it’s just logical, really—just like offline, your appearance matters to people. It’s all about building personal brands, starting with you. So one of the best investments you can make in your business is to find a great photographer who specializes in professional headshots in the Chicago area. If you pick the right personal, the photographer will guide you through all the ins and outs of getting an amazing headshot—one that will project exactly what you want people to see when they ‘walk in’ to your virtual business.

To that end, let’s discuss some tips for helping you get that great headshot.

Practice Makes Perfect – And that goes double for practicing your photoshoot pose. Since you may be a little nervous once you get in front of a camera, a great way to prepare is to practice some poses in the mirror at home the day before the shoot. You might feel a little silly, but it’ll be worth it when you feel that much more confident in front of the photographer. 

  • As you’re practicing your poses, remember that posture counts, so don’t slouch. 
  • Be aware of your chin—not tilted up or down, but in a neutral position.
  • Don’t aggressively face the camera dead-on. A slight angle is more inviting.
  • Figure out where you want your hands to go so, the day of the shoot, you’re not awkwardly trying to figure out if they should rest on your lap, get jammed in your pockets, etc.
  • By the same token, practice not posing your hands and arms rigidly. Practice relaxing them.
  • Practice poses both sitting up and standing. When you’re sitting, remember to keep yourself slightly angled, your head tilted just a bit.
  • Watch your eyes in the mirror until they convey the impression you want—warmth, trustworthiness, etc.
  • Also practice facial expressions—this is key so you don’t come across as too rigid or even too relaxed.

Pick Your Clothes Ahead of Time – The last thing you want to be doing the day of the shoot is scrambling around, frantically trying to find the right outfit. Give yourself time before the designated day to figure out what you want your clothes to represent to your clientele. If you’re a business professional, that may be a suit. If you’re in a different industry, your clothes might be more relaxed. Whatever your line of work or the people you want to network with, make sure your outward image matches the brand you’re creating. A solid color blouse or shirt is always a good bet, so long as the solid color isn’t distracting. Vertical stripes (not horizontal, as they pack on the camera pounds) are also okay, so long as you know the photoshoot background won’t clash with them. Consider everything from shoes and ties to jewelry and makeup. If you’re not comfortable doing your own makeup, it’s absolutely fine to hire a team to help you out at the shoot. You want to look your very best and stylists and makeup artists are trained to make that happen.

Location, Location, Location! –How you look matters. So does the environment around you. It could be your workplace or a studio or another place that’s appropriate to whatever image you’re trying to convey. Whichever place you pick, remember that the environment will set the mood. So if you’re in business and want to come across as professional, a nice office or a studio with great lighting and a white backdrop may be appropriate. If you’re looking to come across as a little more casual, but still professional, talk to your photographer about softening whatever background you’ll be using. You might also consider an outdoor shoot for your Chicago headshots Session. 

Now that you’re prepped for your shoot, let’s discuss your brand.

Build Your Personal Brand

Products on grocery store aisles have specific aspects that customers return to again and again—the so-called ‘preferred brands.’ But when it comes to a personal brand, you’re the product! Branding is about selling yourself. Think about a product you particularly like. Would you be happy if, overnight, the quality changed or it was overhauled completely in a way that contradicted all the things you liked about it? Probably not. Treat your brand the same way. You have to make sure you keep a consistent, trustworthy, reliable image that your customers know they can count on. Your brand should immediately tell people who you and your business are and what you stand for.

Here are some tips to helping you establish that consistent, valuable brand that will clearly convey what services you and your business have to offer:

  1. What do you have to offer? Think it over. It’s no small thing to figure out where your brand should fall—there are millions of other people branding themselves, after all. Millions of products. Millions of competitors. In order to go head-to-head with them, you have to stand out, and the only way to do that is to figure out some very key details. Sit down and take some time to make detailed notes answering the following questions:
    1. What are the services you’re selling? This should include products, prices, etc.
    2. What makes those services unique/different from the competition?
    3. What makes YOU different? In other words, if your services are similar to others that already exist, how is the way you provide them different and better?
    4. Why should customers pick you and your business?
  2. Who is your audience? There’s a specific niche that you want to make sure you reach. What is that niche? This is key because once you’ve identified that audience, you’ll avoid wasting time trying to engage and sell to people who have no interest at all because your product isn’t appropriate to them. Knowing your audience means you learn what they specifically need and want and deliver that directly. It’s all about what they need, which leads you to who they are.
  3. How do you want to come across? This relates directly back to your headshot. What is the image you want to convey? People want to feel they know the face behind the company they’re trusting with their business. Your job is to consider how you, the literal face of your brand, are going to accomplish that. Once you know that, you can discuss it with the person taking your professional Chicago headshots and the photographer can help make sure the right image is captured.
  4. Talk it up! You know who you are. You know what you’re selling. You know how you’re selling it and who your audience is. You’ve got a great headshot to convey the exact right image. Now your job is to get all that information out to potential customers. How?
    • Instagram and Facebook – These are key when it comes to marketing, especially from the personal end of things. Instagram and Facebook are perfect for conveying the visual aspect of your brand. Make sure you post regularly and that your posts are always in line with the image you want to project. Especially on Instagram, don’t neglect hashtags and captions—make sure those are carefully chosen and directly targeted to your audience. Keep both these accounts regularly updated. Engage with your followers. And always stay on brand!
    • Twitter – No, it’s not just for kids. Twitter is great to promote your other social media accounts. It’s also perfect for blasting out a short, important message to all your followers about promotions you’re running, things your customers need to be in the know about, etc.
    • LinkedIn – Professionals have made a home on LinkedIn and so should you. It’s a great place to network and further establish your brand. Make sure you have an outstanding résumé posted, reviews from satisfied former clients and/or business partners, a clear description of the services you offer, and of course, a fantastic headshot.
    • Your Own Website – Make sure it’s professional, reflects your brand, clearly lists your services and pricing, etc. But don’t make it so businesslike that it’s stuffy—include fun (appropriate) pictures. Maintain a regular blog. The key is always to provide a platform to engage with potential customers. Give them a place to ask questions and dialogue with you.
  5. Be Trustworthy – We’ve said it repeatedly and it bears repeating once more: your customers need to trust you. Everything you do in terms of personal branding should be geared toward helping them understand why you’re the person they should hand their business to. All of the above steps we’ve outlined will help you do just that.

I’m a professional photographer based in Chicago, IL, with years of experience doing portraits and headshots. Visit Chicago Headshots Photography Section for samples of my professional work and to read testimonials from satisfied customers. Then give me a call and let me help you take a great headshot that will allow you to start building your personal brand!

Environmental Headshots vs Portraits: Marketing with Photography

What is an environmental portrait and how can it help you market yourself or your business? The simplest way to break it down is to explain the difference between a professional headshot, a business portrait and an environmental portrait.

What is a Headshot?

A professional headshot is the most common type of photograph taken for the specific purpose of marketing or branding. A headshot is a close-up photograph of a person which is traditionally cropped from their chest to slightly above their head. (Rules are meant to be broken). A headshot puts the focus squarely on the subject and works well to put a face to a name or give viewers an idea of who they’re doing business with.

Headshot of Chicago Female

What is a Business Portrait?

A business portrait (this is where things get confusing) is a portrait without defined cropping that in some way represents the subject as they would like to be seen by their customers. This type of portrait can be cropped anywhere from 3/4 to full length and is taken in a neutral setting that isn’t associated with the subject’s work or life. Think of a photograph of a subject standing in a formal outfit in a photography studio, or a writer photographed in a park. The background or setting in this type of photograph serves no function but to compliment the subject.

What is are Environmental Headshots?

An environmental portrait is a portrait taken of a subject in a surrounding that is specifically chosen to help tell their story; often their home or workplace. They are a great way to give your clientele a glimpse into your work or workplace culture. While it’s true that a headshot fits best on a business card or the “meet the staff” section of your company’s website, an environmental portrait can be just as powerful of a marketing tool if used correctly.

Portrait of commercial sales rep in Chicago showroom

Why Consider an Environmental Headshot Session?

Consider a real estate agent who’d like to stand out from the pack and get out the message that they are the person who you’ve been looking for to help you find your dream home. Yes, a nice headshot of their smiling face might give you a good impression of their overall vibe (friendly, serious, creepy), but a brightly lit portrait of the same real estate agent standing in a fantastic-looking modern kitchen lets you know that they are the person who can land you a place like the one on the photograph.

How about a chef or a restaurateur? Food tv has created celebrities out of people who, not long ago, were completely anonymous to the average person who didn’t put a whole lot of thought into who was cooking their food. Foodie culture has taken over and websites like Eater, TimeOut and Infatuation are constantly hipping us to the best new place in Chicago to bánh mì or Duck Confit Hash Browns (full-disclosure: I’m sort of a fast-food guy). More than ever before, when customers go out to eat they want to know whose behind their culinary experience. Sure, a nice website with an easy to read menu is helpful but a portrait of the restaurateur or head chef inside of his establishment gives your customer a better a look at the people behind their night out.

When most people think of a large company or corporation they don’t think much past the name on the building. Portraits taken in offices and conference rooms are a great way to portray your people in their element.

The list goes on: from small business and startups looking to show off the culture of their workplace to bloggers needing imagery to compliment the lifestyle they write about to artists with their work, musicians in the studio, fitness coaches in the gym – the list goes on.

Simply put: when simple head and shoulders headshots aren’t enough o tell your story of you or your business then you may want to consider environmental portraits.

Portrait of a man in a chair

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a Chicago-based commercial furniture sales company called LevelReps. They were a great example of how an environmental portrait can be used to display a company’s culture.

Prior to the photoshoot, if you’d asked me to describe to you my idea of a commercial furniture sales rep, I’d likely have described something out of the used car salesmen book of stereotypes; a bad toupee stuffed into an ill-fitting suit, desperate to make a sale. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The team at LevelReps is an enthusiastic group of young professionals.

Before every shoot, I like to do a little research into the company to get a feel for what I’m walking into. After digging around on their website and reading through their employee bios, I was left with the impression that they we’re a tight-knit group, with a good sense of humor about themselves. While you never know what you’re going to get before you show up, I walked in hoping to deliver photographs that aligned with the vibe of their bios.

Throughout the photoshoot, I worked with alongside one of their team members to create casual portraits that utilized their new showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart as a backdrop. (The posing options in a furniture showroom are limitless!) . Not only were we successful in showing off the LevelReps team and their personalities but the photographs give their clients an idea of the style of product that they as a company represent. A headshot can’t do that.

Not all environmental portraits need to be strictly “professional.” (Whatever that means?) This type of portraiture works wonders for people operating in creative fields, too.

Portrait of a Chicago artist staring into the camera

I recently had the opportunity to take some portraits of Chicago artist John A. Kurtz in his home studio. John works in multiple mediums: painting, photography, illustration, and sculpture whose work has been shown at many museums including the Art Institute of Chicago and the Evanston Art Center and published in several publications such as Playboy Magazine and Chicago Magazine.

I’d been on the hunt for interesting people to photograph when it was suggested to me by his niece that I should photograph her uncle in his studio. I was excited about the opportunity. Several months, a few canceled dates, and an art show where I was finally able to introduce myself to John later, he was kind enough to let me and his niece come over and take some portraits of him in his element.

 

Candid portrait of a Chicago artist in his kitchen

If the basis of this blog post is to answer why an environmental portrait could be the right marketing tool for you, then you might be asking yourself “how does an environmental portrait benefit an old artist like John?” It’s true, John’s the rare individual whose been able to carve out a successful and life-long career in, what essentially amounts to, being creative. We should all be so lucky. The guy’s displays more personality in the hat that he wears than most of us is capable of on a three-beer-buzz. So, yes it’s a valid point that John’s probably not overly concerned with marketing or personal branding at this point in his career.

However, let’s say that John’s got a show coming up. We’ve all been given flyers or invites to facebook events for someone’s art show or theater performance, etc. We’ll take a quick glance at the piece that they’ve chosen to represent the show, the date and time and decide whether or not we want to attend. (Just how close are we to the person in question?)

These portraits give the viewer a glimpse into John’s life and work. They stoke your curiosity, and instead of thinking “I wonder who I can drag along to this thing with me?”, you’re thinking, “This guy looks interesting. I bet his show’s going to be interesting. I should check it out.” John’s allowing you into his world in these portraits and you might just decide that you’d like to see more, which is a hell of a lot more effective as a marketing tool than one his paintings on a postcard with a date and time.

Portrait of a Chicago artist at work in his studio

To put it simply, in today’s internet era, people want to see who they’re dealing with. Headshots, business portraits, and environmental portraits are all extremely effective ways to emerge from the shadows of your website and give your clients and customers an idea of who you are and what you and/ or your business are all about. When a close-up shot of your smiling mug isn’t enough then you might want to consider scheduling an environmental portrait session.