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What is Personal Branding Photography?

If you’ve been in the business world for even a short time, you may have heard someone say that you need to know your own personal brand. With the rapid growth of social media, the gig economy, and digital dominance, personal branding photography is becoming an essential element for those who desire a successful career. […]

Why Do Medical Schools Ask for Headshots?

Many documents are required when applying for admission to upper-level academic institutions and programs. Applying for med school involves completing a series of documents, and you’ll be asked to include a recent photo with your application. Since you are trying to make a good impression and show your professional side, it’s best to forget about […]

Portrait vs. Headshot: What’s the Difference?

When you start talking about photography, it can be hard to distinguish between a portrait vs. a headshot. At first, it may seem that it’s just a matter of terminology. But that is just not so. The simplest way to state it is that a headshot is a type of portrait, with one of the […]

Realtors Marketing Without Headshots: Is It a Good Idea?

Real estate professionals do a lot more than help their clients buy or sell properties. They must sell their personal brand. Buyers and sellers have lots of options when choosing a real estate agent. Branding and marketing strategies can help you stand out and show clients you are your best choice. Realtors marketing without headshots […]

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.

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 follow these 10 tips for success:

  1. Choose the date carefully. Ideally, pick something a few weeks away, for various reasons. Maybe you want a chance to get the perfect haircut but need a few weeks to settle into it. Maybe just another couple sessions at the gym will put you right where you want to be. Or maybe you just need a bit of time to corral everybody’s schedules for the picture. Whatever your reason, giving yourself a little breathing room pre-spring photoshoot is a great idea.
  2. Figure out your photoshoot style. Use that extra scheduling time to ask yourself some questions. What do you want your photoshoot to be like? Formal? Informal? Part of it depends on your kids, of course. You can only get so formal if you have squirming toddlers! So consider your kids’ ages and individual needs as you decide whether doing a fun home shoot is a great idea or whether maybe a more structured photoshoot with a Chicago family photographer in a studio might be best. Since the weather’s beautiful, you might also want to take advantage of the great outdoors. It all depends on your family’s needs.
  3. If you have kids, factor that into your planning. Kids are gonna kid. That’s what they do! So when you’re thinking about a photoshoot, little details like timing are especially important if youngsters are involved. Don’t schedule the shoot during naptime, for instance. That’s just asking for cranky tiny tots. Similarly, if you have older kids, don’t schedule the shoot when they’re supposed to be doing soccer practice or some such fun activity. Pick a date that works for everyone as much as possible.
  4. Remember snacks! If you have kids, feed them before the shoot. Then be sure to also bring along some treats. Juice boxes or water bottles are also a good idea. Nothing messy, mind you—but a few favorite goodies are sure to keep the smiles on the faces of little kids and older ones, too.
  5. Pick everyone’s clothes ahead of time. Don’t try to throw outfits together the night before. That’s an outright nightmare! Instead, spend a few days figuring out what people will wear, making sure you dress for the weather. Sure, it’s spring, so spring-like clothes are wonderful. But take along several outfits, maybe including one with long sleeves, just in case. Multiple outfits also allow for more variety at the shoot. Plus, if one gets messy because … kids … then you have several backups.
  6. Speaking of clothes—coordinate? Yes! Match? Eh … careful with that! If your family members wear similar shades of blue, for example, that’s fine. Or if you choose patterns that sort of resemble one another, also okay. What you don’t want is for everyone to be wearing the equivalent of a uniform. The photoshoot is supposed to be fun! Let people express their individual personalities! Matching is really not necessary. What is important is some color. Spring is all about colorful flowers and sunny days and bright green grass. Choose outfits that reflect the season!
  7. Consider props. Bring along some accessories like sports equipment for kids or fun hats, a favorite musical instrument, or anything else that reflects the individual character of each family member. And as we said earlier, bring multiple outfits, both for fun and just in case.
  8. Where’s it gonna be? Location matters—that’s a given. Maybe you have some special family places you want to visit. Or maybe you want to follow the spring weather to a beautiful park. Whatever your whim, it’s all good, with a couple caveats. While you should definitely pick a few places, remember that you want to maximize your photoshoot and not spend the entire time driving between locations. So places that are close together are good. Also—scout out the locations you’re considering, to see any rules they have about photoshoots. Finally, talk to your photographer. He or she will definitely have great suggestions to go along with your needs!
  9. Chill! Spring is here. After you’ve done your photoshoot prep, there’s every reason for you to just relax and enjoy the amazing weather with your family. If you’re having fun, that will absolutely be reflected in your pictures. It’s fine if kids goof off somewhat. That’s part of who they are and what they do and in years to come you’ll look back and smile at their antics. You want the photographs to really reflect who you are as a family. You can only do that if you allow yourselves to act naturally. Trust your photographer and enjoy the day.
  10. Choose your photographer carefully. Last but not least, you want to pick someone you trust. Do your research online into family photographers in Chicago. Talk to friends. Make phone calls. Meet the photographer beforehand. It’s important that you feel comfortable and like there’s some kind of rapport between the photographer and your family. His or her job is to guide you through the shoot, and that can only happen if you feel comfortable openly communicating your family’s photoshoot needs.

None of these tips are rocket science! But if you follow them, you’ll be well-prepared for a successful, fun photoshoot. The photos will be permanent memories, of course, which you’ll hand down through the generations. That said, you also want to remember the day itself fondly.

I’m a professional family photographer based out of Chicago, IL, with years of family portrait experience. Please review my Chicago family portrait photography section for information and samples of my work. Then book your session today!

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 comes to capturing a permanent memento—one you want to hang on your wall for generations to contemplate in years to come—there’s nothing like a professional portrait. A quick iPhone snap just can’t replicate the technology available to a professional Chicago family portrait photographer or all the years of experience a trained professional brings to the table.

So absolutely, keep taking those amazing on-the-fly iPhone shots, but also take a minute to read why it’s a great idea to also engage a professional photographer to complement your own photographs.

1. Document Memories Permanently

Sure, you can print out high-quality iPhone shots. But let’s face it—they’re not going to be the same quality as pictures done in a professional studio. Why does that matter? Because it’s the little details that you want to capture and preserve for posterity. Family pictures are time capsules of sorts. While you’ll enjoy them in the moment they’re taken, down the road your grandkids (and maybe great grandkids!) and their families will undoubtedly ask about the family history. What better way to share stories than by pairing them with a wonderful portrait? 

A professional photographer can help you capture a moment that you want to share in time someday, from the background to the poses to suggestions about what you’re wearing to ensure that you and your family are best represented in your picture. Then, after your family portrait has been professionally captured, it will be printed on materials that won’t fade or yellow over time like a normal snapshot would. That way it’ll be almost as crisp and fresh in 50 years as the day it was taken and will give your future family members a real window in that special moment in time. Let’s face it: these portraits will be part of your legacy, artwork heirlooms to be shared throughout the decades, and therefore they need to be of the highest quality, so they last forever. 

2. Create a Visual Timeline

Yes, you want a beautiful family portrait for future generations. But you also want it for yourself, so you don’t forget all those little moments that happen so fast they’re gone before you even realize it. Your child taking a first step. Meeting Santa for the first time. Losing a tooth. Going to the prom. Driving away in their first car to head to college. It happens in the blink of an eye and a wonderful way to make sure those special moments are indelibly etched in literal ink is to have a professional family portrait done each year. That way you can capture one unique moment in each year of your lives together, which represents all the growth that has occurred. 

Think about how much fun you have looking at friends’ family portraits and smiling at the changes in fashion, scenery, etc. over the years. Yearly family portraits will serve as forever reminders of who you and your loved ones were at key moments and who you eventually became.

3. Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone

It’s a sad truth—life happens, and not always in the happiest of ways. Precious mementos get destroyed. People pass away. And you may not even know you wish you had a concrete, physical memory to hold in your hands until it vanishes in a flash. It’s yet another reason why having family portraits is so vital—after you lose a loved one, you’ll realize how much you wish you had beautiful pictures that clearly show all the wonderful times you spent together. Whether done in studio or at a picturesque Chicago location, family portraits will bring a smile to your face and help you keep those special memories vividly alive every day as you walk by them where they hang in pride of place.

4. Nothing says HOME like a Family Portrait

Modern art is beautiful and has a place in any house, for sure. But if you think about the warmest, coziest homes, they always also have family portraits hanging up. That’s because nothing can replicate the feeling of looking at a picture and getting that feeling of belonging, of rootedness in family and love. It shows people what you value most and can brighten the darkest day as you glance over and remember the happy moment when that photograph was taken.

5. Family Portraits are Great for Kids!

Kids need to feel a sense of belonging—that’s a basic psychological fact. And having consistent, visible evidence of special moments helps them to develop a sense of being well-grounded in the love of those who care for them most. Being a part of a family portrait gives your children the knowledge that they are part of a bigger whole, a family that deeply cares for them and will always be there through the best of times and worst. 

While a phone backdrop is great, there’s just nothing like having a physical picture to touch and hold to make a memory fully multisensory. Taking family portraits and making a tradition of spending time every so often looking at them with your kids and talking about them, even looking into the future when your children will have their own adult portraits done, is a very special moment.

6. Getting a Family Portrait Done is Fun!

It really is, no matter what you may be thinking about the chaos of rounding up all the kids, choosing the outfits, getting everyone to smile, etc.All those moments are just part of the overall wonderful memory. A professional photographer will guide you through the shoot and make it a joyful, fun time that will only add to the memories you and your family already share. You’ll find yourself looking forward to having your portrait done each year!

7. Life Goes Fast

We said it before, but it bears repeating: life happens in a flash. If you sit around always thinking “oh, I’ll get a portrait done next year … next year … I just haven’t exercised enough … my hair doesn’t look right … I don’t know if we can coordinate everyone’s schedules” eventually it will be too late. In addition to all the usual life events that bring families together and apart, in this day and age it’s very common for people to move far away and so it becomes that much harder to bring everyone together for a picture. The moments will have passed and you won’t have them to remember except at the back of your mind, where time is sure to eventually erode them. 

Don’t let that happen to you. Take the time to really think about the value of family portraits and consider booking an appointment with a professional photographer today so down the road, you’ll always have those memories right in front of you to cherish. We can promise that someday, your kids will want to have those pictures to look at, and even if it takes a bit of effort to bring everyone together, it will be worth it down the road. Make a family portrait a tradition that becomes part of the fabric of your lives! Start today.

I’m a Chicago-based professional family portrait photographer with years of family portrait experience. Please look over my Chicago Family Portraits Section for information and samples of my family and children’s portrait work, and book your session today.

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.

You may be a little nervous about Portrait Day, or have questions about what you can do to make things go as smoothly as possible. Don’t worry—that’s the photographer’s job! But there are a few things that can help you prepare.

The Day Before Your Family Portrait Session

  • Take it easy. Get some rest – you don’t want to look tired in the pictures.
  • Hydrate! The key to radiant skin is drinking plenty of water.
  • Don’t drink alcohol – it dehydrates your skin and ends up emphasizing all the fine lines on your face. That’s the opposite of what you want for your picture.
  • Pick outfits – you do not want to be scrambling to find outfits the day of the session
  • Pack snacks for any little kids
  • Make sure everything is packed and ready to go so the day of the session all you have to do is round up the troops and head for the session.

Choosing Makeup

  • Carefully choose your foundation so there’s no telling “line” where it doesn’t blend seamlessly into your skin. Ensure it’s a clean match all over, from your face to your neck.
  • Don’t overdo it – simple is best when it comes to portrait makeup. Especially don’t lay the blush on too heavy.

Choosing Outfits

  • Clothes can make or break a portrait. So don’t just reach for something random in closet.
  • Keep in mind that your clothes need to complement everyone else’s clothes in the portrait.
  • Keep everyone’s outfit to a similar shade. You don’t need to all be matchy-matchy, but similar tones help create a pleasing visual effect.
  • If one person wears white, everyone should wear white. Otherwise there’s a color discrepancy that draws the eye only to the person(s) wearing brighter colors.
  • Avoid patterns – prints are distracting from the main focus of the photograph: you and your family!
  • I’ll say it again because it’s that important: avoid patterns! If just one person walks in wearing polka dots, that distracts from everyone else who isn’t.
  • Wear solid, dark colors.
  • If you’re doing the session outdoors, earthy colors like brown or green work well.
  • There’s no need to go ultra-formal. Dresses are fine, but jeans also look good in a portrait. They follow the solid, dark rule and everyone has a pair, so it’s easy to coordinate the look.
  • Bring multiple outfits. A dark and a light outfit are always a good idea.
  • Gather up people’s clothes the night before and lay them beside one another to make sure they’re visual complements.

If you have questions about any of the above, don’t hesitate to call your chosen photographer before Portrait Day. Professional portrait photographers also always have examples of great-looking ensembles on their websites.

Other Tips for a Successful Family Portrait Day

Remember, this is supposed to be a fun, happy memory in terms of the actual event, not just the final photograph. So, if you have children:

  • Pre-photo session, get your kids excited. Sure, all the camera gear and an unfamiliar guy taking pictures can be scary, so show them other family portraits, explain the process, tell them this is their chance to be “movie stars,” etc.
  • If possible, try to book a session that sticks with your kids’ regular schedule so you’re not cutting into a specific activity. They won’t be happy if they’re missing something they love – and that will absolutely show.
  • Give little kids a chance to nap before the session so they’re wide awake and not cranky.
  • To that end … don’t schedule a session during your kids’ regular nap time. Disrupting their schedule is never good, and especially not on Portrait Day.
  • Offer a post-photography session reward for kids as incentives for when they inevitably get bored or tired. 
  • During the session itself, make sure you have snacks on hand and just let the photographer know if your kids need a break. That’s absolutely fine.
  • I mentioned extra outfits before – this also applies to tiny tots. You never know if they might find a way to get messy. 
  • If the kids have super-cute outfits that you all love, but which don’t match everybody else’s, bring those outfits along, too. There might be a chance to do a photo of only the kids at the end of the session.

During the Session

  • Remember to have fun! This is supposed to be a wonderful memory-making day for everyone.
  • It’s okay to be relaxed and goofy – just be yourselves and that will come through in a beautiful picture.
  • Trust the photographer to guide you through the experience. That’s the person’s job!

To Sum it All Up

  • Relax the day before, so you look great the day of the session
  • Opt for dark, solid clothes
  • Just say no to patterns for this one day
  • Keep makeup natural
  • Planning ahead by picking and packing outfits ahead of time makes things that much easier
  • Bring several outfits, just in case, including a dark and a light option
  • Get any little kids excited about their big day and make sure you factor in nap time. 
  • Call before the session if you have any questions
  • Enjoy the day!

Finally, you might be wondering a little about Kyle Bondeson Photography. I’m a Chicago-based professional photographer who specializes in family portraits. many clients will attest to my professionalism and expertise. My goal is to make your family portrait session relaxed and fun, providing you with a great day, along with great pictures. I’m the guy who’s going to walk you through the whole photography session and ensure you have beautiful memories for years to come.

I have a degree in photography and have many years of experience doing family portraits in Chicago, but don’t just take my word for it—take a look at my Chicago Family Portraits Section to see samples of my work. Then, don’t hesitate! Call me today to book your appointment for a wonderful family portrait!