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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.

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, cell phone photography allows for a kind of constant picture- taking that would have been impossible in years past. People want to capture moments, and they do. But are there still times when a professional Chicago photographer is a better bet than your phone? Absolutely, yes.

Consider: imagine you’re a car enthusiast. You love cars. You read about them. You drive as many different kinds as you can. You may chase vintage car shows around the country. You might even own a few beauties of your own. But are you really qualified to restore a car from start to finish if you’ve never had any professional training? You can probably muddle your way through. But the answer is, likely not. The final product won’t be what a professional could have produced.

The same goes for photography.

To be very clear: keep taking your own pictures, for sure. But just be aware that there are certain situations where, no matter how thoroughly you’ve done your research or how much money you’ve invested in cameras, you just need someone who is an expert. Read on to find out why hiring a photographer in Chicago, IL, may be your best bet sometimes.

1. It’s not just about the picture

Think of your favorite restaurant. While all restaurants have similar trappings—menus, tables, waiters—the one that keeps drawing you back undoubtedly has something unique to it which goes beyond food. The same goes for photography. Anyone can cook, right? If you want to throw together a meal, it’s just not that hard. But if you want to throw together a gourmet meal people will remember for years, you need experience. You need a professional. Plus, you want to eat that meal somewhere truly special. Same goes for photography—professional photoshoots are a full-on experience. To extend the analogy, they’re the meal plus the fine wine plus the amazing atmosphere and company. 

The best photographers create two kinds of memories: the photos they take of you and the memories of the day those pictures were taken. While you’ll hang the photographs in your home or in your office as a tactile memento which can be shared with everyone, the memory will be something you and the other people at the shoot will also cherish forever. 

There’s a reason once people find a professional photographer they really like, they go back to that person again and again. A kind of relationship is eventually established, adding to the overall experience. Think about a wedding you went to or any kind of party with a professional photographer in attendance. It’s likely you talk about the photographer in the same breath as the pictures he or she took, especially if that photographer was professional, kind, respectful, and even funny. The best photographers listen to your specific needs and make you aware that it’s your shoot—not theirs!

No matter how great your phone or how good you are at taking selfies, they just can’t match the full-on experience a professional will provide. 

Conversely, if you have a terrible experience with a photographer, I guarantee you’ll harbor that memory too. You’ll tell people all about it. That’s why professional photographers work very hard to make sure you have a wonderful time at your photoshoot. It’s in their best interest for you to walk away happy and to then keep coming back to them.

2. The pros know the tricks

Sure, cameras nowadays are amazing—that includes phone cameras and other types. But no matter how good the equipment is, it can’t take the place of experience. Just check out a professional photographer’s website and take a good look around. You’ll see they’re not bragging about all the fancy cameras they have. That’s because it takes more than a good camera to get a good shot.

It takes knowledge of angles and lighting. Knowledge about what constitutes a good location. Professional editing. And the list goes on—these aren’t things the average person with a nice camera can provide. It’s something that requires years of experience to become familiar with. 

Imagine that you want a photo shoot done and you have a specific place in mind to take the shot. It’s somewhere that holds special memories for you and you really want it as your backdrop. But you don’t take into consideration weather, time of day, or even what you’re wearing. That means, if you take your own picture, your clothes might clash with the beautiful background, diminishing it. Or the lighting might be completely off because of the angle of the sun, also impacting an otherwise beautiful picture. 

If you hire a professional, that person will be able to advise you on what to wear to best complement—rather than clash—with the background. A photographer can guide you as to what the best time of day is to get the best light. He or she will visit the location early and make sure everything is set up ahead of time for the best possible experience and results. By the same token, the photographer might suggest some other locations in addition to that special one, to make sure you get a variety of beautiful shots, including the ones at the special place.

While photographing you, the professional will pay attention to things you may never have heard of—or if you have, which you may not care about—such as shutter speed and composition. Those details are important, but they don’t need to be to you if someone else is handling the heavy lifting. A professional takes all that stress off you and lets you just enjoy the moment.

After the photo shoot, the photographer will carefully edit the pictures based upon what the two of you have discussed. You may want retouching. You might not. Either way, photographs can be enhanced, and your photographer will do the additional work to make sure your pictures come out to the highest standard.

While your phone or camera can take good pictures, it won’t advise you on your wardrobe, suggest where you should stand, note that a certain background is a little too cluttered, or mention that the lighting is doing you no favors.

Professional photography is truly an art, and of course, you can learn it. But it takes years of training and practice. A professional is trained in all the little details that you just can’t automatically learn the moment you buy a fancy new camera.

3. Equipment

Yeah, I’ve mentioned several times so far that equipment isn’t as important as skill, and it isn’t. Professional photographers can work magic even with minimal equipment. But let’s face it—if you want the very best photographs, having the right lenses, tripods, flashes, etc. is a big help. Photographers invest thousands in their equipment, curated carefully over the years until they find what works best for them. Nice equipment will give you a good picture. Excellent equipment, in the hands of a pro, will give you a beautiful photograph to hand down through the generations. 

Sure, you might be willing to shell out a fortune for a nice lens, but if you don’t know how to use it right, and/or you’re only planning on using it once or twice, why not save yourself that chunk of change and just hire a professional photographer instead? 

Go back to that car analogy from earlier. You might have the tools to do an “okay” restoration job, but a real pro will have the tools to do a job so great that your restored car might win awards. Same goes for professional photographers. They have the best equipment and know how to use it to maximum effect.

What it comes down to in the end

Do professional Chicago photographers cost money? Sure. But, as I noted earlier, you can spend the money on equipment you don’t know how to use yourself. You can spend hours trying to get the perfect family portrait, only to be disappointed. Or you can hire a professional Chicago family photographer and save yourself time, effort, and yes, even money, because if you buy equipment you can’t really use, that’s just flushing cash down the drain.

Whether you need a personal portrait, a family photograph, or want to hire a Chicago headshot photographer, investing in a pro is the best way to ensure your photographs turn out as beautifully as the memories that you’ll make taking them.

I’m a Chicago-based professional photographer with years of experience taking headshots, photographs of families and children, portraits, and high school senior pictures. Please review my portfolio for information and samples of my work, and then book your session today.

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 are some great suggestions for making your photoshoot easy, fun, and successful:

Create a day-before to-do list

Whether your portrait is being done in a studio or at your house, there are things that need to be done ahead of time. Those things could be as simple as dyeing your hair, putting up some artwork you want in the background, or purchasing a key hair accessory. It could also include “pack x, y, and z, before the photoshoot.” The more detailed the list, the more you can make sure you’re 100 percent ready the day of.

Compile a list of “absolute must” shots

Got a specific look you’re going for? A particular pose that can’t be missed? Put together a list of exactly the kinds of critical shots you want to make sure your Chicago portrait photographer doesn’t miss. Make notes on how you see those particular shots happening. And to that end …

Road test the poses for those “absolute musts”

Whatever pose it is you’re hoping to capture for perpetuity, practice it the day before. Draft a friend to take some pictures to help you make sure the look is coming out the way you want it to. Figure out what is and isn’t working. This saves all kinds of time and stress the day of the shoot.

The day before the shoot, pick out all parts of your outfit—and make sure you have several!

I’ll say it again, because it’s super important: all parts of your outfit should be picked out the day before, from earrings to shoes and everything in between so you’re not frantically figuring things out the day of. But even when you pre-plan, sometimes things don’t quite look or feel right once you get in front of the camera. So make sure you’ve got an assortment of accessories and wardrobe pieces to play with the day of the shoot.

Make sure you take along a printed list of pictures for the stylist to refer to

You know exactly what you want your makeup and hair to look like. The stylist does not, however, beyond anything you tell him or her, so any visual cues you can provide are helpful. Printed pictures are a great tool to make sure you get the exact look you’re hoping for. And again, emphasis on printed, because you never know if the Wi-Fi will go and you won’t be able to pull something up on your phone. Plus it’s just easier for a stylist to refer to a printed shot. Then, don’t be shy: after your stylist finishes up, make sure you’re happy with the look. If not, speak up! It’s their job to get it exactly right, so you’re happy.

Use Pinterest to your advantage

Whether it’s the backdrop, the lighting, your outfit, etc., Pinterest is fantastic for helping you organize key visual elements that you want to appear in your shoot.

Talk to your Chicago portrait photographers

Trust me, it’s very helpful when clients contact me ahead of time with questions and suggestions about planning the photoshoot. I can help you figure out what will and will not work with your ideas. The more photographers know, the better they can make the whole experience for you. And the better the outcome will be.

Make prep as simple as possible

Hair and makeup are key to the shoot, of course. If you don’t want that stress, hire a team of professionals to come help you get ready. It will take a huge weight off your shoulders if you don’t have to do the makeup store-salon-forgot the hair accessory dash. Have professionals help you out, and then take along some basics like lipstick which you can switch out as needed at the shoot.

Be confident

If you feel confident, you’ll look confident. It’s that simple. So work out the jitters before your photoshoot by practicing some power poses in the mirror. You might feel silly, but it works! Hands on your hips, straight spine, legs firmly planted—it’ll make you feel strong and then, when it comes to your photoshoot, you’ll look like one powerful person

Trust the photographer

A photographer’s job is to make a photoshoot a breeze. As one of Chicago’s most experienced portrait photographers, I can tell you with full confidence that one of the keys to a successful shoot is communication. I need you to tell me what you need. Similarly, you need to clearly convey your needs to the stylists and anyone else involved in the shoot. That said, the team taking your photographer has a great deal of experience, so be willing to take their advice. If they say something does or does not look good, they’re saying it with good reason: to make you look your very best.


Don’t over-caffeinate the day of the shoot. It’s likely you’re already nervous, so you don’t need anything else wiring you. Take a deep breath, put down the coffee, and breathe. It’s all going to turn out great!

Less is more when it comes to retouching

Yes, we can fix things after a shoot in Photoshop, but that’s not the point of a portrait shoot. What you want is to capture reality. No editing software is ever going to come close to looking as good as a real-life shot. Photoshop is great for little things like getting rid of that random hair that blew into your face on an otherwise perfect shot. But you hired an experienced photographer specifically to take advantage of that expertise. So when that photographer says “that doesn’t need to be retouched,” take those words to heart. You may not love every single little line on your face, and again, yes, Photoshop can work its magic, but sometimes those tiny details are what really make a portrait one for the ages.

I’ve been a Chicago-based professional photographer for many years. Visit my Chicago Portraits Section for information, and samples of my portraits work. Then book your Kyle Bondeson portrait session today!