I hate having my picture taken; gearing up for a portrait shoot is akin to eating nails. But it’s been three years since I’ve updated my business portrait. “Laura-posing-stiffly-in-neon-green-business-suit” was begging to be replaced with something fresh.
In keeping with my casual lifestyle, I decided to aim for a “Laura-somewhat-relaxed-in-comfortable-clothing” portrait.
Finding a photographer
I’d recently met Michelle Bartholomew, owner of Letter M Photography, at a Seattle-area networking meeting for business professionals. When I contacted her to ask whether she shoots business portraits, she said, “Sure.” Then she added the clincher: “I’ll come to you.”
Really? A freelance photographer who charges reasonable rates, has a beautiful portfolio, AND drives to my house to “shoot me” in the comfort of my own surroundings? What could be better for a camera-shy business owner? I booked her on the spot.
Then came the hard part: deciding what to wear.
I knew you’re supposed to wear solid colors for photo shoots, so I chose the only two casual, solid-colored shirts in my closet. That was easy!
Next, I considered poses and backgrounds.
I teach at writers’ conferences and wanted my portrait to reflect the “faculty” look and feel. So I visited conference Web sites, perused the headshots of the female faculty members, copied four outdoorsy poses I liked, and e-mailed them to Michelle.
Until I started looking closely at headshots, I wasn’t aware of just how many camera angle possibilities there are for a simple business portrait. There are extreme closeups, shots with a portion of the head cropped out, the full head-and-shoulders, facing right shots, facing left shots, straight-on shots, looking up shots, looking down shots, and even those dorky, hands-under-the-chin shots.
Just shoot me!
Finally, the day of the shoot arrived, along with Michelle. While I finished putting on my makeup, she trudged around my yard, and then set up her umbrella, flash, and reflector gizmo next to my rustic cedar fence (and later, next to some foliage in my front yard). Then she snapped away for what seemed like hours (even though it was only a few minutes).
Later that day, Michelle emailed me a password-protected link to my 38 best proofs. Once I choose my two favorites, she’ll touch them up to remove my wrinkles and blotches, and will send me a high-res version.
Michelle and I will also both sign a release form that grants me the license to use the photos I purchase however I want: on my Web sites, social media accounts, and in marketing materials.
Here’s my dilemma:
I can’t choose my two favorites! Will you help me decide? I will purchase one “pink” and one “blue” pose. Please vote for the two you like best, using the poll directly below the photo array (feel free to post comments, too).
You won’t want to miss tomorrow’s post — a terrific Q & A with Michelle that tells you everything you need to know about getting your business portrait taken.