The head shot.
The headless head shot.
Getting a good headshot can define your look and give people the quick view into your personality. I have been practicing these shots on friends, kids, tractors, dogs and cows for a while now. Yesterday, I was given my first to opportunity to do a corporate shoot. I was nervous. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because I hadn’t stepped into an office full of well kept suits since my Wall Street days. The night before, I laid out all of my gear on the living room floor. I felt like I was getting ready for the Ironman when missing one crucial piece of equipment could be a game changer. There were little piles of batteries, flash units, light bulbs, and spares of everything required to get the shot. I am not sure who I was kidding but myself as I sat and watched some tutorials to help me get the nuances of corporate photography right. I would have been better off just relaxing and doing some online shopping at Jcrew or even better, falling into the mindless Netflix abyss. I showed up in Farmington, my car, packed to the ceiling with gear. I had no assistant like in the video to put it all together for me...bummer. I walked into the beautiful office and it felt strangely familiar. It brought me back to the days on the trading desk as everyone was dressed beautifully milling about doing financial “stuff”. It’s a world how in some miraculous way, money seems to be made and accrued by somehow moving paper and talking on the phone. It also reminded me that I was once the only employee on the trading desk unable to do fractions in my head despite the suit I wore. That story is for another day. Making money in the traditional sense requires really nice ties. I had almost forgotten who the fancy ties at the mall were really for. With my husband in scrubs every day day, I hadn’t bought one in years. I met the folks one by one and the wall of financial seriousness soon came down. Throughout the shoot, I had flash issues...the remote wouldn’t trigger the flash to illuminate my backdrop. Proof that I should have watched Netflix soon came as the “how to” video didn’t really tell me how to deal with equipment failure as your model patiently waits. There would be no miracle for that, but the clients were so cool, and we just kept chugging along. I love how each model that walks in is distinctly different. It’s like sampling all the ice cream flavors at Baskin Robbins. It’s what makes this job fun for me. But for the client, I realize that for any adult to step into a light filled room with a white backdrop parallels walking into the Twilight Zone. It’s an experience like getting your class photo taken, where you are the deer in the headlight. To pull them away from that, I treat him or her like she is one of the many cows or tractors I have photographed. Tell them they are beautiful as they are and that they are welcome to moo or spew out diesel fumes if they would like to. It’s all relative. So, I hope this genre suits me, even if I rarely wear a suit. There is much to see in this great big world and yesterday it was good to go back to a style of workplace that I once dwelled in. It may not have qualified for an episode of Dirty Jobs, but I came home feeling like Mike Rowe having a newfound insight into the world that some of us rarely see. Now when I walk by the tie rack at Neiman Marcus, I have a renewed appreciation for the people they adorn.
Where I started doing head shots.
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