Getting Professional Photos Taken
As a writer, journalist and publisher I often need a headshot for use in bios and articles. I’ve previously used a work photo, but since I didn’t own the image or have the licensing image, technically I wasn’t supposed to use it professionally. As such, I thought I would invest and get some professional photos use.
A few weeks ago, I went to a local studio to get photos taken for several exciting projects I have upcoming.
How I found a professional photographer
I searched for a local photo studio online, and found a reputable photographer in my nearby town. Happy with his portfolio and his prices (£100 for the whole shoot!) I emailed him to see if he had any availability. I explained what photographs I was after and why, explaining my jobs and he was happy to accommodate me.
Richard, the photographer, was absolutely lovely. We sorted out a date and he asked me to bring a few outfit options so we could take a variety of shots which would work across all the things I needed the photos for.
As a treat, I also booked a local make-up artist to get my make-up done on the day. I was keeping my make-up neutral as these photos were meant to be ‘me’ not some glamourised version of me. But I thought it would be better to go in with a professional base rather than my slap-dash foundation and eyeliner.
It was the first time I had had my make-up done since I was bridesmaid when I was seven. Very strange.
Since I knew I had to wear a mask in-between the time I was getting my make-up done and going to the studio, I didn’t put lipstick on until the last minute. Which made me look a little lip-less for a while – as you can see in the photo above.
The Studio Experience
The studio was everything you’d imagine a photography studio would be, even down to the floor to ceiling windows and a piano casually in the corner.
To get at ease and over the initial embarrassment of having a stranger take my photos, Richard and I sat in the back and had a discussion about life and COVID, of course. We got to know each other and talk about the projects I needed the photos for, so that he had a clear understanding of what I needed.
I liked the fact he was very down-to-earth, and that he openly acknowledged that it’s odd to come into a new place and randomly start smiling at someone. It was very bizarre, but within minutes I felt comfortable.
The fascinating things you learn during a photoshoot.
The first few shots were just lighting tests and didn’t involve me smiling, so I put on my lippie and tried sitting at various angles to find the best one. It turns out sitting towards slightly to the left is my best angle. And I discovered that my right eye is slightly smaller than my left – we all have one eye smaller than the other apparently.
When we got to the smiling portion of the session I told Richard ‘I need you to make me laugh’. Otherwise I kind of grimace or ‘stress smile’ which isn’t the best look on me.
‘Tits and Teeth’ was very much our motto during this photoshoot – yes, it’s inappropriate but it did make me laugh! There was a lot of banter back and forth, stupid stories and weird experiences where Richard would be talking about crappy COVID times only to tell me ‘SMILE!’ immediately afterwards.
I got to choose the music on in the background, so of course I went 80s. My initial request of ‘anything in the Top 40 four years ago’ went down like a lead balloon. Fair enough. It was a little bit of a Sally Albright from When Harry Met Sally kind-of request. #OnTheSide
With three outfits changes, various earring swaps and a consistent touching up of lipstick. I had over 250 photos to choose from. Richard was great and sent them to me immediately, and I chose my favourite 10. He edited them – mostly cutting out any unnecessary background and making sure the spot on my chin disappeared.
The results… 10 very useable professional photos for a variety of projects. There is the smiley ‘happy-go-lucky’ profile pic, the office-work shots. And even, the slightly enigmatic ‘I’m very intelligent’ (HA!) photo – I’ve always dreamed of owning one of these photos.
It was all very exciting, and I felt very glamorous for a day.
Of course I wouldn’t say you need to spend £125 on photos and make-up to get a headshot for your LinkedIn profile – although if you want to, go ahead. But with the amount of projects I have upcoming, and the fact that it really was an incredible price, it was well-worth the spend for me.
I will likely not need any professional headshots for another five years or so, maybe even longer. But when I do, I’ll get back in touch with Richard and my local make-up artist, Georgie, as they were lovely and delivered everything I wanted from them.