I’ve realized that my images for my social media were not the greatest for some time now. First I told myself it didn’t matter because the photos “weren’t that bad” and a “writer was supposed to look accessible, like a real person”. Then I decided to ask a friend or family member to take pictures of me in more professional garb, reasoning that a suit or blazer would somehow negate the fact that the lighting and background weren't ideal and my expression was often-well-goofy.
Finally I ran out of excuses. The real impetus to change was my impending nonfiction book on college transfer. For some reason I was able to accept the fact that my 500+ LinkedIn connections, Twitter followers, and visitors to my blog or website were seeing a substandard version of me on a regular basis. However, I couldn’t stomach the idea of an unprofessional photo on a book jacket or cover. Go figure!
How did I choose a professional photographer for my headshot?
First I thought about the area I live in. I decided that Rochester might be my best bet to "photo shop"since there are lots of traditional and non-traditional businessmen and women in that area.
Next I went online and Googled “headshot photographers”. Once I had a list of names, I went to their websites. The one I felt would best suit my needs was “One Sharp Joe”. I was impressed with Joe's attention to detail, both in terms of the layout of his site and the information he provided about what a photo shoot would entail.
There was a client questionnaire to fill out and he offered many suggestions about what to wear- like how many different outfits you should bring and what colors worked best. He also advised how far in advance of the session you should have your hair cut and colored, something I had never even thought about. Additionally, he seemed to be conscious that many of his clients would be working with a budget. After reading his glowing reviews, I was sure I had made the right choice!
When I arrived at the amazing studio in an old railroad station, this was confirmed. Joe and the professional makeup artist he recommended I hire (who is used to working with the lighting he uses and is totally worth the extra cost) were both relaxed, reassuring, and honest, all qualities they needed to set me at ease. The experience was unbelievably painless, a selection of images arrived in my Inbox shortly afterwards, and I am thrilled with my new professional photo that actually looks like me on a good day!
Having a professional image to use in a variety of ways is a must these days. Keep in mind that you will usually get what you pay for. Free may be appealing but, as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words. Even to a writer!