I first photographed twins, London and Katana, for Sacramento Parent Magazine’s cover kid competition about four years ago. They won – of course – and we got to hang out again a year later at a local kid’s clothing store for a subsequent shoot that was featured in the magazine.
Since then, these girls have gone on to have fun careers in modeling and acting, with London embracing modeling and Katana preferring acting roles. The two have such different personalities and you get, after spending time with them, why their energies pull them in different directions. London has an intensity and focus that works well for photography while Katana is more physical and curious.
Mom, Breata, contacted me recently for updated headshots of these awesome kids and we met at William B Pond Recreation area at sunset to capture that spark of uniqueness in each of them.
I’ve been having a ton of fun with head shot sessions lately.
If you didn’t know already, my A Better Head Shot Sessions are different from your typical, cookie-cutter head shots. I take time to get to know you, your business, what you represent, and what it’s important for your clients to feel about you when they see your photo for the first time. From there we come up with a game plan together: what to wear, where to shoot, what kinds of shots you need for what kinds of marketing materials. Because I know a bit about you before I pick up the camera and, with a clear plan in place, our session usually rolls along at a relaxed and fun pace for 30-45 minutes. Finally, instead of getting to choose one shot from a final 1-2 images (so you end up picking the one you hate least) you get 10-15 proofs and get to choose 5 digital images that you can use throughout your promotional pieces, online and in print.
This past month I have worked with three real estate agents (one of which is also a gifted painter, so we got to incorporate her beautiful artwork into the photos) and a health insurance broker. Here are some of my favorites.
Chiropractor, Dr. Jay (aka: Jason Bergerhouse), is an awesomely energetic, enthusiastic, and motivated guy. I met him a year ago through the BNI networking group I belong to; a group that is full of incredibly talented and passionate business owners and entrepreneurs. Every week, during a 45 second presentation that we get to give to the group about our business, Dr. Jay elevates the energy in the room, sharing real stories about how he transforms lives, not just spines, with his treatments. He’s fond of saying, tongue in cheek, that he is the best chiropractor he knows, and his humor and humility is definitely a critical asset when dealing with people in pain.
Which is why I was so thrilled to hear that he was taking the big leap and starting his own chiropractic business in Folsom.
Starting your own business is not for pussies; the financial risk, the potential for failure, the uncertainty, the hard work, the loneliness… and so I always have enormous respect for people who do it; whose passion is greater than their fear. It makes me want to pound my chest and fist bump in tribe-like solidarity. Because, you know, I get that. I’m here risking everything everyday too and it’s as thrilling as it is terrifying.
As part of the grand opening of Thrive Spine Center, Dr. Jay asked me to come by with my camera and capture a combination of head-shots and shots of him at work, to help him promote his business online (aka: my Business Promo Package.) I got to see his beautiful new space (187 Blue Ravine Road, corner of Folsom and Blue Ravine, if you want to stop by) and see him with his patients. What I loved about watching him work is that his enthusiasm and positivity, while appropriately and professionally tempered, comes through in the way that he interacts with his patients. To me that speaks huge to authenticity and integrity, two qualities that are important to me in anyone I work with.
Here are some of my favorites from the 2 hours we spent together…
This final shot was Jason’s idea and although I’m not generally a fan of gimmicky jumping shots, I felt like this really represented his personality so well.
If you (or someone you know of) are starting a new business or if you really need a professional, online representation of your work – whether it’s a service or a product – please get in touch to learn more about my Business Promo Package which includes 2 hours of my time to capture anything and everything that’s important in telling your company’s story, plus 10 digital images to use in marketing pieces, on and offline.
You know when you get asked to do something absolutely awesome and you’re so excited about it? You run off to do it with tons of energy and enthusiasm, do your best, deliver and then… life gets in the way both for you and your client and you find yourself sending an email asking “Whatever happened with…?”
That’s what happened here with a shoot I did in January of last year for the O’Connor Company , an HVAC company in Kansas City. My sister-in-law is the Marketing Director extraordinaire over there and she was about to embark upon am exciting, celebrity-endorsed, multi-media marketing and advertising campaign – tv commercials, radio commercials and billboards. She needed a photographer to capture the process as well as to take some portraits of their celebrity, soccer star Matt Besler of the Sporting Kansas City pro soccer team, for the print and online campaigns. She asked me and said she would fly me out to make it all happen.
Unfortunately I said no.
HA! Are you kidding me? Even minus 10 degree KC weather wasn’t going to deter me from this one.
I was on set at a local model home for the shooting of the tv commercials, which was a ton of fun to watch in progress. After the tv spots were shot, I did some stills with Matt who is a sweetheart. (He’s not so bad on the eyes, either.)
I just got these images today showing how some of my images were used. So awesome! Billboards and magazine ads and direct mail campaigns.
Seriously, I could get used to this. So, for sure, if your company is working on a big marketing campaign and needs some shots (with famous people or regular employees) to help convey your message, I’d love the opportunity to pitch my ideas for the project. Just shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Big thanks to the other Mrs. McDaid for this opportunity!
One of the elements of my business that really took off last year was my professional head shots package “A Better Head Shot.”
Carol Kellogg, Office Manager for Lyon Real Estate’s Fair Oaks office
After working in marketing for the real estate industry for almost 10 years, I got to see so many head shots, many of which melded into a sea of sameness – same pose, same lighting, same background, same smile, same crop and composition – and it really made me scratch my head. When you’re competing against a huge group of people all claiming to do pretty much the same thing as you, you have to stand out and gain trust quickly or die on the vine. Yet here were all these soulless, personality-less, cookie-cutter pictures that did nothing to further either goal.
I decided to change that and incorporate what has been working for my family clients into working with professionals and business owners to help them improve their first impression through head shots.
Joan Druckman, Folsom Family Therapist
Drawing on my family photography experience, what I decided to do differently was:
Spend some time getting to know you via a 20 minute pre-session phone call where we talk about who you are and how you want that to come through in your head shots via the right settings and wardrobe choices.
Get out of the studio and on-location for the session, loosen up and have some fun during a 30-45 minute session that gives us plenty of time to capture lots of different looks and backdrops but at a comfortable pace.
Provide a gallery of 10-15 proofs to choose from so that you truly feel like you’re picking the best of the best.
Include 5 high resolution digital images in the session fee so you can have different images for different purposes. Maybe the photo you use on your website you want to be slightly different than the one you want on your social media profiles and both slightly different from those on your marketing materials but, at the same time, they all need to feel like they’re part of the same story. With 5 images, you can do that.
Deliver all chosen images as high resolution files, perfect for printing, as well as low-res versions for the web, recognizing not everyone knows how to properly re-size a photo for uploading to a social media or blog site.
REALTORS Randy Kellogg and Cherie Lovas
And it worked! Last year I photographed a ton of REALTORS, an actor, a scientist, a team of chiropractors and a therapist and all had great feedback about the experience; how it was not like other photo sessions they’d had for professional photos and how professional yet personal their final photos were.
Folsom actress, Lindsay Witter
The key is that I make it easy and I make it fun (for both of us) without sacrificing any of the professional results. Win win!
And so January is a good time to remind you that, if there is a professional photo out there of you somewhere, it might be a great time to update it for 2015.
If you’d like to make it happen right now, before other goals and plans distract you, I’m offering $10 off all regular head shot sessions through February 28th 2015. And if you love your session, I’ll also write you a check for $10 for the first person that you refer to me and who also schedules their head shot session before the end of February. So, potentially, that’s $20 off. (Happy dance!)
Dr. Putman at Twin Creeks Health in Roseville has been my chiropractor and savior for the last two and a half years. More than just chiropractic care, the office provides a whole host of alternate therapies to manage musculoskeletal pain, as well as treating patients with Fibromyalgia. When I walked through their door a couple of years ago, I was in terrible shape, physically and emotionally, from chronic pain. Through their treatment I not only discovered the cause of more than 10 years of escalating pain and a cascade of seemingly-unrelated injuries but dredged myself out of a horrible, physical and emotional place. I was never much a believer in chiropractors prior to Twin Creeks but they turned my beliefs upside-down. They have a great team over there.
Which is why, when Dr. Putman asked me to take some photos of the office and therapists, I couldn’t say no. This business gave me my groove back and I highly recommend them.
I'm Michelle and I love vampires (before they were cool), peanut butter and that deliciously off-balance feeling you get when you step off a plane in a new country. I'm also a mum, a writer and a visual storyteller.
Click here to learn more about all that.
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