Most of us might take decent pictures while on vacation or at a family event. But when it comes to figuring out how to take the perfect headshot, we’re pretty clueless.
If you’re looking for the best place for headshot photography Phoenix, you can ask around for references and read reviews and tips online. It’s also a good idea to know some of the signs that will tell you if you are dealing with a true professional or a fly-by-night operation.
Hire Someone Who Specializes in Headshots
Would you hire a classical pianist to play in a jazz quartet at a wedding? I don’t think so. The same goes for photographers.
Photography is an art, and professional photographers specialize in different forms of art. If you want a good-quality picture that reflects who you are and projects the best image possible to the world, find someone who does headshots for a living. Even an award-winning landscape photographer won’t necessarily be able to take a great portrait. Each specialty requires a different set of skills.
Look at Previous Work
Even if you don’t know a lot about photography when you look at a picture you will inevitably have a reaction. You may not know why, but you will probably have an opinion about the picture. If you love the photographer’s portfolio, that’s a great sign. If something doesn’t seem right, there probably is a problem. It could be that the lighting is off, or that the images look stilted and overly posed. It could be for any number of reasons.
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When looking at other photographs, ask yourself:
- Are the pictures clear or blurry in the wrong places?
- Are the pictures lit properly or do they appear dull? If the lighting was used, is it subtle and does it enhance the image?
- Does the color seem natural and balanced?
- Do the photos seem overly processed with color filters, Photoshop, or other enhancements?
- Do the photos look like a professional created it?
Some photographers are more creative than others—and creativity can mean the difference between a good picture and a fabulous one. When looking at a photographer’s portfolio try to notice if it looks like they try to do something new with their clients or are constantly churning out the same old thing.
Take a Look Around, Ask Questions
If you are close enough to the photographer’s camera, take a look and see if it is set to Auto or Portrait. If it is, walk away. That means they don’t know what they are doing and aren’t in control of the camera. Even if the photographer has all the latest and greatest equipment, it is meaningless if he or she doesn’t know how to use it properly.
A seasoned photographer should also give you some suggestions about the type of clothes you should wear or bring to a photo shoot.
At the same time, it is reasonable for you to ask a bunch of questions, such as:
- How many shots are you going to take?
- How much will it cost?
- Do you use natural lighting, or will the photo shoot be in a studio?
- What should I wear?
- Do you retouch the photos? Is there any extra cost for this service?
- What happens if I don’t like the headshot?
Be wary of any photographer who sounds like they lean on Photoshop or other editing tools to “fix” images in the studio post-shoot. If there are adjustments that need to be made to lighting, hair, jewelry, makeup, or clothing, the photographer should notice these things during the photo shoot and deal with the issues then. Not later.
Find Someone You Click With
Most importantly, find a photographer you think you can work with and who communicates easily. You might be able to figure out if you click with the other person on the phone or through Zoom, but it’s also perfectly reasonable to ask to meet in person before committing.
Trust your gut when it comes to selecting a photographer. If you have a good connection and respect their work, this is probably the right person to take your headshot.