When we planned newborn photography featuring Mom and Dad’s wedding rings on their new baby’s toes, we didn’t know we were going to be surprised with a shower of diamonds. Fortunately I was ready and quick on the trigger as usual. This is what makes the difference between a picture of a baby and a memorable work of art that will proudly hang on your walls forever. That is my goal for every session. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it is very special.
Like many young photographers in the 80’s, I wanted to be a famous fashion photographer and shoot for Vogue. I also wanted to discover the next big Supermodel, and I think Katy had that potential. She was tall and mysterious with great bone structure. I had her set up to got to NYC to interview with Ford, but at the last minute, she decided she would rather stay in Austin with her biker boyfriend. I was crushed.
Looking at this image from 1980, I still think she would have looked great on the cover of Vogue.
Now much older and a little wiser, I have learned to appreciate the beauty that I find in every client. For each headshot and executive portrait session, I emphasize the outer beauty of my client, and draw out the inner beauty, which is really what separates a winning portrait from a passport photo or a selfie. It starts with building up their self confidence then increases by seeing their images on a large monitor that I send wirelessly from my camera after every shot. It culminates in than one ultimate pose where inner and outer beauty, self confidence and great expression come together to create the perfect headshot. This is the one that will draw people to you when you use it on your resume or as your online avatar. #fashion#AustinPhotographer#AustinHeadshots
Nationally famous Math Educator, Author and Speaker, Dr. Cathy L. Seeley decided she needed a new headshot for her new book. Here is the previous shot I did for her a few years ago:
Dr. Seeley scheduled her headshot session, and when seeing the images that I sent wirelessly to a large monitor, realized she had worn the wrong blouse. That’s the advantage of seeing a large preview, instead of looking at a small image on the back of a camera. So we stopped and rescheduled, no problem. The next session produced two great shots.
A great headshot with a solid blue dress and a dynamic expression.
What a wonderful natural hand pose that makes this headshot unique.
It’s a great idea to have two or more different headshot poses that you can use for different purposes. During the session, I noticed that Dr. Seeley was holding her hands near her face in a very natural way. I loved the pose and asked her to hold it. As you can see, it worked! Hands are the hardest part of the body to pose because they can easily look awkward, or else they can look too big because they are closer to the camera. This turned out to be Cathy’s favorite pose, and she used it in a recent press release:
Erica is a very creative adventurous young woman, so she wanted something daring and exciting for her maternity portrait. She had a lot of great ideas for poses, so we spent two hours trying different lighting setups and backgrounds. We got so many good shots, that it was hard for her to choose, but this was one of my favorites. I played around with the image in Photoshot and created an interesting matte with a blurred version of the image itself. I’m excited when my client wants to try different ideas to create a unique work of art, but I’m equally happy to work with a more conservative traditional woman to give her an artistic portrait that celebrates this amazing event in her life. I always let the woman decide how traditional or artistic she wants to be, and never push anyone into doing something they are not comfortable with.
My goal is always to use lighting and posing to create a flattering exciting Pregnancy Portrait. Of course, showing the Baby Bump is the point, but there are many ways to do this. Some women do not want to show any skin, so they can either wear an outfit that they bring along that they chose themselves, or I can wrap them in one of the many fabrics that I have on hand at the studio. Semi-transparent fabrics work well, especially with backlighting, to show a more romantic view of the belly.
Hand position is another thing that causes confusion in a maternity portrait. We’ve all seen plenty of pregnant poses in magazines and on the web that look awkward or unnatural and some that appear graceful and natural. I’ve learned what works best over many years of posting women’s hands. I also like to watch my client to see what her natural hand positions are, and perhaps use one of those. The easiest way is to just caress the belly in a natural that would be like communicating with the baby.
The beautiful thing is that no matter what poses we try, they always end up being unique because each person is different and special.
I like to do headshot sessions in my studio where I can control the lighting and background, but I sometimes do location shoots for publicity photos. These can be more effective for certain kinds of marketing like print advertising. For example, Dr. Mayfield used this shot to appear in her new clinic newsletter. You can see it HERE.
Headshots and publicity need to be very flattering to the subject, and they need to look natural and appealing. People form their first impression very quickly, so you have a few seconds to grab their attention and convince them that you are trustworthy and competent. Make the most of this opportunity by carefully choosing the photographer that you will trust with this important task.
We all know that the “Eyes are the Windows of the Soul” and nowhere is that more important than in your headshot. People will subconsciously judge you by the look in your eyes. You need to be very relaxed and feeling confident and good about yourself. I work with my clients to help them get into the state of mind that will create this powerful image. It is not just about smiling. It is about projecting your true open authentic self into the lens of my camera and the mind of your client.