If I were paid a penny for every time someone's told me, "I just need a couple headshots," I'd be rich!
People say it as though how the world sees them and their company is some small, trivial thing.
If that were true, then people wouldn't spend time fixing their hair in the morning, companies wouldn't spend countless dollars on PR, and no one would care anything about latest fashion trends.
Personal image is real! It's vital! Whether you own the company or not, how you show yourself in public says everything. That headshot tells your audience everything they need to know about you and what your company stands for.
Don't believe me? Let's play a quick game.
-What company pops into your mind when you imagine shirtless men wearing black pants, white cuffs, and a black bowtie over a white collar? Chippendales!
Or, how about something even more obvious, camouflage pants, camouflage top, and camouflage helmet? Soldiers!
That headshot is so much more than "just a headshot" and it's the devil in the details that alter how that image will be received!
A couple weeks ago, a long-time friend and client, Liz Broekman, hired my team and I to update her headshots. She told me she'd prefer something on location and if we'd mind shooting inside of her friend's home. As long as her friend didn't mind, we didn't!
The home was stunning!! The friend had an eye for interior design and did a marvelous job with every detail, big and small! Everything flowed calmly and smoothly throughout the entire home.... until you entered her living room where a huge, original painting by Ashley Longshore hung front and center. The piece stood out like a sore thumb, but upon first seeing it, I couldn't stop laughing out of appreciation! I told the friend "We may have just met, but I have a feeling we're going to be great friends!"
We all loved the painting and Liz was positive that she wanted a shot with it hanging in the background. The image came out great and Liz loved it! Did I tell you that Liz does the marketing for a bank? She has a lot of creative freedom but at the end of the day, she still works for a financial institution.
The photoshoot was over, the perfect images selected, and the final images delivered.... till Liz got to thinking. Maybe having the word, "shit," in your headshot wasn't the most professional thing, no matter how great the context of it was!
The question wasn't whether or not to discard the image, but how to "fix" the image so that:
a. the painting wasn't altered
b. the sass of the painting could still be appreciated
c. the image looked appropriate and not weirdly photoshopped
My thought: what if I were to hide the word in plain sight?
A jump into photoshop and 10 minutes later the image was perfect!
Liz is thrilled with her final image.
Ashley's painting remains unaltered.
And I feel accomplished!
Creating great imagery is about so much more than skill. It's about ingenuity, mastery of the craft, creativity, and respect for all parties involved.
Check out the images below for a Before & After!