Are You Ready For Your Close-up?

My last post unleashed some angst about capturing the perfect business photo. Let’s face it—for most of us, having our picture taken is right up there with having a root canal or an IRS audit. So I consulted with Harvey Lewis, producer of over 1,000 commercials and films globally, to bring you 5 tips for staging a great photo shoot:

Choose wisely. Your best bet to engaging a great photographer is through referral. Who do you know with a great photo? Lacking that, google portrait photographers in your area. Peruse their sites and see whose shots you like best. Pick at least two favorites and interview them to test your comfort and chemistry.

Ask some key questions. How will you work with me to get the best shot? How will you ensure my photos will be current and relevant? Can you show me examples of other business photos you’ve taken? Will you arrange hair and/or make-up artists for me and how much will it cost? Relax gentlemen, I suggest this for women only. Ladies, investing in professional help will ensure your photo looks natural, like the best version of you.

Share yourself. Before the session—articulate 3-5 key words that you’d like your photo to evoke. Smart? Warm? Energetic? The more specific, the better. Tell them about your work and how/where you’ll use the photos. Discuss your usual business attire and listen carefully for their suggestions on which colors, patterns, items will photograph well or should be avoided (vertical stripes, for example, are usually a no-no).

Find your inner supermodel. Really. Bring several changes of clothes AND accessories. You and your photographer can experiment with various combinations. Be creative—bold jewelry for women and striking ties for men can photograph well. Trust your photographer and try different positions—sometimes the best shots come from what feels unnatural. There’s always the delete option.

Learn from actors. Ever wonder how actors can laugh and cry on command? Try using their sense memory technique during your shoot. To keep a genuine smile, think about a time, a place, a sound/song when you were truly happy and imagine yourself there. Don’t believe it? Try it in the mirror and see the difference.

Remember, the goal is an authentic photo, capturing what’s unique and engaging about you. Do your homework, then relax and trust your photographer. You might actually enjoy it!

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