Getting ready for my first headshot was a daunting affair, to put it mildly. Daunting not because of the wonderful pre-shoot conversations I had with the photographer, Trishann Couvillion of Fire Eyes Photography, daunting because of my own preconceived notions.
I had always thought that headshots were for older, stuffy, “real” professionals. Here I was being asked by a new client to submit one for their website. Moi? A professional? Someone wants my mug on their website? There are moments you have in life when you realize you have officially grown up; getting a headshot done with a professional photographer for one’s business endeavors is certainly one of them.
Writers and editors like me tend to hide behind the closed doors of our freelance space (translate: local coffee shop) and other than the occasional fantasy about the back of a book jacket graced with our discerning, spectacled image on its flap, we generally don’t like to be seen by our public.
I had been introduced to Trishann through a colleague and instantly liked her “documentary-esque” approach to her craft. Days before the shoot, I emailed Trishann asking if I should spray tan before the big day so I could acquire a healthy glow that would belie the truth of taking a professional photo in the later months of a Seattle winter. Trishann assured me that with the way she uses light to capture her subject meant a trip to a tanning salon was one less thing to add to my pre-shoot list.
Next up? Hair and makeup. I had timed my session to take place one week after a hair appointment so my highlights would have a chance to be washed repeatedly and subdue to a normal hue. Makeup? Would it be vain to schedule a makeup artist to accompany me to the session? I decided against it as the shoot was scheduled to take place in the early morning hours and I wasn’t aiming for a dramatic look. If I had to look like a professional, I wanted the image to resemble my normal, barely-cosmetics-enhanced self. My advice: endeavor to look like your normal self as much as possible.
Women are notorious for being undecided about what to wear and as the day of the shoot drew closer, I was no different. Did I want to wear something stiff and business-like or casual and connoting approachability? Trishann advises bringing at least two outfits to a shoot and in an ideal world, three is even better. For her clients not currently in a relationship, Trishann subtly reminds them about how nice it is to have a casual, yet professional photo for an online dating profile. With a couple of outfits in your photo session arsenal, your resulting images can be used to highlight your business self, your casual self, and perhaps some other fun aspect of your personality. For example, I have a friend who loves to wear fake moustaches. Bringing that little prop along adds an element of pizzazz and personality to what some people (like me going into the shoot) fear might be an intimidating activity. And if your “public” professional self could easily pull off a fake moustache in some of photos, then by all means, bring it!
For the fellas out there reading this and contemplating what to bring to their headshot session, Trishann had some advice to offer. Freshly trimmed or cut hair and facial hair is a great idea as hair that is grown out and/or uneven will be very obvious in a close-up. Two to three looks for the men is also advisable. Definitely a button-down shirt and tie for one shot, suit jacket optional. For the second look, ideally you should wear your weekend or after-work attire and something you feel comfortable in. The third look is optional and should be your personality shot. Have fun with it!
My shoot began on an early Sunday morning and after a few minutes of hair and makeup touch ups, we went outside to work with the natural light. Trishann has a demeanor that instantly makes her subject feel at ease. As the wind blew slightly, she was quick to calm both my nerves and my flyaway hairs. Trishann doesn’t resort to corny jokes and admits to being not the best joke teller. She’d actually rather wait for you to laugh at yourself at how awkward you may feel in front of her camera, as she finds those are the money shots! When you talk to Trishann about her approach to headshots photography, what emerges from the conversation is how she loves to wait for the moment when her subject forgets they’re having their photo taken. It’s in the casual laughter and banter that crops up amid posed shots that she catches the “fire” in the eye of her subject; the essence of the person that most resembles their true self.
This certainly translates to her finished product. When Trishann sent me the proofs from my session, I was thrilled with the results. The shots now grace my Facebook Wall and the client’s website that requested the photo in the first place. Recently, I was at a conference where the speaker was talking about social media and how having a photo of yourself greatly improves your chance of adding followers and making real-world connections. I have certainly found this to be the case now and am delighted to have a current photo that matches what people find when they encounter me offline.
Trishann is available for individual sessions at a location of your choice. You can also do yourself and your friends or colleagues a favor by booking multiple headshot sessions during one shoot. This also makes it more fun and cost effective too! Trishann is a delight to work with and is professional, personable, and flexible. I’ll certainly be giving her another call when that book jacket comes to fruition.