This is one of many portraits I shot of a Westfield High School friend, Maura. My 9-5 work largely consists of “headshots”, but primarily in the corporate world. Buttoned up, suit jacket and tie, sort of stuff. Over the thousands of headshots I’ve taken the past few years, I’ve grown to appreciate the timeless simplicity in its look and the complexity of how to get there.
Sitting down in front of me for a portrait can go fairly quickly. We run through the standard motions a head tilt, shoulder turn, chin up, smile more, smile less, etc… And all of a sudden I’ve clicked off a few dozen pictures, all of them with their own subtleties. Each one evoking a slight difference in expression and gesture.
Leaning in can make you look engaged, leaning back looks casual and relaxed. There are masculine and feminine head tilts. Smiles that can be big and grinny or closed and confident. A good smile is always complimented by a slight squint to the eyes.
Thousands of people have sat in front of me, almost all of them will show some nervousness, most of those people say “I HATE having my picture taken!” and I’m happy to say that when they start to review their pictures on the back of the camera they breathe a sigh of relief. It wasn’t that bad after all and for a good number of them it’s the best picture they’ve ever had taken of them.
It’s truly empowering to have a photo that represents you, at your best. These aren’t photoshop tricks, they’re “bringing the best out of you” tricks. Not really tricks at all.
As the photographer I do more than hold the camera and make the lights flash,
I MAKE YOU LOOK [damn] GOOD.