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3 Steps to Finding the Right Headshot Photographer for You

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3 Steps to Finding the Right Headshot Photographer for You

There are about a bazillion people out there calling themselves photographers and many of them are creating some very nice work… some not so much.  But even the very “best” photographer might not be the right one for you; which is why I thought I’d share some insights to help you find one that can give you what you really want.

If you follow the steps below,  you’ll be well on your way to finding someone you enjoy working with (very important) and gives you the results you’re after.

1. Gather Inspiration

It’s the trusty old gem “You won’t hit your target if you don’t know what you’re aiming for”.  I really recommend first considering what images speak to you.  What images grab your attention?  What portraits make you feel the way you’d want your audience to feel?

Your own social feeds are a great tool for this endeavour.  Scroll through your LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends.  See who’s out there that’s got a photo which inspires you to reach out.  Do any of the photos give you a sense you really know the person you’re looking at?

image1Fortunately (for your research), most people just have what I call ‘placeholder’ images.  Yes, I can see it’s their face in the photo… but the photo is boring. On the other hand, some images immediately jump off the screen.  They reach out and grab you by your shirt and scream “LOOK HERE!”.  This means you won’t have to tediously scrutinise each image out there in your feed.  You’ll want to scroll quite quickly and let your eye land on the one or two that really pop.

And don’t worry.  You don’t need to be able to articulate why they have this affect.  Just recognise that you were compelled to let your eyes land on those.  Take a screen shot of any images with which you resonate.  There’s your research done.

2. Go Deeper into Google

There is no end to photographic websites as any Google search will attest.  One of my biggest recommendations is to go deep into Google.  I know that when I search for almost anything I will only look at the first and (maybe) the second page of the omniscient search engine at hand.  Sadly, finding the best photographer for you doesn’t just turn up on page one.

We’ve all had photos that were just fine.  And if basic is what you want, then you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.  But if you’re looking for something a bit different or unique – maybe just something ‘simple’ with a lot more impact – then I strongly suggest going 5-10 pages into your search.

The photographers at the top of the list are generally there because they spent some time and/ or money on their SEO; or because they’ve just been around a long time and are quite well known.  But there are some incredibly talented folks out there that don’t show up on the first few pages.  Most of my favourite photographers get so many referrals that they just don’t bother to push their websites up the almighty Google ladder.

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So dig a bit deeper and try different word combinations too.  Headshots, portraits, corporate portraits, professional profile pictures, professional portraits, headshot specialist, portrait photographer, personal branding…

3. Get to Know the Photographer

After you’ve compared your ‘inspiration’ photos against the portfolios you find on various photographer’s websites and you’ve narrowed down the list of real contenders; pick up the phone and have a short conversation.

Most photographer’s “About” page is crap.  They normally tell you that their dad gave them a camera at an early age or they’re inspired by life’s moments or they love to collaborate and capture something you’ll treasure…  **I’m literally retching as I write this**

But there’s a little gem most folks don’t know.  A real portrait session – one that’s a great experience and going to deliver an exceptional outcome – is a surprisingly intimate ‘conversation’ between you and the photographer.

So pick up the phone and have a chat.  Are you speaking with someone who empathises with your vulnerability?  Is there an immediate rapport that sets you at ease?  Any photographer worth their salt, producing spectacular results, has had to unpack their “magic” formula so it can be done consistently.  So, can they articulate their Process?  Is there a Method behind the madness?

And finally, show them your ‘inspiration’ images.   As I said before, YOU don’t need to be able to articulate why the images caught your eye.  But a good photographer can.  Have them tell you why the image you chose stood out.

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At the end of all this, you’ll be on the right track.  Every photographer isn’t right for every person (and vice versa).  Find a specialist, one who can articulate their speciality, who can do so in a way that inspires your confidence in a short conversation… and you’re winning!

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