Do you really need a pro headshot?

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Early last year Annie came to me for some head shots and photos for her website. She was afraid, stressed and hated the idea of having her photo taken. She was so far out of her comfort zone it was crazy. BUT since our fun and easy session she has gone from strength to strength in her business AND has been back to see me many times! The transformation has been astounding! 
I'll tell you more of her story in a minute. But first...

Making the decision to get photos taken can be really darn hard.

I get it! Even if we put aside the fear about the cost for a minute, we all have self-confidence issues in some way. Something that makes us terrified of getting in front of the camera. Too fat, grey hair, wrinkles. I am the same. Totally. It was ages before I had a proper head shot on my website (if only I had known then what I know now!).
It's so easy for our insecurities to throw obstacles in our way that prevent us from being successful. We do it to ourselves all the time, but it's time to stop. 
I want to make those obstacles disappear like magic! Getting a professional head shot is actually easy, fun and is the secret to better credibility and improved visibility online. Later, you will be able to download my top 20 tips, to take the mystery out of head shot sessions, so you can rock yours like a... well, rock star. 
When I ask my networks about why they avoid getting head shots, the same replies come up all the time! The biggest is 'I hate how I look', followed shortly after cost, and then I don't know how to find the right photographer. 
Annie was exactly the same. She'd been to a photographer for photos and the situation really hadn't gone well. She didn't have any images that she could use and was more nervous about the process than ever before. She was afraid of repeating the same mistake, worried about even more cost and feeling like a failure. But to her credit. She did it anyway. (Women are so darn strong aren't they?!). 

So let's quickly uncover some headshot truths huh?

First I want to talk about how you look!
I am not going to sugar coat this. Pretty much every woman I have photographed has complained about how she looks in one way or another. It makes me so sad, I want to have that magic wand that made them all love themselves. But I don't. (I do however have photoshop ?  and if you download my Headshot Success kit later you'll also have a tonne of tips to kiss those pre-session nerves goodbye!) 
If I can give you some tough love...your head shot is not going to look like the cover of Vogue.
Nor should it. 
A good professional head shot instantly shows the world who YOU are, and what you stand for. It should be the best version of YOU. You are the face of your business or your brand. It's your face that needs to be seen. 

Want some quick proof? 

Evidence says that it takes 100 millisecond for someone to form an opinion of you by looking at your photo. 80-90% of that impression relates to whether you seem competent and trustworthy. Sure, somewhere back in line of 'impressions' is whether or not you look pretty, young, well dressed etc. But seriously?! I  want my potential clients to think I am competent and trustworthy much faster than them thinking my hairstyle is out of date. Trust is what will make clients want to buy from you! 
And to those people (like me) who say "they need to see my product not me"... or "I don't need to show people what I look like, I just need to show them pretty pictures"... right? Wrong!
People buy from people. Online entrepreneurs and businesses are well aware that in order to develop an ongoing and profitable relationship with their audience, they have to be seen as authentic, honest and real. If there is no photo of your (or your team) on your website you are doing yourself damage. You're a mystery, and not a good one. You mightn't like having your photo up there but seriously, you need to. 
So back to Annie.
The simple truth was that her previous photographer wasn't a BAD photographer. She was just the WRONG one. In the lead up to the session Annie almost backed out a couple of times. But together we talked about her personal brand and what these head shots were for. By doing this Annie was reassured that what she was going to get with our shoot was actually what she needed. 

There are a bazillion photographers out there and you need to pick the right one?!

How on earth do you do that? Let me give you four simple steps to make this process a breeze: 

  1. Know that not all photographers are created equal. There are wedding, new born, maternity, boudoir, and school photographers and many more. Each of these are bone fide photographers, but they each have seriously different skills. Just because your cousin's, sisters best friend did stunning wedding photos for you, doesn't necessarily mean that they can take an equally good head shot. I would recommend that you search out photographers who specialise in head shots, branding photos, lifestyle portraits or even editorial. 
  2. Ask around. These days we are all in a mind-numbing number of Facebook or other online groups. Take advantage of these networks and ask! Yes it's also good to ask for family and friend referrals, but be sure you are asking for the right kind of photographer. 
  3. The internet is your friend. Google, pinterest and social media stalk the photographers that you've got your eye on. Check out their galleries and their style. Make sure it's what you want. 
  4. Once the scrolling is done it's time to talk to your shortlist of photographers. The key here is to look for someone you click with (pun intended). You will be most relaxed (and have the most relaxed photos) when you are comfortable with your photographer. 
On the day of our shoot Annie stood tall and absolutely rocked the session! We had so much fun. That relaxed vibe shows in her photos. In them she comes across as someone who is confident, successful but still approachable. In the Headshot Success kit I have a range of additional tips to also help you feel relaxed and confident. So be sure to download it. 
Since that original lot of photos early last year Annie has been back to see me one four separate occasions. I have loved watching her business bloom. Am I saying her success is because of the photos? Heck no. She works damn hard on her business. But her willingness to invest in herself and in professional photos has paid off. She has increased her online visibility, increased her reach and boosted her income. 
Now listen, I can't finish off this guide without talking about cost. Any professional service will cost you, but just like committing to great graphic or web design, it's an investment for the long run. I would expect you will find professional headshot packages anywhere from $150 - $500 per session. Choosing the least expensive photographer may seem like an attractive option, but... there is possibly a reason that they are cheap.
Great photographers with good client service are typically booked solid and price themselves accordingly. If budget is a concern, try contacting a few of your 'dream' photographers and just ask. Let them know your intended price range. They may be willing to work with you and offer payment options, or a smaller package. You can only ask. Just make sure to weigh up all of the factors in your selection, not just the price.
Wanna know my head shot prices? Just ask! Or, download the price guide :) 
So.... excited to get that head shot? I can totally see that you are! But, I want to make sure that you've got as much valuable info as I can give you. So before you go off and book in a shoot with me or... okay, someone else... make sure you grab the Head Shot Success kit so that you are fully prepared to rock it! 
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